June 9, 2007


Amendments fight decks immigration bill (Janet Hook and Nicole Gaouette, 6/09/07, Los Angeles Times)

On Friday, Bush urged three key Republican lawmakers in private phone calls to fight for the bill and today will deliver his radio address on the issue, deploring the divisions it has created and asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "to act quickly to bring this bill back to the Senate floor for a vote."

Speaking less than 24 hours after the bill's demise, Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the lead Republican supporter, said Friday that the group had "already begun the process of figuring out how to get this back together and concluded within the next few weeks." His Democratic counterpart, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, insisted, "We are not giving up, we are not giving in."

A disagreement over how many amendments to the legislation should be considered brought the bill down, but Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said the lawmakers already have settled on a "finite list which will come forward."

The key to p[assing the amnesty--the sole purpose of the bill--will be to pretend that the next version is a victory for the opponents, who have to come up with an alternative both because business demands it and because they've created a hysteria about border security. None of the amendments matter. They won't be enforced anyway.

Here's an archetype of those you can easily hornswoggle, Enforcement before amnesty (David Frum, June 9, 2007, LA Times)

THE SHELVING of the Senate's Kyl-Kennedy immigration bill opens a chance for real reform — reform that respects the wishes and protects the interests of a large majority of the American people.

Talk of Resurrecting Immigration Bill Begins as Autopsy Goes On (Shailagh Murray and Jonathan Weisman, 6/09/07, Washington Post)
Reid's motives have been a question mark from day one. Spokesman Jim Manley said his boss was prepared to support the immigration bill on final passage. But advocates had their doubts, given Reid's determination to limit debate, and the green light he gave to one of the bill's Democratic critics to twice offer an amendment to end a guest-worker program after five years. Supporters of the immigration bill viewed the measure, which passed on the second try, as a poison pill. [...]

The bill's architects believed they were on track for passage, certainly by early next week.

But Reid continued to insist that debate be cut off by Thursday, with a final vote on Friday night.

Then, late Wednesday, he allowed a second vote on sunsetting the guest-worker program. The measure, offered by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), had previously failed by a single vote, but Dorgan was given a second chance just before midnight. This time, with the help of conservatives opponents -- who were seeking to kill the bill by any means -- Dorgan obtained a one-vote win.

Reid bristled when he was asked why he gave Dorgan a second chance. "This is a killer amendment? After five years, you'll take a look at how the program is working? I can't fathom why this is a bad amendment," he said.

Not until midday Thursday did it dawn on both sides that Reid was serious about finishing quickly. Across the Capitol, leaders of the House's Congressional Hispanic Caucus were wrapping up their presentation on immigration reform when an aide broke in with the news that the Senate leader would seek a second vote to end debate.

Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), the caucus chairman, and Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (Ill.), the chief Democratic author of a major House immigration bill, dashed over to the Senate. But Reid did not see them until 6:30 p.m. Gutierrez implored him not to pull the bill from the Senate floor. To the millions of illegal immigrants in this country, it was "a matter of life and death," he said.

But Reid made it clear his mind was made. "His demeanor was, how should I say, decided on," Gutierrez said reluctantly. "That's all I'm going to say about it."

Harry knows how they'll vote once their citizens.
The accent is on sports: ESPN Deportes is going after the Spanish-language fan, a market that has shown the biggest growth in the country. And it's not only soccer that provides the attraction. (Larry Stewart, June 9, 2007, LA Times)
Not long ago, Lucas Bongarra, a former college soccer player and now coach, was watching ESPN2 when a promo came on for ESPN Deportes.

He switched. And stayed.

"I now can watch 'SportsCenter' in Spanish," said an almost jubilant Bongarra, 30, who grew up in Buenos Aires and now lives in West Hollywood. "It's the same format as the 'SportsCenter' on ESPN, only it's in Spanish."

He doesn't deny that he is hooked. And yet, on Sundays at noon, Bongarra is also watching Argentine soccer on Fox Sports en Español (FSE) , or has been sure to TiVo it.

This kind of enthusiasm is why Spanish-language coverage is the fastest-growing segment of sports broadcasting, with ratings to prove it.

And nowhere is that dynamic more in play than in Los Angeles, the nation's No. 1 market for Latino viewers.

nd because business is a more important GOP constituency than the Know-Nothings, this golden goose will not be killed.
Why restrict immigration at all?: The Constitution and the laws of economics compel us to welcome all immigrants. (Becky Akers and Donald J. Boudreaux, 6/09/07, CS Monitor)
The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to control immigration. Nor does it say anything about illegal aliens. We looked for a clause with directions for ranking immigrants on a points system – another feature of the Senate's reform bill – but we couldn't find one.

Sadly, lawmakers have repeatedly interpreted this silence as license for ill-conceived legislation. Congress began barring entry to the nation in 1875 with prostitutes and convicts. Soon, all sorts of people fell short of congressional glory: ex-convicts in 1882, along with Chinese citizens, lunatics, and idiots. Paupers, polygamists, and people suffering from infectious diseases or insanity made the list in 1891, while the illiterate were banned in 1917.

The biggest spur to antiforeigner fervor is always the same: natives fear that newcomers will swipe their jobs. Take, for example, the 1889 Supreme Court case challenging the Chinese Exclusion Act. The Court upheld the exclusion because the Chinese had competed "with our artisans and mechanics, as well as our laborers in the field.... [Californians wanted] prompt action ... to restrict their immigration."

Ah, the Left's convenient conversion to originalism.... We should, of course, have limits on immigration based on ideology and morality, just no numerical limitations.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2007 9:08 AM

After the amnesty passes, Bush needs to propose a massive increase in legal immigration levels, so that there'll be less need for a 2027 amnesty a la 86 and 07.

There will be as well the bonus of the Dobbsian roaches, Right and Left, having a light shined on them -- so that they'll no longer be able to hide behind the notion that their opposition was about legality/illegality and "security".

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at June 9, 2007 10:04 AM

The voting down the amendment restricted/refused allowing felons in the country was a bit frightening.

Talk about being an open nation all you want, and I'll agree with you.

Let in known scum, and something about the entire bill is awry.

Posted by: Bruno at June 9, 2007 11:11 AM

1. No bill will come out of Congress for the duration of the 110th Congress. The political campaign calendar does not allow for it.
2. Hillary will be elected President, getting a little more than 300 electoral votes. She will be the only one with enough media/corporate support to break through a general lack of interest in all candidates.
3. The GOP will lose two Senate seats (not too sure where, as this particular Senate cycle is run in the GOP’s own Southern/Great Plains backyard). The GOP will also GAIN some House seats, but not enough to take control of the body.
4. The 111th Congress and Hillary will NOT be able to pass a “comprehensive reform package,” thus killing dead any idea for such a package for up to a generation.

I think this way because I’m firmly convinced that the reaction from the GOP “base” is akin to a business plan in the first stages of execution. The ultimate goal of the business plan is to continually own the Immigration issue in perpetuity. Stalling in ‘07, LOSING in ‘08, and being a major PITA to Hillary are all part of the business plan.

The business plan’s first stages of execution have succeeded, despite noises about bringing the bill back.

Posted by: Brad S at June 9, 2007 12:27 PM

To wit, those who continually fail to heed the lessons of Clinton about OWNING the issue rather than "solving" the problem will not see any regularized amnesty. Known anchor-baby Michelle Malkin understands this like the back of her hand. So does illegal-hirer Tom Tancredo.

Posted by: Brad S at June 9, 2007 12:30 PM

All you have to do is convince the opponents that they own the bill and it passes easily. That's how Reagan did it.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 12:56 PM

Weisel, Solzhenitsyn, Sharansky, etc, probably disagree that we should bow down to foreign legal authority.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 12:59 PM

The nativists always require the fiction that the next wave will be different. The best policy is no numerical limit, the most politic is periodic amnesty.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 1:01 PM

Since the yahoo right and the Beltway/NYC right won't compromise, is not the easier way to go Left? This bill was designed to attract 35 Dems and 25 GOPers. Next time, 45 Dems and 15 GOPers would get it passed. President Bush wil sign anything that doesn't add Mexico to the USA's name. Or am I missing something?

Posted by: Bob at June 9, 2007 1:40 PM

All I know is that whatever happens, OJ will have predicted it perfectly and it will seamlessly align with his master narrative. If only he could work our friends, the Shia, into the picture!!

Posted by: Twn at June 9, 2007 1:50 PM

OJ, owning the issue and owning the bill are two totally different things. When you own the issue, you control debate/talking points on the issue. You have no such flexibility when you own the bill, as your only recourse is to get it passed in final form.

Speaking of the Reagan amnesty, wouldn't it be a kick in the pants if the Senate author of that bill, Alan Simpson, gets appointed to fill out Craig Thomas' term?

Posted by: Brad S at June 9, 2007 1:52 PM

Bob, the real kicker in all this is Tom Tancredo has no qualms about going to Maxine Waters and John Conyers to kill this in the House. Thinking of this in terms of Left/Right is a nonstarter, as anyone who followed the FastTrack trade authority issue during the Clinton years will tell you.

Posted by: Brad S at June 9, 2007 2:00 PM

We should, of course, have limits on immigration based on ideology and morality

Which, of course, totally contradicts the position you take towards illegals: that they're all wonderful and anyone who objects is a racist.

The average American wants the process of immigration to have some restrictions, so that every gang member, smuggler, felon, and TB-carrier in Mexico just can't walk in. And we want to be able to deport such people when we find them, instead of having idiotic "sanctuary" policies that protect illegal criminals at the expense of the rest of us. So build the fence, deport more of the undesirables, streamline legal immigration so that we can take more of the good sort, and then we can talk about amnesty for the rest. Amnesty without border control is just an invitation to the next 20 million illegals, whose morality is obviously unknown.

Posted by: PapayaSF at June 9, 2007 2:06 PM

Your hygiene concerns are merely a manifestation of psychoses, but we should indeed regularize immigration so that the 100 million who are coming can be checked out for political/religious deviance. (Though, of course, for libertarians the Christianity of the millions is the deviance.)

You lot won't allow such liberal reform so we use periodic amnesty instead. Fortunately there are too few undesirables to matter. It works about as well as any system should be expected to.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 3:37 PM

But it's easy enough to fool legislators when it comes to ownership of laws. After all, it was only after it was too late the smart party realized they'd handed W the school vouchers, HSAs and the like that was the point of the bills they thought they were winning on. The stupid party is that much easier to dupe.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 3:40 PM

When it all hits the fan in Pakistan its Shi'a will be coming here, not to Iran.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 3:41 PM

But OJ, that was a case of W playing ball on the Smart Party's own turf and signaling he wanted to make a deal. That can be called triangulation or rope-a-dope, take your pick.

You can't do rope-a-dope on your own Stupid Party. Bill Clinton found that out with FastTrack. And it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue from someone (W) who has been blessed with otherwise excellent political skills and people.

Posted by: Brad S at June 9, 2007 4:07 PM

"None of the amendments will matter. Tney won't be enforced anyway"

Exactly why everyone is against this bill. Immigration was reformed in the 1960s and again in the 1980s - no one believes this will solve anything. Bush is trying to play this down the middle but with 40 yrs of govt incompetence he doesn't have any credibility. Only last year a fence was overwhelmingly approved and supposed to be built - a year later is has harldy started.

OJ seems to feel amnesty is fine because the Hispanic are all of the sudden going to voter overwhelmingly GOP. There is absolutely no evidence of this.

Bush's political instincts have gone sour since the 2006 election or he is desperately seeking some legacy no matter what happens to the GOP. Trying to get a bill passed that polls show overwhelming opposition to is a bad idea - even Reid understands this.

Posted by: AWW at June 9, 2007 4:21 PM

No, justice requires amnesty. That they're social conservatives is a bonus. If they stay Democrat they'll just keep moving that party Right.

The politics don't matter. Bush couldn't not do this and remain a good Christian.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 8:07 PM

Why not? The congressional GOP is the foe here. Rope a dope works against any opponent.

Posted by: oj at June 9, 2007 8:08 PM