The comprehensive immigration bill passed by the U.S. Senate last week is heavy on border security and light on enforcement against employers who insist on employing undocumented workers.
While the bill allocates more than $40 billion to border security, it doesn’t allocate anything close to that or emphasize cracking down on industries or individuals who employ illegal workers.
The bill may continue to allow the nation’s employers to slide while throwing billions at doubling the size of the fence along the Mexican border that is now 350 miles long and adding 17,405 enforcement agents at the border.
The bill was written by a bipartisan committee called the Gang of Eight, which included Arizona Sen. John McCain, who’s hardly a “liberal.” It passed with 54 unanimous ayes from Democrats, 14 ayes from Republicans and 32 Republican nays, for a final tally of 68-32 in favor. Idaho’s two senators, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both Republicans, opposed it, which made Idaho one of just 10 states whose senators unanimously opposed the bill.
Risch’s objections were broad and undetailed. Crapo said immigration reform is not something “the Senate should rush through,” even though it’s been 27 years since passage of the last immigration bill.
Even though the bill addressed Crapo’s stated concerns regarding apprehension rates, visa overstays and biometric systems, he voted against it anyway, apparently because he let the desire for perfection get in the way of what was possible.
Speaker of the House John Boehner says his Republican-dominated chamber will make the same mistake and write its own bill. That will be a waste of time, energy and money that American taxpayers spend to pay their representatives.
The U.S. needs better immigration control, guest worker programs and paths to citizenship today, not another quarter century from now.