Mickey Kaus notes potential holes in the fencing provisions of Corker-Hoeven which appear to destroy the effectiveness of the double-fencing guarantee. Because it is very easy to write a mandatory provision –“notwithstanding any other law, 700 miles of new double side fencing shall be constructed by ____, of at least ___feet in height,” the appearance of language that could be only be calculated to provide an out from the obligation to build a fence is deeply troubling because it not only fails to provide the certainty of 700 miles of double-sided fencing sought by border-security advocates, it does so in a way apparently designed to deceive.
I am traveling Monday and Tuesday but will devote those days and the balance of the week’s shows to getting the answer on this question: Why was the language written this way? If the answer is “We don’t want to waste money on unnecessary double fencing,” my response is that the bill should die because the amendments’ sponsors simply do not understand the importance of this provision and thus have no real intention of meeting the demands of the border-security conservatives. Fence-proponents do not care about a few more hundreds of millions or even billions, and they really don’t believe that cost is driving the opposition.
I and almost every double-sided fence-advocate I know or have talked with don’t trust anyone in D.C. to do anything not specifically written into the law and done so with exacting detail. In fact, they believe every authority to water down border security will in fact be employed –as has been the case since 2006. This is the rational, indeed compelling attitude to have towards this draft law: The rhetoric about it means nothing. The legislative language means everything.
So: No inescapable, double-sided, minimum 700 miles of new fence, no new law in my view. I don’t care what it costs. I don’t care about the border agents. I don’t care about the promised high tech innovations. I could be a party of one for all I know, but I don’t think so. The 700 miles of double-sided fence is a proxy for seriousness of purpose, and without it, we are betting off giving up the effort until the Beltway comes around to the American majority position on the border fence.
That GOP senators still do not get this deep, fundamental distrust of the bureaucracy is astounding. Can they be that naive? Or are they simply trying to get a deal done by caving on the fence because Senator Schumer won’t give on the fence though he will gladly pretend to give on the fence.
It would be a shame if immigration reform fell apart because a handful of senators don’t like the fence that a strong majority of Americans favor, and worse –much worse– that they would use tricks to conceal their opposition. Perhaps that hasn’t happened and Mickey is wrong, but Kaus’ argument is pretty good, deals with specific sections and if it is wrong, should be rebutted in detail by Senators Corker and Hoeven, asap. Look at my posy below: People like me are hoping to support the bill. We want to sup[port the bill. But we can read, and we won’t pretend to have gotten what we have always said we needed out of the negotiations.
If Mickey is right and the big con carries the day next week, the House should kill the bill simply because of the fraud it tried to put over on voters. This is really about much, much more than immigration reform at this point, but about the nature of representative government. Obamacare is a giant tissue cloth of lies and ambiguity, exceptions to rules and bureaucratic excess. So is Dodd-Frank. The IRS scandal is all about ambiguous law and regulations being used by elites to torment ordinary citizens. Now immigration reform is turning into another exercise of Beltway arrogance.
Well, ordinary citizens want a fence. D.C. appears to be working overtime to pretend to give them one while not doing so. That is much worse than just saying “No, your senators don’t believe in a fence and we aren’t building one.” Representatives can and do disagree with the people they represent, but they ought to do so honestly. If Mickey is right, the deception is deep.
All the folks involved read this blog. I hope they respond and quickly. I’ll be glad to post whatever their explanation is if one is forthcoming. Mickey’s a smart guy, but he won’t distort a good response. he is the best sort of critic to have, one who will admit to good arguments and explanations. Engage him. Or give up winning the fence people.