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Another Immigration Bill Post-Mortem

Knowing how we got here is key to knowing how to get past here. The LA Times has this post-mortem on the Immigration bill's path from compromise to confusion.

The immigration bill is a fragile bargain struck during two months of closed-door negotiations between the White House and leaders from both parties. Everyone at the table found parts of it bitterly distasteful, but they emerged with a bill that would genuinely accomplish things. It offers more border security, more workplace enforcement, more legal workers to address the nation's labor shortage and a realistic plan to legalize the 12 million undocumented workers who already live here.

When it hit the Senate floor two weeks ago, its sponsors pledged to stand firmly together against any amendments designed to torpedo the bill. That meant some of them had to vote against measures they'd supported or even authored during last year's immigration debate. Compromise, they agreed, was the greater good.

Others were not so flexible. When it became clear they didn't have the votes to remove the hated legalization plan, some Republicans tried to erode support for the bill by weakening popular provisions such as a guest worker program or by piling on measures some Democrats found harshly punitive.

Reid and others accused Republicans of trying to debate the bill to death or kill it outright by adding poisonous amendments. Some Republicans cheerfully copped to the charges. "I've been trying to kill it since the beginning," said Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.).

But others said they just needed more time and were incensed that Reid wanted to shut down the debate. So they called him on it. Insisting that "more amendments are legitimately pending," Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) voted against ending debate but chided his Republican colleagues for trying to sabotage the bill with endless talk. "Are we going to slither away from this issue and hope for some epiphany to happen?" he said. "No. Let's legislate. Let's vote." That's more like it.

It took considerable compromise between Democrats, Republicans, and the White House to get this measure into its current form. The slithering needs to stop, and the Republican leadership needs to get the recalcitrant members on board.

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Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)

Comments (20)

John in CA:

There is no compromise. Border security FIRST! When they lock the border down so tight a lizard can't get across, then we'll talk about the rest of it.

If they manage to bust some employers of illegal immigrants in the meantime, that will help too.

No matter how this turns out, some GOP Senators are going to suffer. Lindsey Grahamnesty and Chucky Hagel are going to have rough rows to hoe in 2008. They were on shaky ground for other things before this amnesty bill, but now they are in real trouble.

Kyl, who has been very popular in AZ until this bill, might be able to redeem himself before his term ends in 2012.


The last time I looked, the Democrats are in charge of running the Senate. Any failure to pass a bill is entirely due to the Democrats just like it was the Republicans fault in 2005 and 2006 when the Fiest lead Senate could get nothing done.

Maybe if the Democrats were not in such a hurry to sell U.S. citizenship at $5,000 a person so that that will get 12 million plus automatic Democratic voters, they could actually get a real immigration compromise passed. I guess screwing over the middle class, suburban Americans is just too tempting to the Democrats to actually write a bill that will significantly lower illegal immigration.

John in CA:

Of all the crap that's been spewed about this bill, and the illegal immigrant situation overall, the worst is when someone says, "Deportation forces families to break up".

What a crock of poop. It does nothing of the sort. No one is keeping illegal immigrants who are being deported from taking their anchor kids with them back to their country of origin. If the deportees elect to leave their anchor kids behind, THAT'S THEIR CHOICE. Just like it was their CHOICE to illegally enter the USA.

Lee Ward:

Most parents would choose to leave their children here in the land of opportunity rather than them back with them to their country of origin.

Yes, it's a choice they make, but it is the best choice, and it does result in the breakup of the family, and that's tragic.

There needs to be a way for these parents to pay for their mistakes and not break up families in the process - you'd think the Republican "family value" folks would be in favor of that -- but there is a little problem here with the skin color of the families in question, so the Republicans could care less...

Louder, John - stand on your rooftop and shout it out. American voters need to hear more from the "Family Value" Republicans.

"Kyl, who has been very popular in AZ until this bill, might be able to redeem himself before his term ends in 2012."

Wow, this one issue would kill his career as a politician? At least we know where your values lie, John.


lee, would you stop with the calling republicans racist just because they believe in enforcement first? it's really hard to convince people of your argument when you show that you have no understanding or respect for what their concerns are. all you are doing is showing your own bias and ignorance.

as far as one issue killing the career of a politician? i have one name for you....Joe Lieberman. how many on the left tried to kill his career on one issue? enough said.

Lee Ward:

I'm not calling all Republicans who oppose this bill racists, ke - just the racist ones.


Do you really think the American people are this stupid?

We want our borders secured.
We want our laws enforced.
We want our culture left intact.
We do not want to pay 2.5 trillion dollars to support illegal aliens.
We do not want their crime, drugs, smuggling, rapes, murders and drunk driving imported here so that YOU can save a buck on fruits and vegetables!
We do NOT want our flag flown upside down by invaders.
We do NOT want our social security system to be destroyed.
We do NOT want our hospitals and schools overcrowded and exhausted.
We do NOT want our leaders pandering to big business and special interest groups.

We want our borders secured.
We want our existing laws enforced.

It is insulting that you keep trying to put all of us who are opposed to this traitorous legislation into one box. It won't work and we are not buying it

We are Americans. We know when we are getting knifed in the back by our leaders and their traitorous legislation.

Lee Ward:

I'm not putting all of those Americans who oppose this bill into one box - just the racist ones.

I think Americans have gotten the message loud and clear -- they'll have to elect more Democrats to Congress in order to move this country past the racists' roadblocks.

John in CA:

Lee said: "Yes, it's a choice they make, but it is the best choice, and it does result in the breakup of the family, and that's tragic."

Under that premise, we can no longer send anyone to jail who has children - especially a 'single parent'.

he also says: "...but there is a little problem here with the skin color of the families in question, so the Republicans could care less..."

First, it should be: could not care less...

Second, it has nothing to do with the color of their skin. If they are from Ireland, or New Zealand, or Portugal or anyplace else, same thing. Deport them if they are caught here illegally. Just because the overwhelming percentage of them are from Mexico or other Latin American countries has not bearing on it the situation.

We, as Americans, should have the right to say when, how many and who enters our country LEGALLY. People who desire to immigrate to the USA do not get to make those decisions for us.

Lee Ward:

If the illegal immigrants were caucasian this bill would have sailed through Congress.


obviously, lee is not listening to anyone else on this issue. if you don't agree with him, you are racist. if you are concerned about the law, you are racist. if you are a republican, you are racist.

did i miss anything, lee?

oh, and by the way. contrary to the belief and propaganda on the left, it's not republicans who are keeping racism alive in the US. it's people like jesse jackson who blackmail companies into hiring his cronies. it's people like al sharpton who have made their race an industry.

so you can take that racist republican meme of yours and stick it where the sun don't shine, because that's about all it's worth.

Lee Ward:

"did i miss anything, lee?"

Yes, you missed the part where I said not everyone who opposes the bill is a racist.

Are you an idiot who can't read, or an idiot who can read but runs around trying to pick fights? Your actions pretty much come down to those two choices.


i'm not picking a fight, lee. i'm standing up against the slur of racism.

and, as to the suggesting that i can't read. here are some quotes from you on this post.

you say you're not calling everyone opposed to the bill racist, but you say...

they'll have to elect more Democrats to Congress in order to move this country past the racists' roadblocks.

you said...

but there is a little problem here with the skin color of the families in question, so the Republicans could care less...

you said...

If the illegal immigrants were caucasian this bill would have sailed through Congress.


the Republican leadership needs to get the recalcitrant members on board.

i read all of that, and the only conclusion i can come to is that you are equating republican to racist. especially since you don't ever address any of the legitimate concerns that have been voiced by those opposed to the bill.

Lee Ward:

The racists were extremely effective in mounting a campaign to kill this bill, and although the bill was killed by the actions of racists, not everyone who opposed the bill was a racist.

John in CA:

The race card players, such as leeward, have been very effective in labeling opponents to illegal immigrants racists.

Down with the race card players.


really? the racist did this did they?

funny, the consistant message i am hearing from people opposed to the bill (from the left and the right) is that they want the current laws enforced. they want our borders secured. they don't want people who have broken the law by entering the country illegally to gain any benefit from it.

could you perhaps point out which is the racist arguement? or perhaps point out those who are making the arguements are racist? who are these racist actors who killed the bill? can you point them out to me? oh, and how do you tell which of these racists are part of the 65-75% of the polled population opposed to the bill?

it's not that i don't believe racists are opposed. and it's not that i don't believe that some republicans are racist. ANY group large enough will have its bigots (that includes your precious democratic party as well).

i just don't see opposition to the immigration bill being primarily a race issue.

and the idea that electing democrats will remove racists in congress is just plain wrong.

Lee Ward:

So, John, you can honestly say with a straight face that if the problem was 11 million caucasian Canadians this bill would have met with the same resistance? There would have been hundreds of thousands of phone calls and petitions? People like ke would 't be foaming at the mouth, and looking for a fight?

No way. If these had been white Canadian illegals this would have sailed through Congress, and the Republicans would be planning a barbecue on the White House lawn to welcome the newest Americans into the fold.

Lee Ward:

and Ke - I'll be writing much more about the Republican racists who were behind killing this bill in the coming weeks and months.


well, now. you've just called me a racist (i think). and a rabid one at that. thanks, i so appreciate that. kinda funny, actually, considering i kinda support most of the immigration bill, even if there are parts in it i'm not too sure about.

it reminds me of the time i was called a racist for attending a support the troops rally back during the first gulf war. that made about as much sense as this time.

and i don't come here looking for a fight. i read a LOT of different blogs every day. i like to be informed as to what is happening in the world.

from Instapundit, JOM, DailyKos, to Wizbang. and a lot more to boot. I post here and at JOM occasionaly because comments are allowed, and i like to say what i think. and generally speaking, the discourse is courtous if you aren't a flaming troll.

glenn doesn't allow any comments for well stated reasons. and DK only lets you post if you drink the kool aid.

my problem with you today is that you seemed to label republicans racist for opposing the bill. without presenting any evidence or proof. i know you say that's not what you were saying, but that is sure how it came across. and i took umbrage to that.

John in CA:

leeward, I'd RATHER have 11 million illegal Mexicans than 11 million illegal Canadians.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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