Senate OKs Border Fence, Mulls Citizenship

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by -Cp, May 17, 2006.

  1. -Cp

    -Cp Senior Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    The Senate voted to build 370 miles of triple-layered fencing along the Mexican border Wednesday and clashed over citizenship for millions of men and women who live in the United States illegally.

    Amid increasingly emotional debate over election-year immigration legislation, senators voted 83-16 to add fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers along the southern border. It marked the first significant victory in two days for conservatives seeking to place their stamp on the contentious measure.

    The prospects were less favorable for their attempt to strip out portions of the legislation that could allow citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and create new guest worker programs.

    The Senate acted in a volatile political environment, as the White House struggled for a second day to ease the concerns of House Republicans who contend that President Bush favors amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    Thousands of demonstrators massed a few blocks from the Capitol demanding immigrant rights.

    Construction of the barrier would send "a signal that open-border days are over. ... Good fences make good neighbors, fences don't make bad neighbors," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. He said border areas where barriers already exist have experienced economic improvement and reduced crime.

    "What we have here has become a symbol for the right wing in American politics," countered Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. He said if the proposal passed, "our relationship with Mexico would come down to a barrier between our two countries."

    The Senate labored to complete work by next week on immigration legislation that generally follows an outline Bush set out in a nationally televised speech this week.

    The measure includes provisions to strengthen border security, create a new guest worker program and crack down on the hiring of illegal immigrants.

    Most controversially, it offers an eventual chance at citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country. Senate Republicans staged an impromptu, occasionally emotional debate over whether that amounted to amnesty.

    Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said it did. "Surely this is a pardon from what present law says must happen," he said of provisions in the bill that require immigrants to undergo background checks, pay back taxes and take other steps before they can become citizens.

    Sens. John McCain and Chuck Hagel replied heatedly it was not amnesty.

    "Let's stop the nonsense," said Hagel, addressing fellow Republicans. "You all know it's not amnesty." Said McCain, addressing Vitter, "Call it a banana if you want to ... to call the process that we require under this legislation amnesty frankly distorts the debate and it's an unfair interpretation of it."

    Vitter sought the last word. "Methinks thou dost protest too much."

    The clash erupted after Vitter sought a change in the legislation to strip out provisions of the bill that would allow for guest worker programs and give some illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship.

    Supporters of the Senate measure credited Bush's prime-time Monday night speech with giving fresh momentum to the effort to pass long- stalled legislation.

    Across the Capitol in the House, the story was different. Republicans pushed through a border security bill last year, and several members of the rank-and-file have criticized Bush for his proposals. To calm their concerns, the White House dispatched Karl Rove to their weekly closed-door meeting.

    Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, an outspoken opponent of the Senate bill, derided the effort. "I didn't see it was a persuasive event. If it was about Karl Rove seeking to convince members of Congress after debate that he's right and we're wrong it would have been better not to have the meeting," he said.

    King said Rove told lawmakers Bush is sincere about enforcement. But, he added, "The president doesn't want to enforce immigration law because he's afraid he'll inconvenience someone who wants to come into the country for a better life."

    Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., agreed that Rove did not seem to have been persuasive. "It's not the kind of issue you can compromise on; either you're giving amnesty to people who are here illegally or you aren't."

    At the White House, press secretary Tony Snow defended Bush against criticism. "The president is actually taking a more aggressive role on border security than the House itself took," he said. "That is the sort of thing that is going to answer a lot of the complaints that we have heard."

    The National Capital Immigration Coalition organized the afternoon demonstration on the National Mall a few blocks from where lawmakers debated the issue they cared about.

    "This is a critical moment. We oppose the militarization of the U.S- Mexican border," said Juan Jose Gutierrez, one of the event's organizers.
  2. Rico

    Rico Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Bush's brain has gone missing.

    "King said Rove told lawmakers Bush is sincere about enforcement. But, he added, "The president doesn't want to enforce immigration law because he's afraid he'll inconvenience someone who wants to come into the country for a better life."

    Inconvenience? What the hell is Bush thinking? This has gotten out of hand to the point that it may require a grass roots Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution so that noone here illegally, nor any children of theirs they give birth to while in the United States, can be citizens.

    This issue has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that our representatives in Congress, and those in the Executive Branch, are gutless cowards who fear hispanic backlash at the ballot box.

    I, with concern to this issue, am ashamed of our nation and our leaders. If simple laws governing immigration are ignored what is next? The lot of them whom oppose deportation should be thrown out of office.

Share This Page