Friday, November 17, 2006

News Flash: Border Enforcement is Not Cheap

The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security has issued an estimate that the recently authorized border fence will cost anywhere between $8 and $30 billion. You may remember that the original estimate, confidently asserted right before an election, was $2 billion. Given that only $67 million has actually been approved so far, I don't see Congress coughing up that much.

This entire episode annoys me in many ways and on many levels. One of the outcomes will be a confirmation that the federal government is simply not interested in addressing immigration at all. Unfortunately, this will lead more local governments to enact their own laws, with a resulting morass of lawsuits and local political conflict.

I've been mulling over whether the new Democratic leadership will push for immigration reform in 2007, and although conventional wisdom suggests they will, I'm not sure yet. Certainly, they want the Latino vote, but I think doing nothing also secures some of that vote--in other words, the only harm comes when you go for enforcement-only policies. Many of the newly elected Democrats are fairly conservative, and might not want to jump right into a sticky topic. Plus, with the Murtha episode it also appears that the Democrats aren't very united and don't have a solid idea what they're doing. Or maybe I am just tired and cynical this morning.


Jordan 6:08 PM  

I don't think the Democrats are as confused as everyone thinks, but I will note the somewhat lack of direction as regards to immigration. However, give the Dems credit, for I think they realize how important and shifty the Latino vote is (i.e. Florida, Katherine Harris, and Republican's ridiculous immigration policy). It will be interesting to see.

Greg Weeks 8:02 AM  

Though when you lose your first vote as new leader, it is not a good sign. I also have not heard Pelosi say anything about immigration, despite being from California (albeit not southern CA). So we'll see.

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