by John Hawkins | July 26, 2007 3:00 am
The open borders and amnesty crowd on the right spent much of the immigration debate condemning people who supported a security first approach to illegal immigration as racists, nativists, xenophobes, anti-Hispanic, and anti-immigrant.
But, after the comprehensive immigration bill went down in flames and its biggest supporters had their approval ratings and fund raising numbers take a terrible beating, guess what happened?
Suddenly a lot of the biggest supporters of comprehensive immigration reform started advocating the same policies as the people they were calling racists, nativists, xenophobes, and anti-Hispanic not too long ago,
Sen. Judd Gregg is leading a push to resurrect a portion of last month’s failed immigration reform bill that would tighten security along the nation’s southern border.
“The American people will not move forward … in the area of comprehensive immigration reform until they are confident that we have regained control over our borders,” Gregg said yesterday. “And this amendment accomplishes exactly that.”
…As proposed, the measure adds another $3 billion in border protection to a $37.6 billion homeland security appropriations bill.
“We’re on the verge here of a bipartisan accomplishment to actually seriously begin to secure the border,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last night.
The White House, meanwhile, has criticized the homeland security bill as too expensive and yesterday threatened a veto.
Both Gregg and Sen. John Sununu are co-sponsors of yesterday’s amendment, which calls for several enhancements to security efforts on the U.S.-Mexico border, including:
* an additional 23,000 border patrol agents.
* four unmanned aerial vehicles and 105 ground-based radar and camera towers.
* 300 miles of vehicle barriers and 700 miles of border fencing.
…Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Gregg called the country’s porous southern border a “national emergency” on par with the war in Iraq.
“Nothing is more important to us, from a standpoint of protecting our national security, than making sure that we get operational control over the borders,” Gregg said.
Gregg takes credit for drafting the amendment. Its lead sponsor is Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is up for reelection next year.
Graham yesterday referred to the amendment as “Plan B” for stemming the tide of illegal immigration.
Responding to that comment, Gregg said, “It should have been Plan A. We should have done border security first so the American people would be
comfortable … before we went forward to comprehensive immigration reform.”
By the way, just in case you were wondering if this amendment was some kind of trick because there are so many immigration squishes associated with it, it wasn’t, and you can be sure of that because Jeff Sessions was on board.
Unfortunately, it went down to defeat 52-44 with Cochran (MS), Stevens (AK), and Voinovich (OH) voting joining all the Democrats to vote against border security.
If the Republicans are smart, they’ll try to add this amendment onto bills and they’ll relentlessly hammer the Democrats for opposing it. Let the Democrats explain to the American people why they want to leave our Southern border unguarded so that illegals and terrorists looking to commit the next 9/11 can come in at will.
Also, Graham, McCain, McConnell, Kyl and the rest of the Republicans who supported the amnesty bill aren’t forgiven for doing it, but it’s still nice to FINALLY have them on the right side of the issue.
Maybe the horrific battering they took smashed some common sense into their heads on this issue. From my point of view, it’s better late than never.
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