Promise breakers on immigration 

It becomes ever more amazing to see the lengths to which proponents of the Bush/Kennedy/McCain immigration "reform" compromise bill will go in their increasingly desperate effort to gain passage.

Consider Thursday’s defeat of an amendment requiring that Congress certify that all current laws on the books regarding border security and immigration are being enforced before any new amnestylike processes can begin for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. Offered by Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the amendment was defeated 54-42.

Some important names are found among the 54 senators who voted against the amendment, including Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden of Delaware, Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois. Among Republican presidential hopefuls, Sam Brownback of Kansas voted against the amendment and John McCain of Arizona missed the vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont also opposed the amendment, as did the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

It seems especially peculiar to see men and women who aspire to become the chief enforcer of the law, as well as the two leading members of the committee with legislative jurisdiction over federal courts, opposing a measure that simply required that existing statutes be enforced.

In light of this vote, it is legitimate to now wonder if there are any other laws these solons would vote to not enforce. Indeed, we wonder whether in light of this seeming new precedent there are any promises these lawmakers have previously made or will make that can be trusted. True, any law can be repealed, but that’s not the same thing as declining to enforce one that remains on the books. Bankers call such an action defaulting on a loan and they not infrequently impose rather unpleasant consequences on consumers who break their promises.

This latest Senate vote likely will add to the growing public perception that the immigration bill is fatally flawed. The USA Today/Gallup Poll found that among those who have an opinion of the immigration bill, opponents outnumber supporters 3-1. And the ABC News/Washington Post poll found that among all Americans, only 29 percent approve of the way Bush is handling the immigration issue.

That’s the lowest Bush has ever been on the issue in the survey. Note, too, that overall approval ratings of the Democratic majority in Congress are even lower than the president. Clearly, most Americans don’t approve of promise breakers.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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