Wednesday’s 83 to 16 vote on the absolutely necessary fencing on the border had the side effect of setting up crucial tests for those who assert –perhaps rightly– that illegal immigration is the issue of 2006.
Two Democratic incumbents facing re-election –Maria Cantwell of Washington State and Robert Menendez of New Jersey– voted against the Sessions Amendment which mandates 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers.
So if the Minutemen spokespeople are correct, the opponents of Cantwell and Menendez should not only sweep to victory in the fall, they should also be gathering enormous support from the rank and file.
Those opponents are:
Mike McGavick in Washington State (you can contribute online here)
Tom Kean in New Jersey (you can contribute online here.)
If the “tough on illegal immigration” caucus is as strong as its proponents say it is, McGavick and Kean will be attracting thousands of new supporters in the next couple of days.
The McGavick and Kean candidacies should benefit as well from yesterday’s vote on the amendment mandating English as the official language of the United States. Senators Cantwell and Menendez again voted with the hard-left caucus that refuses to do anything about assimilation just as it refsued Wednesday to endorse border security.
Supporting McGavick and Kean is a real and immediate method of influencing the immigration debate that will be noted by Democrats facing re-election in the House and the Senate. Anyone who really wants the conference report to be tough on the border and on assimilation should take the action that genuinely telegraphs seriousness, which is the spending of real money.