First, watch this–
Now read this–
Andrea Nill has a good summary of the nasty immigration amendments that went down in the Senate this week over at the Wonk Room. She explains it this way, in “Republicans Try To Derail Immigration Reform By Bringing ‘Piecemeal’ Amendments To DHS Bill:”
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) sponsored an amendment that would require 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border to be completed by the end of 2012. Concerns expressed by environmentalists and social activists
that the border fence will unfairly target low-income landowners and
harm the environment were brushed aside. The legislation passed
Wednesday by a vote of 54-44 [ ... ]
– Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) offered a separate amendment that would overturn DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s decision to rescind the Bush Administration’s troubling practice of sending Social Security “no-match” letters to employers with employees whose numbers don’t match the federal database. Labor unions claim the letters have been used by employers to threaten their workers and the ACLU has often pointed out
that the system uses “notoriously incomplete and inaccurate Social
Security databases to decide who is authorized to work.” The
legislation passed yesterday morning.
-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) proposed an amendment that would make E-verify, an error-ridden online verification program, mandatory and permanent. The amendment passed by voice vote on Wednesday, and Sen Check Schumer’s (D-NY) effort to table it was dismissed yesterday, 44-53. [...]
So, in short, retrograde Bush-era policy, bigger-badder-border-fence rhetoric, more perceived immigration enforcement– but no real, comprehensive, long-term solutions.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Not to mention one that the American public just didn’t order (64% of the overall public support comprehensive immigration reform — rising to 86% when the components are explained to them).
Below is a quick breakdown of how Senators voted this week, with anti-piecemeal enforcement Republican votes in green and piecemeal Democratic votes in yellow.
On the macro-scale, these votes do not amount to much, with the major news this week that Senator Schumer is pushing for a comprehensive immigration bill by Labor Day.
Notable, however, is that the GOP appears dead-set on serving up its distinct, if empty, brand of anti-immigrant rhetoric on the Senate floor in the meantime. Not to mention that Democrats like Senator Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Klobuchar (D-MN), who should know better, have appeared all too willing to endorse it. On the upside, kudos to newly-minted Senator Franken (D-MN) for taking some solid first votes this week.