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April 7, 2006
Immigration Compromise Dies On Democratic Obstinacy

The compromise legislation announced by Senators from both parties has collapsed in today's session, garnering less than forty votes in a procedural vote that required at least sixty:

The Senate sidetracked sweeping immigration legislation Friday amid partisan recriminations, leaving in doubt prospects for passage of a measure that offered the hope of citizenship to millions of men, women and children living in the United States illegally.

The bill gained only 38 votes on a key procedural test, far short of the 60 needed to advance.

The vote marked a turnabout from Thursday, when the Senate's two leaders had both hailed a last-minute compromise as a breakthrough in the campaign to enact the most far-reaching changes in immigration law in two decades.

But Republicans soon accused Democrats of trying to squelch their amendments, while Democrats accused the GOP of trying to kill their own bill by filibuster.

The filibuster threat came from angry Republicans whose attempts to amend the legislation to address issues like border security got blocked by Democrats attempting to pass an amnesty-only bill. When Republican Senators could not get their amendments to a vote, they pulled their support for the bill. Instead, the GOP and six Democrats combined to block any vote in the near future.

This shows the rather transparent nature of the obstructionism of the Democrats, now applied to immigration policy instead of the judiciary. They extorted an agreement from the GOP to pass a weak immigration reform package, one that places all the burdens of regulation and enforcement on the business community and none on the illegals themselves. They also opposed efforts to build a wall along the border, in the same manner that the Israelis have employed to great effect in stopping terror attacks. The so-called compromise announced last night amounted to nothing more than a complete capitulation by a handful of GOP Senators, including John McCain, who most notoriously came up with a similar capitulation on judicial filibusters last year. Instead of hammering out other components of immigration reform through debate and votes on amendments, the Democrats insisted that the bill had to go through with no input from other Senators at all.

The GOP needs to hang tough on immigration. We have a historic opportunity to do something right for border security and immigration policy for the first time in generations through the control of the House, Senate, and White House. Just as they did with judicial nominees, the Republican Senate caucus has shown a lack of will to fight for its agenda -- and they will inspire a similar lack of enthusiasm among conservative voters in November if they continue to run up the white flag every time the Democrats challenge them on core issues.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 7, 2006 12:20 PM

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