Illegal Immigration Bill Collapses
|The do-nothing, get nothing done Republican Congress strikes again.|
Less than 24 hours after senators celebrated a bipartisan
breakthrough on immigration policy, the effort to pass broad new legislation
collapsed today in a partisan and procedural meltdown that threatened to derail
the issue for the year.
Architects of a proposal that would combine strict
border controls with an opportunity for millions of illegal aliens to qualify
for residency said they had the support of as many as 70 senators, but they
were unable to resolve disputes over amendments and other technical issues
and the measure was yanked from the floor.
“I think politics got in front of policy on this
issue,” said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and
one of those central to the bipartisan approach.
The failure to achieve an agreement that had appeared
so close led to a round of bitter recriminations over who was at fault. Senior
Democrats blamed Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, for striking a deal
and then being unable to win over key Republicans.
But Republicans said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada,
the Democratic leader, had erected procedural obstacles to the measure in
order to deny Senate Republicans a victory on the politically charged subject
in an election year.
“There has been one huge problem and that problem
has been created by the Democratic leadership,” said Mr. Frist.
Bill Stalls in Senate
Republicans Insist on Amending Measure
Trent Lott has got to be quietly laughing with glee. The man who
shived him in the Capitol Rotunda has yet another failure.
The reason the immigration bill put forth didn't pass is because
Senator Frist is the weakest Senate majority leader in history. Has he done
anything positive in his term? That is, besides diagnosing Terry Schiavo from
Talk about a do-nothing Senate.
Now, Frist and even the White House are blaming Senator Harry Reid, the
MINORITY leader, for holding tough on amendments that were meant all along to
kill the immigration bill, because Republicans don't want anything that allows
the 11-12 million illegal immigrants a way forward to citizenship and legal
status. Look at what Republicans offered up in the
House. It was a disgrace.
Frist's bill would have slammed illegal immigrants, with the “compromise”
separating illegal immigrants into insulting groups of how long they've been
here, asking those here just two years to quietly return home and start again. Yeah, that's going to happen.
Kennedy-McCain was a start, but Republicans didn't want to address
a path towards citizenship for Latinos and Hispanics.
Besides, the most important issue, employers, wasn't anywhere
to be seen on Frist's bill or any other Republican bill, because they don't
want to make corporations pay the price for continuing to fuel the illegal immigrant crisis in this country.
Senator Reid kept his word and didn't allow a bad bill from passing, by refusing to allow what were likely ridiculous amendments through, which were actually meant to kill the bill in the first place. Democrats seized the day. Baby, that's called an opposition party.
That said, the issue of illegal immigration isn't going away and we have to find a solution, but nothing the Republicans are offering provides the answer. We'll see what happens after the Easter break.