10:53 PM

The Bill is Dead

Posted by Skye |

46 to 53 Immigration bill goes down in defeat

“What part of ‘no’ don’t we understand?,” asked Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who said the immigration fight had “reengaged the American people.”

George Borjas - an economist at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, wrote an insightful summary regarding the vote on the Hill today:

The President bet all his remaining political capital on a proposal he knew would tear his party apart. And the Senate came close to enacting very bad policy. It really makes me wonder: what the heck were they thinking?

There's something else worth pointing out. Here's a policy shift--amnesty and guest workers--that the entire political establishment as well as much of the mainstream media and academic elite wanted badly. It is seldom the case that something that the powers-that-be want so much fails to make it through. I am pretty sure there's a lesson in there somewhere. And the tactics used by the bill's opponents to fight the establishment's power and to weaken their control over key junctures in the information flow will provide lots of case studies that will be studied far into the future. No "Mission Accomplished" banners this time around.

Does this end the debate over immigration? No.

Why? Because our immigration system is truly broken.

Regardless of what happened at the Senate today, there are still 12 million illegal immigrants living in the country, and that number is increasing at the rate of about half-a-million a year. And there's no longer any need for the Bush administration to keep playing the charade of "more enforcement" that received wide media attention in the past few months. The economic and social dislocations caused by illegal immigration are not going to disappear simply because the issue is no longer in the political headlights.

Combine this with a legal immigration system that admits about 1 million immigrants a year--most of which tend to be low-skill workers. The economic pressures that both legal and illegal immigrants put on the low-skill labor market are severe, and have been ignored for years. I suspect that the immigration "problem" would have been long resolved had the labor markets for high-skill workers--say, for example, journalists and attorneys--faced the same pressures as those faced by low-educated workers.

Borjas is absolutely correct in his assessment that our immigration policies are broken. I'm not sold on the idea of President Bush losing political capitol over his support of this deeply flawed immigration bill. He is winding up his last years as POTUS and can throw his support to whatever legislation he likes with (political) impunity.

As for this latest debacle of the Senate - It was an already fractured GOP base that in 06 voted in a house and senate that in very short order voted on a non-binding Iraq resolution , continually looks for new and unique ways to defund our troops while they are in a war zone and now tried pass a deeply flawed immigration bill.

And all the pundits have to say is "what the heck were they thinking?".

Hello - the question that needs to be asked is 'What the heck was the public thinking when they voted these imbeciles into power in 06'? Quit your bitching - you voted for this change in 06, and now you are crying over the mess you created.

As a resident of Pennsylvania, I often sadly wonder if Senator Santorum was re-elected in 06, would such non-binding Iraq resolutions or flawed immigration bills ever have seen the light of day?

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