May 23, 2007

A Tale Of Two Amendments (Updated & Bumped)

Note: I've changed the title of this post in order to address a second, critical amendment by John Cornyn. See the first update below.

The senior Senator from Minnesota, Norm Coleman, will offer an amendment to end the practice of "sanctuary cities" and demand compliance with immigration laws. Coleman wants to close the loophole various cities opened in the 1996 immigration bill that allows them to ignore the illegal status of people arrested by their law enforcement agencies:

In an effort to strengthen national security, Senator Norm Coleman yesterday introduced an amendment to the Immigration bill to make sure local law enforcement officials are able to communicate with federal law enforcement agencies regarding suspected immigration violations. Currently, a number of cities throughout the nation are using a loophole to get around Sec. 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 by instituting ordinances forbidding local law enforcement to even ask the question as to whether a person is in the U.S. lawfully, thereby evading their legal responsibility to report their suspicions to the federal government.

“In a post 9-11 world, it is simply unacceptable for communities to ignore federal laws requiring them to share this type of information with federal authorities. This is not a matter of making state and local governments enforce federal immigration laws, it is simply a matter of closing this loophole that certain cities have created,” said Coleman. “This defies common sense, as the rule of law must apply to both legal and illegal residents. Moreover, we know how crucial it is to connect the dots in order to avert another terrorist attack in this country. The consequences of prohibiting information sharing are too great. To close this loophole, I have introduced an amendment that will ensure the lines of communication are open between local and federal law enforcement officials.”

Senator Coleman’s legislation will not require local law enforcement to use their own resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Moreover, it does not require local law enforcement to conduct immigration raids or act as federal agents. Senator Coleman’s bill will simply give law enforcement officers the ability to inquiry about a person’s immigration status during their routine investigations, and in turn report their findings to the appropriate Federal authorities though already-established channels, as they are currently required to do by law.

Coleman says that the impetus for this amendment comes from the capture of the Fort Dix Six. They had numerous contacts with law enforcement, and yet no one notified federal authorities of their illegal status. Not until a sharp-thinking clerk alerted the FBI about their jihadi videos did anyone realize the threat that had metastasized in New Jersey.

I believe Coleman supports the immigration compromise, at least conceptually. Coleman has a propensity to reach across the aisle for solutions, which he explained very well two weeks ago at an appearance at the University of Minnesota. However, this clear thinking shows why Coleman gives Republicans a strong voice in the Senate, and why many of us support him even when he wanders off the reservation from time to time.

It's time to end the "sanctuary city" phenomenon, especially since this compromise purports to clamp down on illegal immigration -- a claim that its details don't support very well at all. If the compromise fails, Coleman should introduce this as a free-standing bill in this session of Congress to demand that cities quit hiding criminals from the ICE.

UPDATE: John Cornyn has proposed an even more critical amendment, one that appears to have Democrats a bit flummoxed:

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship subcommittee, on Wednesday introduced an amendment to the immigration bill to close a gaping loophole in the bill that will ensure the following individuals are either permanently barred from the United States or prohibited from getting any immigration benefit: members of terrorist-related organizations, known gang members, sex offenders, alien smugglers who use firearms and felony drunk drivers.

“The question I put to my colleagues is this: Should Congress permanently bar from the U.S. and from receiving any immigration benefit: suspected terrorists, gang members, sex offenders, felony drunk drivers, and other individuals who are a danger to society?,” Sen. Cornyn said. “I hope that every Senator would answer this question with a positive response.

Sen. Cornyn’s amendment also closes the loophole in the pending bill that allows legalization of those illegal immigrants who have violated court ordered deportations, or absconders.

This will address two key points on the Heritage Foundation's list of issues about the immigration proposal. It also creates an almost unbearable political situation. Who will go on record as endorsing the entry/normalization of gang members, coyotes, sex offenders, and other undesirables? Whoever votes against the Cornyn amendment will have to deal with election advertisements that say, "Senator X voted to allow known sex offenders and drunk drivers in your community."

Good luck rebutting those.

It also addresses the issue of absconders. These are people who have deportation orders that they have ignored until now. Heritage estimates that over 600,000 absconders would receive de facto pardons under this plan. Cornyn wants to restore the rule of law and the authority of the criminal-justice system by denying them profit from their refusal to obey a court order. It's another tough point for critics to rebut. If Cornyn can get his amendment to the floor, expect it to pass by an overwhelming margin.


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Comments (24)

Posted by RG | May 23, 2007 10:42 AM

Nice thought by Coleman but nothing will come of it. Don't you all reaize Jorge has neutered the Border Patrol and ICE and turned them into nothing but "Welcome to America" agencies (except in Spanish). Notice how we don't hear "USA" or "US" or "United States" and continually hear "America", because we are no longer the republic our founding fathers set up, we're a dumbed-down democracy.

Forget about it....its all a moot point. If we are unable to stop sanctuary cities, unable to stop local police from enforcing immigration law, unable to stop Spanish being taught in public schools (not as a foreign language class), unable to deport illegals (even violent criminal illegals) due to immigration lawyers and ethno-pressure groups (la raza, lulac, maldef), it's all a moot point.

As a famous talk show host says: "liberalism is a mental disorder" and that disorder infects many, many republicans and so called conservatives.

Posted by McCain Hater | May 23, 2007 11:06 AM

Although I agree with RG, I would like to see the Feds pass some type of law that in if you are a sanctuary city, you will receive no Federal funding for anything.

Posted by james23 | May 23, 2007 11:30 AM

Good idea, amendment will be rejected by Dems and Rinos, and Coleman will have a great excuse to vote against the MKB Amnesty 2.0. And he dang well better vote against, or say hello to Sen Al Franken.

Posted by NRA Life Member | May 23, 2007 11:34 AM

I like the idea. I am not as pessimistic as RG, but his points are spot on. On the other hand, I sense a growing majority of our country is getting fed up with the immigration mess. Politicians often get things wrong, and then when they get an earful from angry constituents are capable of fixing their errors (at least some of the time).

I certainly am not predicting anything, but I urge everyone to not lose hope, to support initiatives like Senator Coleman's and overall to stay engaged in the process. I believe this is the strategy that was followed by the Dems from 2004-2006. It worked for them and it can also work for us.

Posted by akabaseball | May 23, 2007 11:56 AM

Well isn’t that nice, 6 years after 9-11 and the pathetic senate thinks getting a handle on persons of the world that have no right to be on our sovereign soil just might be a security risk? Left wants cheap votes, Right wants cheap labor, and both parties want to leave a shadow of a country the greatest generation fought and died for.

Here’s an idea for the surrender monkeys to purpose. Make all illegal immigrants retroactively legal on 9/10/2001!!! That way we can blame the twin towers on home grown crime! Isn’t this why poor excuse leaders even consider this as a solution. If 99 percent of illegal’s have pure intentions, that only leaves 120K of non fruit pickers to target my grand kids elementary school. This is the worst led generation, I have watched roll through. The two party’s can kiss my hairy American ass on this issue.

Teach your children to play soccer America, it’s the only thing the French and Middle East respect of this groveling version of the USA. Excuse me while I vomit

Posted by Maverick Muse | May 23, 2007 12:06 PM

Along this immigration line, Farmers Branch, TX should file countersuit to the Federal Claims against them. When the federal govt. will not perform their duties and prevent localities from upholding the law, it is time to sue--nothing frivolous about it! The balance of government needs adjustment for localities and states rights to regain effect since the federals have bloated themselves ineffectual beyond taxing and prosecuting easy political targets.

Posted by RG | May 23, 2007 12:07 PM

I'm sorry to sound so cynical, it's just that I have lived DAILY with this issue since August 2000, when my brother was killed by an illegal from Mexico (up here in Michigan). I have read and read and read everything I can get my hands on ever since.

Our political class simply doesn't want to stop the invasion. Bush, Kennedy, McCain, etc. all feel compelled to help the economic basket case that is Mexico, which while I'm not against helping them, the solution they advocate is allowing Mexico to export tens of millions of their people here. And that I don't agree with. With the current interpretation of the 14th ammendment, it means the USA will be "latinized" and very soon. The numbers will likely grow to 30-40 million in the next 10-15 years.

Soon, we will likely hear that the Border Patrol is recruiting Mexican citizens to hire as agents, since they can better understand the needs of the migrant then the mere "Anglos".

Anything short of deportation is (are?) "weasel words".

Posted by akabaseball | May 23, 2007 12:24 PM

RG, don't you dare apologise for not being an apologist. The more appeasers try to cure the human condition, the more they fail!

Media counts dead soldiers, not people headed to work and killed by DUI by illegals.

Go to the link and then think.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | May 23, 2007 12:26 PM

Coleman deserves credit for his initiative, but his is polish for a turd. Even if incorporated, a complementary loophole will probably be included. Even if passed, some cities will still expend tremendous resources to fight it and, with their legal departments, petition a receptive court to restrain the order. Even if followed, the Executive, especially the amnesty pusher now residing at the White House, will still apply but token enforcement, if any at all, to see that justice is done.

Kudos to Coleman on this, but I do not believe it will make one iota of difference. Our government wants illegal aliens to flow, legal, sovereign Americans be damned. How far we have fallen when we essentially need a law to enforce the law.

Keep pressuring your Representative, Senators, and party leaders to deny amnesty, to construct secure borders, and to fully enforce current law.

Posted by hunter | May 23, 2007 4:57 PM

excellent start. Nearly 6 years late, and it should have been done by the Executive in October of 2001, but at least it is a start.

Posted by Project Vote Smart | May 23, 2007 5:29 PM

Senator Norm Coleman’s voting record on immigration can be found at: Norm Coleman’s Voting Record

Senator Norm Coleman’s history of speeches on immigration can be found at: Senator Norm Coleman’s Record of Speeches

For more information on Senator Norm Coleman’s position on immigration please visit Project Vote Smart or call our hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART.

Posted by Angry Dumbo | May 23, 2007 5:34 PM

Passing an immigration bill is good for Dems and bad for Republicans.

Thus, an immigration bill will be passed.

Adios, amigos.

Posted by Bill Faith | May 23, 2007 5:48 PM

So how about if we just enact those two amendments and scrap the rest of the bill for now? I wrote a few days ago:

Friends and neighbors, the best we can hope for under the current administration is no action of any sort on immigration. I realize that's a gamble. The bill currently under consideration is a wonderful bill compared to what we can expect under an Clinton or Obama administration, but if either of them ends up in the White House immigration is going to be a minor issue compared to the other problems we'll have anyway. As long as we keep the 12 or 20 or 30 million people who are in this country illegally illegal there's at least hope that under a Thompson administration an actual reasonable compromise can be worked out and actually implemented. Stall for time, people, stall for time.

There's a good piece on NRO right now that explains my thinking a little better.

I'll excerpt and link at It ain't over till the fat lady goes back to Mexico

Posted by Dale in Atlanta | May 23, 2007 6:10 PM

Capt: I WHOLEHEARTEDLY support BOTH Admendments; which means they will NEVER be passed, nor accepted!

That's why I'm against this bill in general...

Posted by Fight4TheRight | May 23, 2007 6:26 PM

It's good to see Norm Coleman on the offensive and creating more spotlight on himself...I have my "tiffs" with him but considering the alternative to Coleman in 2008, that of Al Franken.....well, let's put it this way, Franken's proposed Amendment here would be to move the U.S. border North to probably just south of St. Louis.

Posted by Timothy S. Carlson | May 23, 2007 6:27 PM

IF amendments like this keep coming to the floor, AND they are accepted and incorporated into the bill, then this pig has a chance of becoming a butterfly.

Let's see what they do to beef up the border security / law enforcement portions of the bill.

Can we get Cornyn and Coleman to move to Arizona? We have a couple of Senate seats that may be empty soon (McCain/Kyl)...

Posted by patrick neid | May 23, 2007 6:29 PM

as a long term resident of san francisco i can guarantee you that there are no laws, past, present or future that will have an impact on anything in these parts. there have been too many props passed in the state of california that are never enforced--we are talking about landslide votes. our legal system is such that anyone can shop a judge and have anything overturned or 'stayed'. the dems know this while the repubs stand slack jawed, except for bush who knows full well what he's up to.

it is for those reasons that i so adamantly support a complete double wide fence for the entire border. at least with a barrier we will see them tearing it down, whereas now they simply move a piece of paper that no one notices.

what most amazes me is the naivete of so many posters who actually think that the politicians in washington actually want to reform immigration and control the swarms of illegals crossing the border. if we were serious about immigration the border would have been closed after the 1986 agreement or certainly no later than the barbara jordon five year review of illegal immigration from 1990-95 which specifically recommended a fence, no family immigration and no automatic citizenship for children born here of illegals. because of those conclusions clinton tabled the results.........

this is all a charade.

Posted by Lightwave | May 23, 2007 7:41 PM

Both Amendments are common-sense measures, which as many people here have said, means they won't pass.

Here's a question for you Ed. Who is in more trouble with their base right now, the GOP with this immigration bill, or the Dems with their capitulation on Iraq?

Neither one will tolerate their party passing the measure as is. But who stands to lose more?

Posted by Rose | May 23, 2007 7:41 PM

Posted by: akabaseball at May 23, 2007 11:56 AM




Posted by: Maverick Muse at May 23, 2007 12:06 PM


I also think Farmers Branch and others should start a RECALL PETITION DRIVE against the Federal Judge that BLOCKED a measure with a 68% result WIN for the measure!


Although I agree with RG, I would like to see the Feds pass some type of law that in if you are a sanctuary city, you will receive no Federal funding for anything.

Posted by: McCain Hater at May 23, 2007 11:06 AM




Keep pressuring your Representative, Senators, and party leaders to deny amnesty, to construct secure borders, and to fully enforce current law.

Posted by: AnonymousDrivel at May 23, 2007 12:26 PM




Posted by: patrick neid at May 23, 2007 6:29 PM


I recommend that you read Numbers 16, in the Old Testament, the whole chapter, and consider moving from San Fransisco.


Posted by Keemo | May 23, 2007 7:52 PM

Amen Patrick... I spent the past 53 years living in California (recently got the hell out), and have watched election after election become worthless as Liberal politicians didn't like the results and used judges to go around the will of the people. Elections eventually became meaningless in California. What once was a "great state", a "productive state", is now a bigger version of Louisiana with many disasters on the horizon.

Build the damn fence; put the military on the border; then and only then can we talk about the many other issues regarding the punishment for & what to do with the millions that are already here sucking the life right out of our infrastructure.

I do appreciate Coleman's attempt to bring forward some sanity to this sick & twisted body of human scum contained in all (3) houses; it's a start...


I feel for you! This fight is a worthy fight for all of us RG, as our country is worth saving; more so for folks like you who have lost a loved one due to the utter incompetence of our elected officials. Stay strong & proud...

Posted by Orbit Rain | May 23, 2007 8:49 PM

...yeah, this loophole's closing is long overdue...the idiocy of a few cities should not be allowed to endanger the entire country...I look forward to more ammendments debated publicly, since this conversation with the country is long overdue, given the failures of previous congresses...

Posted by amr | May 23, 2007 9:31 PM

In these arrests in Minneapolis, we see the unintended consequences of unsecured borders and the existence of sanctuary cities. But if illegals do it, its not a problem in a sanctuary city. Well, If I remember correctly, slavery, even sex slavery, was outlawed in this country more than a few years ago. Maybe the mayor of Minneapolis missed that milestone in our country.

Posted by Rose | May 23, 2007 11:35 PM

So how about if we just enact those two amendments and scrap the rest of the bill for now? I wrote a few days ago:

I'll excerpt and link at It ain't over till the fat lady goes back to Mexico.

Posted by: Bill Faith at May 23, 2007 5:48 PM


Great post! I love it!!!

Posted by philw | May 24, 2007 7:36 AM

Regarding voter petition nullification, the libs in MA learned the same lesson and ignore petitions they don't like. I've moved to NH and have contacted my senator on immigration. I urge all here to be a pest to any and all govt reps and orgs on this issue. Do it now.