So it appears the Grand Bargain is proving to be a tough sell. Is the Kennedy-Bush-Kyl immigration-reform package dead for good? Ah, who knows? In an examination of why the legislation failed last week, The New York Times says that Sen. Arlen Spector thinks it might still have a shot:
Members of the bipartisan coalition that wrote the measure promised that they would continue to press their case and would urge Mr. Reid to return to the debate at some point, perhaps as quickly as next week.
“When it is recognized by the American people that the Senate has not acted, I believe there’s going to be a wave of support for what we’ve been trying to do,” said Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, another author of the plan.
The polling firm Rasmussen Reports tells us says the legislation failed because the American people didn't support it. The pollsters conclude that voters just don't trust the government to follow through with securing the border and enforcing employer sanctions if they pass some sort of the program to give legal status to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the United States.
Rasmussen says that once the border is secure, then people might want to deal with the citizenship issue.
Well, all you secure-the-border-first folks should consider this: The federal justice system is already overwhelmed by trying to apprehend and prosecute the illegal immigrants they're already catching. There are not enough judges, not enough prosecutors, not enough jail space to handle the current crush. Here's one example: David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshall for Arizona, says he's sending a check for $9 million every month to private prisons to house illegal immigrants. Gonzales says in his opinion, the system is "just absolutely crumbling."
If we're going to secure the border without creating a guest worker program that reduces the demand for workers that's driving them to cross in the first place, it's going to cost a lot of money and take a very long time.
More on the immigration bill in this week's Skinny, available online in just two days!