Friday, April 07, 2006

About that fence.......

In the grand "Senate compromise" bill on immigration, that will do nothing other than grant amnesty and set up a situation where in 10 years we'll be doing this same song and dance all over again, there was mention and hope that there would be a provision in the bill that stated there would be a fence.

Guess again.

Hugh Hewitt links to Sen. Frist's blog that says this bill will "Begin the process of securing every inch of our 1,951 mile border with Mexico by building walls and fences in high traffic areas and using sensors to let our Customs and Border Patrol Agents see and hear those who try and cross through low traffic areas"


Last night James Lileks explanis what that means.

HH: All right. Let's go to immigration. What do you think?

JL: Well, El Diablo's in the details, isn't it? My first thought earlier this week was you know, let's just annex Mexico. Let's beat them to the punch. Let's just make Mexico the 51st state, but then I realized of course, once all of the Mexicans are Americans, then they won't do the jobs that Americans won't do. So then, we're back at square one. So we have to come up with something like we have now. And anybody in the base, the most frightening words to the base is a bill that is acceptable to the Senate.

HH: Yup.

JL: And anything that comes out with the word compromise makes people twitch. And anything that has the wrong people grinning and shaking hands ought to tell you that something is afoot. And what is afoot is, as I said last week, little. I think you're going to get a lot of palaver, and a lot of rhetoric, and if you get a fence, maybe they're going to stack two or three Lego blocks on top and strew a couple of shards of aluminum foil, and call that a fence. But I don't think you're going to get the kind of fence you need. I don't think you're going to get the kind of enforcement that you need. What you probably will get is some sort of package that leads to, well, none dare call it amnesty, of course, but you'll get something that leads to legality without the other enforcement mechanism. And it's going to be...I fear it's going to be more of the same, because they never get this right. Do you trust, for example, this current Congress as constituted, to tackle this with the fervor and the rigor that it needs? And if you do, point to me something else where they've gone after it and done what needed to be done.

HH: Let me read to you a paragraph from the Washington Times update on this. Minority leader Harry Reid, talking to reporters with Mr. Frist at his side, said the proposal, "is not perfect, but a big step in the right direction. We're looking like we may be able to dance this afternoon."

JL: Yes, to dance, yeah.

HH: It gets better.

JL: How about if these guys waltz a little less, and start to step on some toes, is what I'd like to see.

HH: However, even if Democrats and Republicans in the Senate reach an agreement on the compromise, it still would need to be approved by the House Republicans, who are expected to reject it outright. Asked by reporters if Senate leaders had discussed the plan with House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, an ardent opponent of anything that smacks of amnesty, Mr. Reid said, dismissively, "Chairman who?" At that, Mr. Frist quickly adjourned the press conference with Mr. Reid.

JL: Yeah, Chairman Who. There you go. That's that sort of nuance and ability to work with the other side that we admire about Mr. Reid. That's right. And of course, if the base doesn't turn out, that's the guy that's going to be calling the shots in a couple of years.

HH: And I then go to Bill Frist's website, and I had heard earlier today that there was a fence. You know what it says?

JL: What?

HH: Begin the process...

JL: Yeah.

HH: ...of securing every inch of our 1,951 mile border with Mexico by building walls and fences in high traffic areas, and using sensors to let our Customs and Border Patrol agents see and hear those who try and cross the low traffic areas.

JL: And begin the process, in Washington terms, means...

HH: Nothing!

JL: ...it means impanel a commission that will, 90 days from the date of its start, will tell us whether or not the blue ribbon panel to follow will be cerulean blue or royal blue.

HH: Yeah. It is...

JL: And then we'll vote on that...we'll hammer that out in the compromise to have a different shade of blue, and then maybe we can get the blue ribbon commission to study whether or not it is possible in the future to consider the likelihood of maybe constructing a fund for a prototype for a bridge for a wall in Canada. And that's what you're going to get.

HH: And I wanted a map with the lines with a highlighter on them, here's where the fence is going, and we're suspending any environmental law that would otherwise, as we had...you know, we had a fence in San Diego that was unfinished for five years because of the California Gnatcatcher, or something.

JL: Right. If there's some sacred toad in the area, you might as well forget about it.

HH: So what is the long and the short of this, James?

JL: The long and the short is what I said last week. What we need is a fence, what we need is good legal immigration, lots of it, because the country's founded on it. We need assimilation, we need a path to legality. I'm sorry, but it has to happen, because we can't deport, and we need a lot of enforcement, and we need to deport the people who are here who are criminals. And I don't think any of that is going to happen to the extent that it needs to be done.

HH: Thomas Friedman today, a very high fence with a very wide gate.

JL: That's a nice phrase, isn't it?

HH: It was. I liked that. Did you hear Christopher Hitchens talking about immigration?

JL: Yes, I did.

HH: And Mark Steyn, both of them. They really have no truck with these people at all.

JL: (laughing) I know they don't. Well, anybody who has had any contact whatsoever with the INS, and I've only had it second hand, seems to be a branch of the government that is designed specifically to make every other branch look better in comparison.

HH: Yeah, I think it's the DMV at the federal level.

JL: It makes the DMV look like Jack Bauer's operation, for Heaven's sakes.

HH: By the way...

JL: Yeah.

HH: What is the President up to in 24?

JL: I don't know. I'm on Season 1, episode 5, so SHUT UP about 24 already.

HH: (laughing) Thank you, Lileks.