May 17, 2006

Please Fence Me In, Part Deux

Hatched by Dafydd

Hugh Hewitt will be very happy, and with good reason: the Senate just overwhelming approved the Sessions amendment to the immigration bill, requiring 370 miles of actual fence, plus 500 miles of vehicle barriers. The lopsided vote -- 83 to 16 -- sends a very, very strong signal that the Senate is finally aboard and serious.

I can't find a roll-call (it may not be up on Thomas yet), but even assuming all 55 Republicans voted for it, that would mean that at a minimum, 29 of 45 Democrats must have voted for the fence, too. That's 64%.

Then Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) proposed one of the "killer amendments," one that would remove all of the guest-worker and normalization sections from the bill. A huge argument erupted over the meaning of the word "amnesty," with one side insisting upon the actual meaning of the word in law and philology, and the other insisting, in true Humpty Dumpty fashion, upon a special definition that they just now made up.

I complain about this irritating tactic of "argument by redefinition" when the Democrats do it; should I do less when Republicans resort to the same, "progressive" dodge?

But it's a moot point: minutes ago, the Senate rejected the Vitter amendment 66-33... which means (for fairness sake) that, even assuming all 44 Democrats and one "Independent" who caucuses with the Democrats (Triple-J) voted against the Vitter amendment, at a minimum, 21 of 55 Republicans (38%) must also have voted against stripping out these "carrots."

This is going very well:

  • Putting the fence and the barriers into the bill makes it far more likely that the House will be willing to accept the compromise;
  • Leaving in the guest-worker provision will take enough pressure off the wall that it will actually work (that's the "spillway in the dam," in my earlier analogy);
  • Leaving in the normalization means that the Democrats will see themselves getting something, so they will be less likely to scuttle the deal on procedural votes; and it will mollify enough liberal or moderate Republicans that majority is attainable.

It looks like this bill is now destined for passage; and aside from a handful of representatives -- most of them named King, for some unfathomable reason -- I haven't heard from any of the movers and shakers in the House that the Senate bill was dead, or that they would refuse to agree to the citizenship and guest-worker provisions. (In fact, Speaker Denny Hastert, R-IL, has already said he and some other leaders would accept that... and that was before the president's widely popular speech.)

But will the policy itself work? Nobody can answer that until it happens. Those who voted for Simpson-Mazzoli in 1986 (and President Ronald Reagan, who signed it) sincerely believed that it would work, and it seems to have been a crashing failure: we had about 3 million illegals then, and twenty years later, we have 11 million.

(But did it really fail? There isn't any way to tell even that; perhaps without the Border-Patrol and employer-sanction provisions in Simpson-Mazzoli, we would have 22 million illegals by now. That's the trouble with alternate-history; how can we ever know?)

In any event, the border-security measures this time are far stronger than in 1986, and the citizenship path is much longer and involves a lot more pain and punishment for those illegals already here -- including admission of guilt, a big fine, back taxes, and so forth. And in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (CIRA, or Hagel-Martinez), these pieces are all structured into the bill itself; they don't rely upon Democrats keeping their word.

In the 99th Congress, which enacted Simpson-Mazzoli, the Democrats controlled the House and the Republicans controlled the Senate 53-47; but in the 1986 election, the Democrats took the Senate, too... so in the 100th Congress, which would have been responsible for appropriating the money for the actual border-security measures (of which there were some, mostly penalties on employers and more Border Patrol agents and such), was entirely Democratic... and those measures never happened.

It may well be that the failures of Simpson-Mazzoli were more because the Democrats refused to implement the "sticks" than because the deal itself was flawed.

So that gives conservatives even more incentive to stay involved, to turn out in droves on November 6th, and to make absolutely certain that both houses of Congress remain firmly in Republican hands... thus to make equally certain that the "sticks" of Hagel-Martinez get enacted along with the "carrots."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 17, 2006, at the time of 1:34 PM

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The following hissed in response by: bill

I don't think it's a done deal, partly for the reasons you state -- the Democrats may still filibuster the bill. The fact the border fence and more agents made it on board, means there is a large coalition for just security.

The guest worker 'spillway' IMHO is necessary. Guest voters, no way.

There is this budget bill coming up where funding for the fence could be attached, if the immigration fails, so the fence may survive. The fence vote in the Senate says the support is there.

The Republican congress is a must, I don't think that is in danger, the argument is not about voting, it's about issues. Come September that will be clear. Got to totally ignore the popularity polling drive by media.

The above hissed in response by: bill [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 2:05 PM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

November looks back on track.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 2:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: Papa Ray

Is this. what you have been writing about?

Seems like someone figured it out.

Papa Ray

The above hissed in response by: Papa Ray [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 2:47 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

Do you really think it will make through the House?

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 3:31 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Do you really think it will make through the House?

Yes, I do, but only because the House does not have the filibuster. I suspect it will be close.

Papa Ray:

Is this. what you have been writing about?

Possibly, though it depends whether those are safe Republican seats -- or whether this means a bunch of legislative seats flip from red to blue.


The fact the border fence and more agents made it on board, means there is a large coalition for just security.

No, not necessarily; there might have been a deal: a bunch of Democrats voted for the Sessions amendment in exchange for a bunch of Republicans voting against the Vitter amendment. If so, then stripping out the carrots, as Vitter proposed, would mean the loss of a bunch of the Democrats on the fence... which could mean a successful filibuster.

We simply do not know what backroom deals underpinned these votes. You cannot extrapolate from an 83-16 vote for a fence as part of a grand compromise that it would still fly all by itself.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 3:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

i once knew a woman who had been the ‘LadyFriend’ of the leader of the gang that robbed the DuPont family mansion in Coconut Grove, Florida back around 1967. That gang had robbed or burglarized lots of mansions and wealthy homes for a long time, but the DuPont robbery was probably the biggest. Whilst the infamous Murph the Surf was making headlines for stealing the infamous Star of India (probably the largest such gem in the world), Mexicans were also illegally crossing the border into to speak.

Murph the Surf desperately wanted into the above mentioned gang, the “Little River Gang” (if i recall correctly), and they had never wanted anything to do with him...professionally speaking. If a two-bit thief like Jack Murphy can steal the “Star of India”, and Terrorists can fly planes into the former WTC and the Pentagon, then a “370 miles of actual fence, plus 500 miles of vehicle barriers”, plus the impotent U.S. Congress ain’t going to stop a Mexican in a wheelchair from crossing illegally into America. Heck, apparently Jack Murphy received just a three-year sentence for stealing the “Star of India”!?!

Basically, Laws Without *TEETH* are the problem, here in America. Some 40,000 Americans are killed in “Car Crashes”, “Every Year”, here in America!?! Fewer die in Iraq. Why isn’t speeding a Capital Crime?!? Has Michelle “Windbag” Malkin ever broken a speeding law??? Probably. If we need Laws for Crime, then why not have just one sentence or punishment for breaking ‘Da *LAW*?!?!? Spit on the sidewalk...death sentence (easy to prove with DNA). Cross the border illegally...death sentence. Hire an illegal....death sentence.

Then again, the threat of ‘Da *DEATH* Sentence never stopped humble Low and Ignorant Insane swamp hermit me or Zacarias from becoming “Criminals”, and i seriously doubt that such would slow Michelle “Windbag” Malkin down, or even stop "Moulitsas" from spitting on a public sidewalk, but i suspect that ‘Da *DEATH* Sentence would stop Americans from hiring Mexican workers.

America is ready for a *PRUNNING*...simple as that,


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 5:47 PM

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