One gets the distinct impression reading what is going on behind the scenes in Congress as the immigration travesty seeks to rise from the dead and walk Zombie-like back on to the Senate floor, is that even the bill’s opponents think that this monstrosity of a measure is better than no bill at all.
The reason is simple; this has been a do-nothing Congress from the start. The best laid plans of the new Democratic majority to change the culture in Congress, end the war, and force changes in Medicare (among other proposals the Dems promised voters last November) have mostly fallen by the wayside or been torpedoed by their own members.
This has Congress scrambling to do something before voters begin to notice and wonder why their Congressmen are getting paid 165 grand a year to essentially sit on their collective behinds and rake in donations from lobbyists and cronies.
It has always been America’s “Persian Flaw” – this belief that we send people to Congress in order to “solve problems” like immigration, poverty, or filling in that pothole down the street. Some problems simply aren’t solvable in any real sense by Congress (call your local mayor about the pothole, please) and in fact, fiddling with legislation that purports to do so can make the problem worse.
The immigration bill is a case in point. No one in Congress really believes the bill will “solve” anything except perhaps resolving their electoral problems by bringing a lot of Latino votes their way come November, 2008. It won’t stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States and it is an open question whether it will even slow it down. It may even lead to increased illegals crossing the border hoping that within the next few years, Congress will once again address the issue of illegal immigration by simply declaring lawbreakers as law abiding non-citizens provided they pay up and can prove they’re not out to blow up the Statue of Liberty.
And as Michelle Malkin points out, the backlog of cases already on the plate of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is approaching the catastrophic point. How in God’s name are they going to handle the millions of applicants who will eagerly apply for the special “Z” visa if they act as incompetently, irrationally, and as criminally negligent as this?
The agency, [Michael] Maxwell [former head of security for USCIS] told Congress, was â€œa viperâ€™s nestâ€ of political hacks and career federal employees who covered up criminal allegations of bribery, document fraud, extortion, money laundering and espionage within their ranks.
Maxwellâ€™s testimony, corroborated by congressional staff and investigators at the Government Accountability Office, and a four-part editorial series in The Examiner (â€œLeaving the front door wide openâ€), described gaping security holes at USCIS, including the failure to check names against terrorist watch lists and to fingerprint applicants. All the while, USCIS personnel were being offered cash bonuses, time off, movie tickets and gift certificates to speed up processing times for their â€œcustomers.â€
There were no incentives to keep undesirable applicants out. Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector Generalâ€™s office found that 45,000 high-risk illegal immigrants from countries known to sponsor terrorism were allowed to legally enter the U.S. since 2001.
In case you may have forgotten, on September 11, 2001 several known terrorists – people on the CIA’s terrorist “watch list” – were able to sneak into the country and help kill 3,000 of our fellow citizens. The fact that 6 years after that bureaucratic disaster there doesn’t seem to be any kind of urgency whatsoever at the agencies responsible for making sure such an event never, ever occurs again would be shocking if it didn’t fit in with this Administration’s general lack of interest in closing the borders, securing our ports, hardening “soft” terrorist targets,” and a host of other security measures that could prevent an attack of even larger dimensions.
I hasten to add that some strides have been made in securing many of those areas. But it is not enough. And the biggest weakness we have – our porous, unrecognized borders – would actually be made worse by the passage of this bill. With the jaw clenching help of the Mexican government, ways will be found to cow the Border Patrol and Washington politicians into not doing much of anything to prevent the flow of illegals in similar numbers that we see today.
That’s because fence or no fence, virtual or not, the problem of illegal immigrants begins in Mexico with it’s under performing economy and a birth rate that continues to skyrocket thus increasing the numbers of a desperate underclass of Mexican citizens who see America as a cash cow to be milked for jobs and benefits so that they can send billions back home to relatives and fill Mexican banks with dollars. There is no incentive whatsoever for Mexican politicians to change their half socialist/half crony capitalism economy while rooting out the corruption and inefficiencies that slow economic growth in the first place. Why should they when they have a safety valve just to the north where they can send the overflow?
Until we get serious about border security and significantly slow the pace of illegal immigration, Mexico will not reform their economy. And the problem of desperate people coming to America seeking a better life by any means necessary – legal or illegal – will not ease until the lawbreakers are given an incentive to stay put and make a better life in their own country.
What this bill will ultimately do is doom real immigration reform efforts for another decade, sloughing off the responsibility for seriously addressing the problem to another generation. In the meantime, we have no idea who is coming across our borders and whether they mean us well or ill. If that doesn’t give Senators pause before voting on cloture today, then I fear for the future safety of our republic.
The latest from Allah has cloture probably passing. But that may not be the end of it:
Weâ€™re shooting at a moving target here but best estimates are that opponents are within six votes or so of killing this monster in its crib when the first cloture vote comes to the floor tomorrow. John Hawkinsâ€™s Senate source said last week that the first vote is the time to get it done, otherwise itâ€™ll pick up momentum and force a do-or-die second cloture a few days later that will determine the billâ€™s fate.
With the White House doing a full court press on the bill, it is highly unlikely that a second cloture vote will be any more successful than the first. That means the bill will probably pass in the Senate with the House so far hanging strong on defeating it.