By the end of the week we will likely have a vote on immigration reform in the Senate. Washington is desperate to get it done before their upcoming vacation. I think this is a mistake. There is no need to rush this issue through. The only reason I can really come up with is that they want to get it done quickly so as to avoid a groundswell of criticism and and anger that could possibly mount if the issue sits out there long enough.
The so-called “Border Surge” amendment passed the Senate with almost 70 votes. After a procedural vote, it's possible that the Senate could vote on the bill as early as tonight or tomorrow. Then it's the House's turn.
House Speaker John Boehner has said that he won't bring the Gang of Eight legislation up for a vote in the House. Instead, I'm being told by various sources that the House will consider legislation that would grant temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. That temporary status would last for five years and if border security is not accomplished in that time, then the temporary status would be revoked.
I find this extremely disappointing because I don't believe that “temporary” legal status would ever be revoked. If we've learned anything from Washington it is that there is no such thing as temporary. If we've learned anything else it is that when Democrats promise one thing (like spending cuts) in exchange for another (like tax increases), we'll get the tax increases but never the spending cuts. We know that's how it works, so why do we think this time will be any different? What do Republicans in the House know that we don't?
If Republicans claim that they don't trust the government, then why NOT just secure the border first? If we can put a man on the moon, we can expedite a plan to build a fence on the Mexican border. We have the manpower and the resources. If we can't even build a fence, what does that say about us? Every other sovereign nation has the right to protect its borders, and I don't understand the reluctance for us to do the same. We secure the border and THEN we can compassionately deal with the millions of immigrants who are here illegally.
For what it's worth, those who are protecting our borders – agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – are asking members of the Senate to oppose the Gang of Eight legislation. They essentially call the Border Security amendment ineffective and say it will make America less safe. If anybody, the people on the frontline of defense would know.
When I asked Rep. Paul Ryan about this last night on Hannity, he said that its important we have a workable, legal immigration system. I agree. But I don't understand how that answers the question about the illegal immigrants who have not gone through the legal immigration system but are already here.
I'm truly concerned that this issue is going to cause a conservative revolt and a divide in the Republican Party.