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.” However, even if Democrats and Republicans in the Senate reach an agreement on the compromise, it still would need to be approved by 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.
Specifically, the latest bill proposes to:
Border Enforcement Specifics:
*Add nearly 15,000 additional border protection agents to augment the 20,000 Customs and Border Protection agents already on the job
Specifically authorize 1,250 border agents and 1,250 port-of entry inspection agents
*Require Defense Department cooperation on the border, e.g. unmanned drones
*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
*Require fingerprint database connectivity between FBI and Border Patrol
Interior Enforcement specifics:
*Increase alien smuggling penalties with a mandatory minimum of 5 years
*Add criminal penalties for various immigration-related document fraud
*Mandate the use of expedited removal for aliens apprehended within 100 miles of the border and 14 days of entry
Employer Enforcement specifics:
*Establish nationwide, mandatory verification program for hiring workers
*Limit the number of acceptable hiring documents with REAL ID standards
*Authorize 2,000 new worksite enforcement agents and 1,000 anti-fraud agents
Sigh. When Hill sources had told me there was a fence, I believed that a real fence was included, but of course this is the promise of a fence. It is just not serious.
Much could be negotiated away in exchange for ewal border security, but this isn’t it.
And the bill won’t pass.
And those associated with it have damaged their political prospects greatly.