Thursday, May 25, 2006

Senate approves immigration reform bill

Thursday afternoon, in a vote of 62-36 the Senate approved the bipartisan compromise bill that has resulted from almost two months of deliberation and negotiations. It will now move on to the Conference Committee with the House to see if any compromise can be worked out between the two bodies.

Although this Senate bill is far superior to the draconian "enforcement only" bill that passed in the House back in December, it is far from the bill originally sponsored by Sen. Kennedy and Sen. McCain, or even the one that came out of the Judiciary Committee. In the name of cooperation, so many concessions and compromises have been made that we are left with a bill that no longer meets the true criteria of comprehensive immigration reform.

At this point it looks like the best thing we can hope for is that the whole matter stalls out in conference.

The whole "immigration crisis", originally hatched by the House Republicans in an effort to distract an electorate that was losing faith in their leadership, and in hopes of creating a divisive issue that might energize the base, has in fact now turned into the mother of all divisive political issues. The only problem for Republicans is; they are the ones who have been divided by it.

At this point the best thing that could happen would be for continued Republican infighting, threats of mutiny, and in the end, no resolution reached.

If the House was able to further chip away at this bill until it met even their minimum criteria, we would be left with nothing at all. There have been so many concessions made so far, and there is so little room left for any negotiations in the Senate bill, we should just let it die a quiet death.

Let the Republicans fight and claw at each other. Then wait for a new House and Senate in November. We might not get a better bill from a new House and Senate … But we certainly couldn't get a worse one.

(I'm waiting to see the final version of the Senate bill as passed. Once it's out, we'll be able to get a better idea of what's left to negotiate with, and what concessions have already been made)

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1 comment:

Alma Mia said...

Sad but true.

I understand that the nature of compromise is each side doing some give and take. In this situation, however, I feel that the anti-immigrant crowd has taken and taken and still wants more.

I'm disappointed that we came so close to good reform and it failed, but join you in acknowledging that no bill is better than what will come out of conference.