Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What now?

I’ve been out of the country for a week (Utah) and always find the news coverage interesting. Utah is a red state, yet Salt Lake City is liberal hog heaven. Despite the Republican bent in the Beehive State they have a strong compassionate streak, sometimes to their detriment. They say that if a con man can’t make it in Utah, he needs to find another line of work.

At any rate, when the immigration reform bill went down in flames in the Senate last week, there was a front page, above the fold, article in The Salt Lake Tribune with the title, “Immigration: What now?” The author, Jennifer Sanchez, lamented the failure of the bill and talked about some of the state and local efforts that probably will proliferate because the feds failed to act.

My first answer to the question, “What now?” was the logical, “How about enforcing the laws we already have?” followed by, “Give Homeland Security the money to do the job.”

One thing this immigration debate has exposed is the lack of enforcement in the past. Last fall Bush signed the border fence bill, but very little has actually been done due to lack of funding (well, lack of political will to do it, really) and so our “leaders” dangled a $4.4 billion promise for fence money if the Senate would pass the bill.

And Bush also talked about doubling the number of detention beds right away.

So, my question is, Why haven’t they been doing this already? We’ve had ample signs that things were out of control. Why didn’t Congress and the President respond to the need?

This most recent debate explains it all; they wanted to bargain with us. Bush and the Senate came to us and said, “Look, we’ll step up enforcement with the fence, detention beds, employer sanctions, better ID…IF…you’ll let us legalize the illegals.”

But enough Americans were smart enough to say, “You were supposed to be doing all those things anyway. That’s the law. Do you job!” But I have zero confidence that things will change as a result of this debate. Bush is our chief executive and I don’t see him getting significantly tougher with the illegals who are here. In fact, if he’s given up hope of passing a bill, he may back off from his flurry of enforcement activity.

And with Mike Chertoff at the helm in Homeland Security we really don’t have much hope that he will be more vigorous. After all, he was chief lobbyist for the White House during these debates. We know he’s an “amnesty” man; not a “rule of law” type.

As for state and local effort, those who were waiting to see what Congress was going to do will now have to get busy. I do hope the courts will cooperate.

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