Thursday, September 21, 2006

The latest on Congress and immigration

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had anything positive to say about Congress’ efforts to address illegal immigration. The latest, I’m afraid, is even worse than usual. Not only is is real reform dead for the year, not only do we have people spouting nonsense about virtual fences, and not only is the Senate going to take up the proposal to build a real fence.

But. As it stands now, they’re planning to pass such measures without paying for them. These just aren’t real solutions.

The narrower bill sets a May 2008 deadline for building the first 361 miles of fencing -- along the border between Calexico, California, and Douglas, Arizona -- and also requires 30 miles of fencing along the Laredo, Texas, border crossing.

The bill wouldn't actually provide any funding to cover costs of the total of 700 miles of fencing and other barriers it would require to prevent Mexicans from entering the country illegally. According to informal estimates, the fence and other security steps could cost several billion dollars.

About $1 billion for the fencing is likely to be included in a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security that Congress is expected to approve for President Bush before adjourning for the elections.


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