As we went to press, the Senate was continuing to debate the "compromise" illegal immigrant amnesty bill, and was preparing to vote on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's amendment cutting off debate. Following are some of the most irresponsible votes cast by the Senate thus far which serve to illustrate the Bush administration's and the Senate majority's approach to immigration policy:
• Granting amnesty to illegal-alien absconders.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who had already been caught and ordered deported but remain in the United States in violation of a court order — something that improves their chances for amnesty (an opportunity they forfeit if they obey the law and leave the United States). It defeated by a 51-46 margin an amendment offered by Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, that would have barred these illegal aliens from remaining in the United States. The Texas Republican very sensibly argued that these people had shown contempt for the law and should be sent home. Ten Republicans — Sens. Larry Craig (Idaho); Pete Domenici (N.M.); Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.); Dick Lugar (Ind.); Mel Martinez (Fla.); John McCain (Ariz.); Jon Kyl (Ariz.); Arlen Specter (Pa.) and George Voinovich (Ohio) voted against Mr. Cornyn's amendment.
• Refusing to implement basic border security and interior enforcement measures.
The Senate yesterday voted down by a 54-42 margin an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn which would have required the Department of Homeland Security to certify that essential measures were enacted before illegal aliens could be granted visas under the bill. The Oklahoma Republican's commonsense proposal would have required the Department of Homeland Security to certify that statutorily required border fencing was in place and that sanctuary cities (jurisdictions which in general refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities) are prohibited. In addition to Mr. Kyl, Republicans who helped kill Mr. Coburn's amendment included Messrs. Lugar; Martinez; Brownback; and Specter.
• Refusing to require that a system to determine whether an alien had left the country be in place before amnesty could take effect.
On Wednesday, the Senate by a 49 to 48 margin voted to kill an amendment by Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, that would have required the US-VISIT entry-exit system to be in place before the bill's guest-worker and amnesty provisions could take effect. Messrs. Kyl, McCain and Martinez were among the Republicans who provided the margin of defeat for the Vitter amendment.
• Keeping amnesty in the bill.
On May 24, the Senate voted 66 to 29 against an amendment by Mr. Vitter and Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, to remove amnesty for 12 to 20 million illegal aliens from the bill.
... this fight will have to be fought again!