Monday, June 11, 2007

The Senate Vote on 1348 Cloture: 99% Pure Nativism and 1% Adulterated Justice

If we continue to review the short list of only 11 Democrats who opposed S. 1348 we discover that none stated they did so out of concern for the lives of immigrants and justice. To take up from where we left off,

Robert Byrd (D-W.Va): While other Democrats opposed S. 1348 because of their stated concerns about U.S.-American workers, Byrd is playing the same law-and-order card as his Republican counterparts. Here's the explanation of his vote from his webpage:
""We should not reward those who break our immigration laws. We should continue to hire more border agents and install the fencing and technology to close the gaps along our land borders. We should encourage employers to hire American citizens and target those companies that hire illegal immigrants," Byrd explained. "And we should not give a blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants who want to flaunt the laws of this land."

"This proposal could wave a magic wand and give as many as 12 million illegal immigrants automatic legal status. This amnesty plan is no fairy tale; it is a bad dream," Byrd said. "The proposal is a slap in the face to every immigrant who had to wait abroad to come to American shores, and to every immigrant who had to struggle and work to become a U.S. citizen."

"There is no excuse for turning a blind eye to the 500,000 aliens expected to sneak across the borders illegally this year," Byrd stated.

The White House and several Members of Congress have been in negotiations over the structure of an amnesty plan that could garner the support of President Bush. A central tenant of those discussions has been a one-time waiver of an illegal immigrant’s status to legal."
Byron Dorgan (D-ND): Dorgan introduced an amendment to remove the guest-worker provision from the bill. This provision was not passed and Dorgan voted against S. 1348. Another voice of provincialism. From Dorgan's press release:
"It is, simply put, a plan that would bring cheap labor in the back door in the form of millions of foreign workers, even as we continue to export good paying American jobs to other countries," Dorgan said."
Mary Landreiu (D-LA): Another nativist vote against S. 1348. Landreiu voted in favor of an amendment that would have entirely gutted the legalization portion of the bill, for being too lenient! In her own (or rather, her office's words):
“The guest worker program proposed in the bill is virtually unenforceable and its structure does little to help employers short on skilled workers, instead encouraging overstaying and more illegal behavior. The legalization rules laid out give greater preference for those in the country illegally than they do for authorized guest workers or family members of U.S. citizens. This is not fair. If we are to provide a path to earned citizenship, the first people in line should be those who have played by the rules and followed the law.
Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Seems Donald Rumsfeld has found a new job working as McCaskill's press officer:
"We have crimes we can deter in this country, and we have crimes we cannot deter."
Hmmm... And then we have crimes we don't know are crimes. These would be the crimes of living in this country without a problem other than a nationalist country passing laws to make one's presence illegal. In McCaskill's words, channeling Rumsfeld:
"This doesn’t have to be complicated. Enforce the law. It is a mistake to toy and allow bureaucrats to decide who has broken the law, like one amendment I opposed. Rather, when someone breaks the law they should be brought in front of our criminal justice system and be accountable to the courts...
In fact, I voted against the Senate immigration bill for a number of reasons, but there were two that really stuck out at me. I could not support the expansion of a broken guest worker program and I did not think the employer sanctions were tough enough."

Mark Pryor (D-AK). No press release but his voting record on all the amendments to S. 1348 are solidly with the Republicans, voting for almost all of the more draconian proposals, including eliminating the earned income tax credit for guest workers.

Jay Rockefeller (D. W.Va) said he opposed S. 1348 because

"It doesn’t do enough to ensure that employers stop hiring illegal workers, and it doesn’t do enough to require major U.S. companies to hire and train U.S. workers first. It creates an unfair and complicated point system for legal immigration while essentially throwing out our historical commitment to unifying families.

“It allows 12 million people who are here illegally to jump to the front of the line and creates a guest worker program that could deny jobs and drive down wages for U.S. citizens."

Jon Tester (D-OK). Joined with Max Baucus (also D-OK) to issue the following:
"Baucus and Tester said that the bill aimed at reducing the number of illegal immigrants entering the country makes it too easy for an illegal immigrant to get a work visa, does not go far enough in strengthening the country’s borders and does not have tough enough enforcement measures."
And finally, Jim Webb (D-VA), from his press release:
Personally, I believe that as long as this bill gives legalization to everyone who was here, as of the end of last year, it will be in real trouble.
In short, every single member of the U.S. Senate was either willing to endorse S. 1348, a bill that for the first time would make English a national language and kick out residents to countries some had never seen (if they came as newborns and had never been back), or to assail it for being to lenient. The one Senator who seems to have voted for this measure for the right reasons (Bingaman D-NM) still falls far short of deserving any medals for his conviction since his web page avoids the immigration topic entirely and as of today he had no press release on his reasons for voting against cloture and indeed nothing on his overall immigration stand, one of the most important questions on the minds of his constituents. It appears that he fears the diatribes of the Minutemen more than pangs of conscience and would prefer to vote his beliefs for secret reasons, rather than take an opportunity to lead and change some minds.


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