May 26, 2006


Senate OKs citizenship for illegal aliens (Charles Hurt, 5/26/06, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The Senate yesterday easily approved an immigration bill that allows 10 million illegal aliens to become citizens, doubles the flow of legal immigration each year and will cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $54 billion over the next 10 years.

The leaders of both parties hailed the 62-36 passage as a historic success. [...]

In the moments before the vote, Mr. Frist and about a dozen senators, from both parties, tearfully congratulated one another for all their hard work in producing the legislation. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and the leading proponent of the bill, called it "the most far-reaching immigration reform in our history."

After the vote, more than a dozen giddy lawmakers from both sides of the aisle gathered before television cameras to again commend one another.

"I am so proud of the Senate," Minority Leader Harry Reid said as those around him smiled broadly. "This is the way we should legislate -- on a bipartisan basis."

As he spoke, a television screen behind him showed a live picture of the Senate floor, where fellow Democrats were at that moment trying to mount a filibuster against President Bush's latest judicial nominee.

In the end, Democrats failed and a final vote was set for today on the nomination of White House lawyer Brett M. Kavanaugh, named to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. After speaking to reporters, Mr. Reid returned to the Senate floor and cast his vote in favor of the filibuster.

House GOP expected to yield on legislation (Stephen Dinan, 5/26/06, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)
The House is the only obstacle that stands between President Bush and a comprehensive immigration bill, and the White House yesterday predicted that the chamber's Republicans will give in.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said House Republicans will want to pass border security badly enough to back down from the fight against what many consider amnesty for illegal aliens, knowing there is a "heavier political price for failing to act, than for acting."

"If you are a Republican member of Congress and you're concerned about illegal immigration, do you really want to say to your constituents: You know, I'm going to wait a couple of years before I take up the issue of people knowingly hiring illegal aliens, I want to wait a couple of years before I go ahead and try to identify who the illegal aliens are, I want to wait a couple of years before I start grappling with what to do with these 11 or 12 million people who are here illegally," Mr. Snow said.

The Bush years are just one historic reform after another.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 26, 2006 8:52 AM

Assuming he gets this through, it would be nice to see him take a second whack at social security.

Posted by: mc at May 26, 2006 9:27 AM

--"heavier political price for failing to act, than for acting."--

Works both ways, Tony.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 26, 2006 9:30 AM

They have to have 60 seats in the Senate to get SS Reform through because there are no New Democrats anymore.

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 9:30 AM

If they pass it and people see images of crews putting the wall up, it will be as forgotten a few months from now among the majorty of the American public as the Dubai ports deal is right now.

Posted by: John at May 26, 2006 9:44 AM

Much seething and whinging over at Powerline this morning.

They're taking their ball and going home. YOU cannot play with it. So there.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 26, 2006 9:50 AM


Tony Snow is talking like a man who sees polls in his boss's favor and who managed to handle Rush Limbaugh quite nicely.

Denny Hastert's haughty little statement about the Jefferson probe helps even more nicely.

Posted by: Brad S at May 26, 2006 9:53 AM

Before he took the press secretary's job, Snow was wondering what all the shrieking was about on his Fox News Radio program when it came to the immigration issue (and earlier, the Dubai ports deal). That didn't mean he was 100 percent with Bush on the issue going in, but his comments representing the administration the past two weeks haven't been all that far off his comments during his talk show stint, which in part is probably why he got McClellan's job.

Posted by: John at May 26, 2006 9:57 AM

John, you just explained the game theory behind both Snow's appointment and the appointments of both CJ Roberts and Justice Alito: Bush wants people who will back him on his policy decisions.

And Bush is willing to let his approval numbers go into the toilet in order to see his policy decisions through. That, to me, is something most of us trained in poll behavior theory are not used to.

Posted by: Brad S at May 26, 2006 10:06 AM

So is there going to be a fence?

Posted by: Gideon at May 26, 2006 10:23 AM

Pretty much. Or at least one that can be built before the American people have the stomach for tolerating its construction.

Posted by: Brad S at May 26, 2006 10:25 AM

According to the Israelis, who know something about buildin fences, it would cos $6.4B to build the fence. Given that this bill costs $54B, it looks like the fence will be a minor expense.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 26, 2006 10:34 AM

370 miles of fence. The remaining 500 miles with vehicle barriers.

So 57% of the border will remain open to foot traffic.

Posted by: Gideon at May 26, 2006 10:48 AM

We also heard Tony good naturedly and politely disagree with Rush who I thought was on the verge of being rude during the interview. Tony got the presidentís points across and tangentially also got across that he agrees with the president and has long said so on his radio program pre-dating becoming press secretary.

I was uneasy about Tony Snowís appointment because he has a long paper trail and I thought heíd become the issue instead of the presidentís agenda. As usual, the president knows whatís best for our country and Iím only to happy to say, I was wrong and he was right. Actually this happens a lot.

Posted by: erp at May 26, 2006 10:55 AM

I really need to take the 200 mile drive down to the Big Bend and photograph the River Road between the National Park and northwest of Presidio. While there are places to cross in that region, and drug smugglers know the routes through the area, there are so many spots long the way where a fence would be a total waste, given the Rio Grande is cutting through gourges several hundred feet high. There are also sections in Arizona and New Mexico where moutain ranges make crossings if not an impossability, at least one that only the strongest souls will try.

Put the fence and the patrols in the areas where cross border traffic is the easiest, and you'll solve at least 80 percent of the problem.

Posted by: John at May 26, 2006 12:14 PM


How about photographing the 95,000 miles of coastline that these wahoos think are impervious to immigration...

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 12:17 PM

How 'bout the 3000 miles of mostly wooded Canadian border, over which terrorists have actually crossed?

Posted by: David Cohen at May 26, 2006 12:40 PM

The heck with terrorists, French Canadians come over that border.....

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 12:42 PM

Sad to see the comment count go down here at civil Brothersjudd land.

Posted by: AWW at May 26, 2006 1:34 PM

. . . and after I wrote one of my best troll-zingers ever.

Posted by: Mike Morley at May 26, 2006 2:04 PM

--(via Snow's comments) are banking that most people will accept that some progress has been made rather than the NRO/PoliPundit line that if it isn't perfect don't pass anything.--

So this is what it's called, eh?


I'm not interested in a "perfect" bill, I'm interested in a tough bill. This isn't it.


Time will tell who is right.

Personally, we've just been set on the path of Old Europe.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 26, 2006 2:20 PM

Progress definitely isn't doing what the nativists want. It is making the 12 million folks we live and work with full Americans and not pretending their criminals.

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 2:58 PM

Sandy -

I'd like a tougher bill also. Perhaps one will emerge from the conference committee.

That said, re Progress - Will a wall be built on part of the border? Will there be increased funding and manpower at the border? Will there be additional crackdowns on employers of illegals? The bill as it stands does at least that.

As Brad S notes the polls generally seem to agree with what the Senate came up with i.e. no appetite for massive crackdowns on the 12MM here.

Politics is the art of the possible. Sometimes you have to get to the end zone via first down after first down rather than the long touchdown bomb. And with Dems and some moderate GOPers against a stricter bill this is what you're going to get.

Posted by: AWW at May 26, 2006 3:12 PM

They haven't cracked down the past 20 years, whywould they now?

It's for show. Stick a fork in US, we're done.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 26, 2006 3:48 PM

Just listening to Medved, there's no health checks for family.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 26, 2006 3:49 PM


Bingo! Why would we crack down on that which we've benefited from so much?

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 3:53 PM

We benefit from not healthy people?

Other than building up our immunity, how so?

Posted by: Sandy P at May 26, 2006 5:51 PM

They get healthy.

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 5:55 PM

Simpson-Mazzoli in 1986 was supposed to be historic (and foundational for the future). It was not.

When debates like this occur, the legislation that emerges almost inevitably winds up looking like Medicare - lots of promises, which prove to be empty. Lots of unintended consequences, which are never empty.

Rush characterized the bill as the revenge of big government, with more bigness to follow. Granted, he does not take the view that many, if not a majority, of the immigrants will wind up voting Republican (although I heard a couple of callers today who said that).

Maybe the Senate is being far-sighted and just wants to avoid revolutionary pressure on our southern border. The right won't understand that.

Maybe this is the only way for Congress to deal with an issue like immigration. It's a lot more like health care than taxes or a vote for war.

Maybe the right just wants to see Reid and Kennedy snarling (or crying) after a vote.

Maybe Bush is acting like FDR on this issue, keeping his enemies closer than his friends.

I hope the House holds firm. I don't care that much about the amnesty issue, because the current laws aren't enforced to begin with. I don't believe in expulsion, and I doubt if any wall will be built. But the smugness on Capitol Hill needs to end, at least for as long as it can.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 26, 2006 7:55 PM


Actually, it is the basis of what we're doing now--periodic amnesties will be the norm.

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 8:07 PM

Kiss the House goodbye. The Republican party grew out of the remnants of several nativist parties and its never moved very far from that basis in the midwest at least. This will cost Bush at least 8 to 10 seats and the House majority.

I was one of those who voted for Buchanan and against #41 the last time a reigning Bushie screwed his base. Here we go again.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 26, 2006 9:06 PM

So we're like "Old Europe" now because we are granting citizenship to immigrants?


Precisely the opposite.

Europe's problems stem from the lack of new, hard-working, innovative contributors to their societies from outside. And when they have let others in, a la Germany and the Turks, they treat them terribly and refuse to allow them ever to be any more than 2nd class.

Putting all these folks on the path to citizenship, and doubling the number of immigrants allowed in, is a noble deed. And it is what makes America great.

And if those who disagree want to go and vote for the odious Buchanan, then good riddance.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 26, 2006 9:33 PM

Ray - I'm sure the political establishment is quaking over Buchanan's 0.5% of the vote going away. And Bush 41 was dealing with a poor economy and a lackluster campaign.

I doubt immigration will be the issue that loses the House for the GOP. There are only about 35 competitive races and the Dems need to win almost all of them to take control. A reminder that the Dems will be much worse on taxes, judges, and yes immigration will prevent an anti-GOP wave. The item that do the GOP in is the "we're above the law" attitude Hastert has been spouting the last day or so.

Posted by: AWW at May 26, 2006 10:21 PM


Indeed, the folks who object to letting in "others" and letting them become fellow Americans are being European.

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 10:42 PM

Great, now we've lost both Buchanan voters. Pat and Ray.....

Posted by: oj at May 26, 2006 10:43 PM

We have now added a permanent underclass, fellas.

The minimum wage will be raised. Taxes will also be raised - it's already being done - taxes were raised on childrens' school funds and on ex-pats.

And as to the 0.5% you can do w/o, W lost by about 500 in NM and won by 586 in FLA in 2000 - IIRC.

Time will tell.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 27, 2006 2:47 AM


Except they're temporary. Your kids will work for their kids, just like every other immigrant group.

Posted by: oj at May 27, 2006 8:27 AM

My 1992 vote for Buchanan was strictly a primary ballot protest against 41's tax heresy. Furthermore, as I've said in about twenty prior comments, I look forward to having lots of new Mexican American neighbors and fellow parishioners in the years to come.

We should try to regularize all of the illegals' status so that they're not forced to go underground to earn a living or establish a household. Which leads to the necessity of putting them back on the Mexican side of the border and then deciding how many we're willing to admit for citizenship on an annual basis.

Personally, I've got nothing against letting all eleven million or so in over the period of about the next generation. As matters now stand, the nativists have a point in stating that we've relinquished our sovereignty by permiting selfhelp immigrant status to anyone willing to ignore our admittedly tortous INS procedures.

The last amnesty accepted two million illegals while this one proposes to validate over five and a half times as many line jumpers. What the House conservatives know is that a strict enforcement concensus must preceed whatever process we adopt to regularize the current illegals or else we're just begging for the next wave of illegals to ignore our laws again.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 27, 2006 11:57 AM


Excellent, so your protest got us the Clinton tax hike. Smart voting.

Posted by: oj at May 27, 2006 3:57 PM

My young protest extended to the primary and no further. My nose and face get along quite well together, thank you.

As long as I've been an adult (at least arguably somewhere about the time I started supporting myself), I've always known that the line between bad and worse was much sharper than that between good and better. 41 was bad and Clinton was worse and I voted accordingly in the general election. I subscribe to my father's theory that you must always vote against the worst candidate, secure in the certainty that the other sob was even worse.

I like W and I've supported him with as many votes as I could energize and with campaign contributions in two general elections now. Unfortunately, like his father, he just can't descend from his patrician heights long enough to recongnize the very real anger that unlimited, uncontrolled immigration has caused among a very substantial portion of his firmest supporters.

W was wrong in nominating Harriet and he's wrong in not placing enforcement above amnesty. Given both the history of the last amnesty and the huge majority among the House GOP members voting for enforcement as the primary concern, he ought to have at least some humility in his assessment of how far his base will follow him on this issue.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 27, 2006 5:05 PM

Finally, I agree that Buchanan is pretty disgusting and has been for the better part of the last decade. In 1992, he was the sole viable alternate to 41 within the GOP and publically at least he was nowhere near the looney tune positions he now espouses.

41 lost the general election in 1992 because he enraged his base by raising taxes in flat contradiction to his most explicit campaign promise. 41 has only himself to blame for that outcome.

W should be really cautious about how far out of synch he's willing to get with his own base. Like Harriet's nomination, the current Senate amnesty is too clever by far. W's transparent hypocricy in contending that the enforcement provisions are sufficient this time when we know full well that they're nothing more than a coin to buy amnesty will boomerang on him just as the tax increases undercut his father's legitimacy.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 27, 2006 5:27 PM

Say Orrin. Didn't Buchanan win New Hampshire in 1992?

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 27, 2006 5:32 PM

The last amnesty was followed by a period during which we extended our national superiority in the economic, military, and moral spheres, yet it was a mistake? There can't be any other basis for that opinion than race.

Posted by: oj at May 27, 2006 5:56 PM

Reagan won in 1980 and McCain won in 2000 too. NH hates the Bush's.

Posted by: oj at May 27, 2006 6:02 PM

Come on Orrin. Two million new immigrants weren't the cause or the effect of that surge of American dominance. Not that I don't believe that the newly made Mexican Americans won't produce a self-made tide of productivity both intellectually and economically, I just don't think that we can really attribute the surge of Reagan era productivity to anything other than freeing our native (pun intended) creativity.

As for that low blow acusation of racism at the end, really it's below you. I will say this again for the last time. The Mexicans coming in are Catholics, they work hard, value their families and don't ask for charity. I heartly approve of bringing lots of them here in wholsale lots.

Further, my seventh grade daughter's best friend since second grade is a girl whose Mexican Ameican dad and Venezuelan American mom are some of our family's closest friends. I work on several parish committees that involve charity commitments to a number of Mexican immigrants and I personally donate a lot of money to our parish for a number of purposes including those charities.

Accusations of racism or fascism are the natural end of any rational conversation. Congratulations Orrin, you've jumped the shark.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 27, 2006 9:40 PM

Yes, our demographic growth and the ideals that fuel it are the source of our exceptionalism. Folks who want to end that are definitionally anti-American. To acknowledge that they are hard-working Christians who share American values and contribute mightily to society yet to oppose them can only be racial. You're offering the arguments for immigration and saying you oppose it--there has o be some reason for the dichotomy.

Posted by: oj at May 27, 2006 9:53 PM

I can't imagine how you can read what I've written and conclude that I oppose welcoming Mexican immigrants even by the millions. I do have some concerns about how many Mexican immigrants we're capable of successfully socializing in this country within a single generation.

The dynamics of new immigrants wilfully assimilating may change with this generation. For instance, local school boards are unwilling to push patriotism and English as the primary language, the emergence of affirmative action, welfare and Medicaid benefits may all serve to encourage an entitlement mentality that ill suits newcomers who would be better served by that old Puritan work ethic.

I also recognize that the very concerns I've just cited are our own failures that are inflicted on newcomers and that they're not characteristics of the Mexican illegals in this country. Still, the existance of these liberal programs will impede their assimilation.

The Mexicans and other Latinos coming to American prove by their rate of Army enlistments that they're very patriotic. We can all see too that there are very few beggars among them and that they're here to work for themselves and their families.

On the whole, I'm not too far away from most of your positions with regard to making them citizens and the sooner the better. I just happen to regard the uncontrolled border as a real security risk and I don't favor letting people in as immigrants at the front of the line who have refused to conform with our laws. In short, I believe that we have to get ahold of the border security issues first and then decide how many immigrants we want and how quickly we'll allow them entry.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 28, 2006 3:15 PM

We have decided--all of them. That's why we support periodic amnesty. Americans are generally like you, uncomfortable with immigration in theory but fine with it in practice and too decent to do anything serious to stop it.

Posted by: oj at May 28, 2006 3:39 PM

That's not a bad summation of what most people want excluding the concept of periodic amnesties.
First, I'd like to establish control over the borders and then I'd be willing to legalize their status.

If we need to increase the number of legal immigrants let's do it as a result of deliberate policy and not as a default in lieu of anarchy.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 28, 2006 5:32 PM

I'd also state that in this instance your use of the editorial or perhaps the imperial "we" doesn't correspond with the GOP's voting status in both the House and Senate where a majority of the GOP in both chambers have established their preference for enforcement first and then legalization.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 28, 2006 5:37 PM

In a democracy what we do is what we want. We lke the notion of them demonstrating their commitment by sneaking in and then giving them amnesty every couple decades.

Posted by: oj at May 28, 2006 5:38 PM

We is America, not half of one party in the congress.

Posted by: oj at May 28, 2006 5:39 PM

Good points both. It's sometimes difficult to give the Donks any crediblity when they're so determinedly negative and obstructionist.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 28, 2006 8:51 PM