By a vote of 46 - 53, the U.S. Senate today effectively killed the latest immigration reform bill (S1639) by refusing to invoke cloture and limit debate on it.
While I agree that a reform of the U.S.'s immigration policy is needed, don't mourn this bill.
It was garbage anyway.
In a shocking move, both AZ Senators Kyl and McCain voted in favor of cloture.
The 'shock' is that McCain showed up for work...guess there's no rubber chicken on the menu in Iowa or New Hampshire tonight... LOL
It's less of a shock that Kyl was in favor of the bill; while his campaign last year had strong anti-immigrant planks, the engine driving his campaign was fueled by money from the biggest beneficiaries of the bill - Corporate America.
Anyway, even if the bill had passed the Senate (obviously unlikely) and the House (like the nativists in the House would ever allow that to happen!) and was signed into law, well...
It wouldn't have worked.
In fact, no proposal to 'reform' U.S. immigration policy that can pass Congress will ever do anything to 'improve' it (whatever 'improve' may mean), particularly in regard to immigration from Mexico.
That's because the simple truth is that all of the proposals and ideas have the same flaw -
They ignore the root cause of the immigration wave – the abject poverty that defines existence in most of Mexico.
Another factor to consider is that there are three basic groups involved in the immigration debate - the 'open borders/human rights' crowd; the 'deport them all' crowd; and the Chambers of Commerce/'we want cheap labor' crowd.
[I know those labels are a little over-generalized, but they'll do for this post.]
Let's face facts here and admit that no proposal will ever make all three of those groups happy. Most proposals, in fact, focus on appeasing one group.
For instance, this most recent plan was designed to appease the business lobby; hence, the other two groups hated, and killed, it.
So now the question becomes "How do you get a workable plan passed?"
Short answer: Pi$$ 'em all off.
[OK, so a more appropriate phrase is 'construct a compromise'. Don't quibble - I'm on a roll here. :) ]
Any passable proposal has to include features that will annoy each group. Something that will enable them to go back to their bases and say "Hey, we didn't get everything that we wanted, but they didn't either."
An aid program that helps Mexico combat its raging poverty will please the 'deport 'em' crowd as well as the 'human rights' crowd because improving the quality of life in Mexico will reduce the number of people risking their lives to cross the border. It would annoy the Chamber of Commerce types because it would decrease the number of people available for their easily-controlled, easily-discarded, and above all, *cheap* labor force.
Note: I'm thinking that a version of the CCC would be perfect for this. The only issue would be making sure that the aid (material as well as financial) isn't siphoned off by corrupt government officials. (The US government telling another that it has to be less corrupt? There's a 'pot meet kettle' moment for the ages. :)) )
Other features that would annoy some while pleasing others, yet still be successfully combined in one program could include:
...increased border security with a provision that anyone trying to cross anywhere but a regular border checkpoint would be detained and deported, even if they had previously attained legal status...
...wage and civil rights guarantees for immigrants. In fact, requiring that all temporary workers brought in under this program get paid at least, say, 125% (or pick a number) of the highest state minimum wage, plus benefits, would go a long way toward encouraging Big Business to reconsider their habit of 'downsizing' American workers in favor of cheaper imported ones.
...and so on.
We'll know that a proposal is a serious one when it tries to address the root cause of immigration while acknowledging the concerns of all of the interested parties; as long as we keep seeing bills like S1639, we'll know that the sponsors of it don't actually want to reform anything.
p.s. - I know Harry Mitchell supported the Senate bill, but on this one, we're just going to have to disagree. I respect his reasons for supporting the bill, and I respect him, but this was a bad bill.