Friday, April 07, 2006

The Consequences of Posturing

"Immigration Bill Stalls in Senate" sayz the WP
A tenuous bipartisan compromise, announced yesterday, fell apart when Democrats rejected conservative Republicans' demands for numerous changes, some designed to limit the number of illegal immigrants who could become eligible for citizenship. Trapped between the conservatives' demands and the Democrats' parliamentary powers to limit amendments, GOP leaders conceded a setback. But they vowed to try again when Congress returns from a two-week recess.

Several senators, including Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) expressed optimism. But the second-ranking Democrat, Richard J. Durbin off Illinois, said, "it's going to be a tough, uphill battle now."

Frist had hoped to settle the issue ahead of massive protests scheduled for next week in Washington and other cities by Latino groups and their allies. They oppose a House-passed measure that theoretically would deport the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants, while penalizing their employers. Some Democrats say the demonstrations will increase pressure on the Senate to pass more lenient legislation, but others say the delay might give opponents time to scrutinize the proposals and raise objections.

Most senators agree with House members that border security should be strengthened, and the bills being considered would pour money into that cause. Unlike the House, however, a majority of senators say some long-time undocumented workers should be given a chance to attain legal status -- and possibly citizenship -- as a nod to the nation's demand for low-wage employees and to the unfeasibility of apprehending and deporting millions of people.

The problem lies in crafting a plan that can hold at least 60 senators, the number needed to block filibusters in the 100-member chamber. Frist thought he had achieved the feat yesterday with a bill to divide illegal immigrants into three categories. Those in the country five years or longer would begin a route to citizenship if they learned English and paid taxes and fines. Those in the country two to four years could apply for legal status after returning to a border-crossing for document processing. The others would be subject to deportation.

But several Republicans, led by Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona, insisted on numerous amendments. Among other things, they would deny legal status to immigrants who had committed crimes or skipped deportation hearings.

Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said the amendments would allow Cornyn, Kyl and their allies to gut the bill's chief elements. "The people who were allowed to offer amendments are the people who hate this bill," Reid said of Frist's proposal.
This is what happens when the leadership of our society put political pandering ahead of principle. How desperately we require the counsel of Catholic Social Teachings. How sad that some of our self-selected spokesmen for CST too often confuse prudential application of CST with the doctrine itself. Especially when they attract far too much media attention.

Meanwhile, the fiddlers fiddle while America burns.

As to the particulars of this political trainwreck, I'm curious about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's position. He wants to deny all of the ammendments proposed by republican senators Coryn, Kyl and company--including the one that would ban convicted felons or three-time misdemeanor perps.

What. Were. You. THINKING?

Will you stop your Reasonable mouth-foaming for one minute, sir, and attempt to heed some common sense?

How does naturalizing criminals further the common good of US society?

I echoe Captain Ed's response on the hilarious matter:
Let me get this straight. Blocking entry to felons and securing the border will "gut" this immigration "reform" act? It's hard to imagine a worse set of circumstances than what exists now, but actually endorsing the entry of felons into the country while deliberately blocking efforts to secure the borders manages to soar far over that threshold. It moves the entire agreement from satire to farce.