Today the Senate voted down amendments to the Gang of Eight’s bill that were proposed by Senators Thune and Vitter. Thune’s amendment would have required 350 miles of the 700-mile border fence that was mandated by the 2006 Secure Fence Act to be completed prior to any legalization of illegal aliens. The remaining 350 miles would have to be built thereafter. Thune’s amendment highlights what a joke the Gang’s promises of border enforcement are. The fence has been required by an act of Congress for seven years, and so far less than 36 miles, out of 700, have been constructed. The Senate voted down Thune’s amendment 54-39, with all members of the Gang voting No.
Next, David Vitter proposed an amendment that would have required that a 17-year-old Congressional mandate to establish a biometric exit-entry system (as recommended, also, by the 9/11 commission) be carried out prior to legalization. The Gang beat that one back, too.
As I have written many times, the biggest problems with the Gang’s bill do not relate to border enforcement. The bill would be a disaster even if it included provisions that would block any future illegal immigration. But that doesn’t mean that future illegal immigration is insignificant. Today’s votes show that the purported commitment to border security on the part of the Gang and its supporters is a joke.
In recent years, Jeff Sessions has established himself as one of the soundest guys, with the best judgment, in the U.S. Senate. Until now, however, I have never thought of him as a humorist. Today he spoke for all of us conservatives who have been disappointed, if not appalled, by Marco Rubio’s embrace of misguided immigration reform. Sessions said, in an interview: “Marco, there’s somebody on television pretending to be you!” That’s how I feel, too. Today’s votes show how hopeless the Gang’s legislation is. There is nothing left but to drive a stake through it in the House.