Senate rejects border fence amendment to immigration bill

Rick Moran
This vote on an amendment by South Dakota Senator John Thune, that would have tied the legalization of immigrants to construction of at least 350 miles of border fencing should cause Senators like Rubio and Graham to reject the entire reform package.

But it won't. The Senate bill will probably arrive on the House floor without any border security provisions except vague promises to fix it sometime in the future.

Washington Times:

Senators on Tuesday rejected building the 700 miles of double-tier border fencing Congress authorized just seven years ago, with a majority of the Senate saying they didn't want to delay granting illegal immigrants legal status while the fence was being built.

The 54-39 vote to reject the fence shows the core of the immigration deal is holding. The vote broke mostly along party lines, though five Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio and the rest of the bill's authors, voted against the fence, and two Democrats voted for it.

Republicans had offered the fence as a way to build the confidence of voters skeptical that the government will enforce its laws, but opponents said building more fencing is costly, would take too long, and shouldn't be dictated by Washington.

"I think we should leave that to the best judgment of the Border Patrol," said Sen. John McCain, one of the eight senators who wrote the immigration bill.

Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, proposed the border fence amendment, which would have prevented the administration from granting any illegal immigrants legal status under the bill until at least 350 miles of double-tier fencing has been erected, and would withhold full citizenship rights until 700 total miles have been built.

Minutes after the border fence, senators also voted to weaken current law that requires the government to have biometric checks such as fingerprints or eye-scans for every visitor to the U.S. -- a recommendation of the 9/11 commission that looked into the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.

Senators said it is too expensive to check fingerprints at all air, land and sea ports of entry. Instead, the bill calls for photographic checks at air and sea ports, but excludes land ports.

"When is our federal government going to keep its promises when it comes to the issue of border security?" said Mr. Thune, the sponsor of the fence proposal.

I'm tempted to answer Mr. Thune by saying "when hell freezes over" but that's being too optimistic.

There are several Republican Senators who are on record saying that they might vote against  the reform bill if it doesn't strengthen our borders. Well, here you have your answer. No one in government wants to get serious about border security. We'll see if those GOP Senators put their votes where their mouth is.

This vote on an amendment by South Dakota Senator John Thune, that would have tied the legalization of immigrants to construction of at least 350 miles of border fencing should cause Senators like Rubio and Graham to reject the entire reform package.

But it won't. The Senate bill will probably arrive on the House floor without any border security provisions except vague promises to fix it sometime in the future.

Washington Times:

Senators on Tuesday rejected building the 700 miles of double-tier border fencing Congress authorized just seven years ago, with a majority of the Senate saying they didn't want to delay granting illegal immigrants legal status while the fence was being built.

The 54-39 vote to reject the fence shows the core of the immigration deal is holding. The vote broke mostly along party lines, though five Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio and the rest of the bill's authors, voted against the fence, and two Democrats voted for it.

Republicans had offered the fence as a way to build the confidence of voters skeptical that the government will enforce its laws, but opponents said building more fencing is costly, would take too long, and shouldn't be dictated by Washington.

"I think we should leave that to the best judgment of the Border Patrol," said Sen. John McCain, one of the eight senators who wrote the immigration bill.

Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, proposed the border fence amendment, which would have prevented the administration from granting any illegal immigrants legal status under the bill until at least 350 miles of double-tier fencing has been erected, and would withhold full citizenship rights until 700 total miles have been built.

Minutes after the border fence, senators also voted to weaken current law that requires the government to have biometric checks such as fingerprints or eye-scans for every visitor to the U.S. -- a recommendation of the 9/11 commission that looked into the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.

Senators said it is too expensive to check fingerprints at all air, land and sea ports of entry. Instead, the bill calls for photographic checks at air and sea ports, but excludes land ports.

"When is our federal government going to keep its promises when it comes to the issue of border security?" said Mr. Thune, the sponsor of the fence proposal.

I'm tempted to answer Mr. Thune by saying "when hell freezes over" but that's being too optimistic.

There are several Republican Senators who are on record saying that they might vote against  the reform bill if it doesn't strengthen our borders. Well, here you have your answer. No one in government wants to get serious about border security. We'll see if those GOP Senators put their votes where their mouth is.