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"What do you mean it's still a problem? Don't you know we passed a law?"

Now that the incredibly ugly "immigration reform" bill is thankfully dead (for now -- Harry Reid might pull yet another Dr. Frankenstein play), a lot of people are asking "what next?"

First off, let me say that I am glad the bill died, and in the Senate rather than the House simply because that was faster. The bill had serious problems, the greatest of which was that almost no one knew just what was in it. The rush behind it was so great that only a handful of people had the slightest clue what it contained, and they were not exactly honest about the details.

The biggest concern I have about this bill is the same I have about almost any new law. There is a very seductive power behind the authority to legislate. It's most common among liberals, but no one is really immune. It's the concept that problems are solved by passing a law.

That's often a good step towards solving the problem, but far too often it's the only step. And the books are filled with laws that are never enforced. My favorite example is Massachusetts' 1974 Bartley-Fox law, which mandated a one-year sentence for illegally carrying a gun. I don't think I've heard of anyone being prosecuted for it in decades.

Had the bill passed, in any form, then the pressure would have been off them. They could point to the law and say that they had addressed the issue.

The main problem with these solutions is that simply passing the laws is only half the cure -- or less. The real cure comes when you actually enforce the law.

In 1965, Ted Kennedy was a sponsor of the Immigration and Nationality Act. During the debate, Kennedy (D-Chivas) declared "...our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually.... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset..."

Teddy's little "reform" worked out so well that the illegal alien population shot from under one million to around six million in 1986, when the Immigration Reform and Control Act was passed. At that time, Ted proclaimed that "(t)his amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1-1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We well never again bring forward another Amnesty Bill like this."

Let's fast-forward another 21 years. Ted Kennedy is once again trying to "fix" our immigration problem, after his last two efforts worked so swimmingly.

But enough about Kennedy. While kicking around that bloated, drunken sot is always appropriate, it's not always the most productive thing.

The real point is, we already have plenty of laws on the books. Most of what would have been addressed by the most recent bill is already covered.

I offered, on several occasions, to accept the bill under pretty much any form passed, under one condition: that it actually be enforced. Based on their past performance, I have come to the conclusion that politicians rarely have the stomach to enforce the laws they pass, as that tends to make people unhappy.

Unenforced laws are caustic things. They erode respect for not only themselves, but all laws in general. Simply passing a new law almost never makes things better, especially when the situation is already covered by other laws -- in fact, it most often means that there will just be another unenforced law on the books, while the problem goes merrily along.


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Comments (31)

JT, a desire from the cilti... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, a desire from the ciltizens of this country to have our government enforce the border laws first is what the out cry was about. Plus, I also think they insulted our intelligience by basically saying we do not know the bill, understand the bill and my favorite, we are nativists and/or bigots. That is really great when Senators say that about their constituents. We, as a nation for the most part, believe in the rule of law and we also believe we are a nation of laws. Then it just isn't right that our government has and wanted to continue to turn their backs on the illegal activity that is going on in our cities by sanctuary laws, on the border with the prosecuting of agents and employers for hiring illegals and paying them a sub wage. We all know that, but they think we don't. They are out of touch in a big way on what the citizens are thinking and feeling. As is the talking heads.
ww

Nice to see your crush on T... (Below threshold)

Nice to see your crush on Ted Kennedy hasn't diminished, Jay. I hope your dream date comes trues some day... and hes tops ignoring your advances.

But with regards to your excellent point about no one knowing everything that was in the bill, and not trusting Kennedy -- in my view what we had here was President Bush telling the Republican side of the aisle as well sas the Amerian people, that the bill was good, and they should trust him -- and NO ONE BELIEVED HIM.

This was Bush's bill, and Bush's failure. Own it.

Quack!

Gee, Lee, sounds like you'r... (Below threshold)

Gee, Lee, sounds like you're calling me a repressed homosexual... and as I recall, that falls under the proposed hate crimes law.

"Own" what? I never supported it. I put up one piece that was basically a sense of resignation over it, but I never once said a damned thing in favor of it.

Sheesh... trying to put words in my mouth, trying to put Ted Kennedy in my mouth, all those times this week you put your foot in your mouth... you never got over that oral fixation, did you?

I think there's therapy for that...

J.

Nearly everyone has noticed... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Nearly everyone has noticed by now, that, despite the Left determined to blame Bush ("it's Bush's bill, own it") for the Amnesty mess, LOOK WHO IS MOST UPSET THAT IT FAILED TO PASS:

Ted frickin' Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Harry Reid, Howard Dean...on and on and on, THE LEFT, the Left wanted this Amnesty, the Left needed this Amnesty, the Left wrote this Amnesty.

And, the reality of this Amnesty is, is that Bush isn't on the Right.

"I think there's therapy... (Below threshold)

"I think there's therapy for that..."

I trust your knowledge in that area...

This was Bush's bi... (Below threshold)
This was Bush's bill, and Bush's failure. Own it.

Then I expect the Dems to disown Harry Reid for pushing Bush's bill so much. Bush can't bring legislation to the floor of the Senate, that has to be done by the Majority Leader... which is Mr. Reid.

"Ted Kennedy is once again ... (Below threshold)

"Ted Kennedy is once again trying to "fix" our immigration problem, after his last two efforts worked so swimmingly."

Is it bad that I laughed at that?

Think of the overwhelming g... (Below threshold)
serfer62:

Think of the overwhelming good of this assine bill; as in after 9/11 the country roared. I do not think our "assumed masters" will get away with any more of the BS. I certainly hope the bill to allow Hawaii to suceed gets squashed.

Jay; please put the commentators name at the top of the entry so I don't have to read trivia from whackos and lefties...there I go, repeating myself.

This was Bush's bill, an... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

This was Bush's bill, and Bush's failure. Own it.

Hmm, which party killed it?

Hint: not the Dems.

It's YOUR party's bill as Bush is unable to propose legislation as it is.
-=Mike

Lee - Do the 20% of Republi... (Below threshold)
marc:

Lee - Do the 20% of Republicans and 23% of Independents that opposed Bush's immigration bill, (a bill wholly supported by "Kennedy, Reid, Pelosi and many other Dems that you conveniently fail to mention), mean 43% of those polled DON'T "own the bill?"

Lee - Do the 20% of Repu... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Lee - Do the 20% of Republicans and 23% of Independents that opposed Bush's immigration bill, (a bill wholly supported by "Kennedy, Reid, Pelosi and many other Dems that you conveniently fail to mention), mean 43% of those polled DON'T "own the bill?"

You don't get it marc.

As long as a Republican is alive, it's always the GOP's fault.
-=Mike

MikeSC... Come on, you know... (Below threshold)
marc:

MikeSC... Come on, you know as well as I they blame the dead ones as well.

No, Marc, all dead Republic... (Below threshold)

No, Marc, all dead Republicans vote Democratic after they die.

Polls I saw had 75% Republi... (Below threshold)
Colorado KnightOwl:

Polls I saw had 75% Republican against
68% of Independents opposed
and 56% of Dems opposed

Even Daily Kos was opposed to the Bush/Kennedy amnesty bill

Lets face it, when those two get together as in "No Child Left Behind" we all suffer.

Mike SC - Lindsey Gramnesty is also to blame.

Mike SC - Lindsey ... (Below threshold)
John in CA:
Mike SC - Lindsey Gramnesty is also to blame.

That's not bad enough, he was also carrying John McCain's water. Notice Maverick became noticeably absent during the last days of this debate. He must have seen it was going down in flames and decided he needed to distance himself from it.

Though he (McCain) did vote... (Below threshold)
Colorado KnightOwl:

Though he (McCain) did vote on Thursday for the final cloture. He was on the losing side again.

That's not bad eno... (Below threshold)
That's not bad enough, he was also carrying John McCain's water. Notice Maverick became noticeably absent during the last days of this debate. He must have seen it was going down in flames and decided he needed to distance himself from it.

What's ironic is, according to some sources I've read (and I haven't verified this with the roll call votes yet, so I could be wrong), the vote on tabling the motion that broke the back of the deal failed by one vote: McCain's. Seems his fundraising efforts were more important than "his" bill.

The <a href="http://wizbang... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The solution to illegal immigration is simple, cheap, humane, and keeps enforcement going regardless of who the President is. No wonder it's being ignored. Politicians want the issue rather than the solution.

Mike SC - Lindsey Gramne... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Mike SC - Lindsey Gramnesty is also to blame.

Don't even remind me of that atrocious Senator. Man, when he makes Strom look good NOW, several years after Strom died, you have a bad Senator.
-=Mike
...and I didn't much like Strom when he was alive.

With his comments, I suspec... (Below threshold)

With his comments, I suspect Lindsey will be a one-term Senator.

With his comments,... (Below threshold)
John in CA:
With his comments, I suspect Lindsey will be a one-term Senator.

Reading what's been written over at Wizbang Politics, and some of the anti-Graham blogs that have bloomed since this amnesty debate started, there is an outpouring of anger toward Grahamnest from South Carolinians.

However, there doesn't seem to be a primary challenger emerging. The SC Governor, Mike Sanford would be an obvious choice, except he just got reelected and seems committed to serving his term. That's principled and I can respect that. Doesn't do any good for a challenger to Lindsey.

Considering that the SC primary is the first week of February, about seven months from now, and Graham reportedly having 4-5 million dollars in his campaign chest, the odds of a viable primary challenger seems slim.

It appears to me that Grahamnesty made an astute political gamble. Likely the only option for SC GOP voters will be to wait 'til the general and vote for the democrat, or not vote. Both options are probably unpalatable to them.

John, LG is going to have t... (Below threshold)
kim:

John, LG is going to have to spend more than 4 or 5 million dallars to counter the effect of all those pictures of him guffawing along with the sinister Senator from Mass. Well the sinister acting one, not the sinister looking one. I can see it now, no sound except perhaps a maniacal laugh track at the end, but a photomontage of their moments of hilarity will just kill him in SC.
==================================

Oh, Kim, I don't disagree. ... (Below threshold)
John in CA:

Oh, Kim, I don't disagree. Unless he has a viable challenger in the primary, then it comes down to voting for a democratic or voting for the now despised Grahamnesty. Despite his low standing right now in the Palmetto State, there are still going to be people who contribute to his campaign. There were some interests in SC that he represented during this amnesty fiasco.

Kim, was just reading and r... (Below threshold)
John in CA:

Kim, was just reading and ran across some info on an emerging primary challenger to Grahamnesty. The author doesn't sound convinced it's good.

There really isn't anybody ... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

There really isn't anybody on the radar as the GOP in this state basically stop any serious competition to an incumbent.
-=Mike

Mike SC then the County par... (Below threshold)
Colorado KnightOwl:

Mike SC then the County parties must choose and support someone other than Graham. If the local chapters pull their support, the state will have to follow.

Thanks for the link, John. ... (Below threshold)
kim:

Thanks for the link, John. I suspect G's reached the peak of outrage and may lay low now or at least long enough for it to be too late to challenge him.
================

Nah, the Bill is not dead, ... (Below threshold)
Gator:

Nah, the Bill is not dead, it'll be on the floor next year, just like the illegals already are here in America.

Nah, the Bill is n... (Below threshold)
Nah, the Bill is not dead, it'll be on the floor next year, just like the illegals already are here in America.

Then we'll kill it next year as well.

At CNN: A "Day Of Mourning"... (Below threshold)
Althor:

At CNN: A "Day Of Mourning" For America?


Yesterday when I got home and turned on CNN I thought that some new unimaginable catastrophe had once again befallen our country. It seemed a day of mourning.

Anderson Cooper spoke in muted tones and with a stern visage, the mood of the commentators was somber and the interchange restrained as if funereal, and you would have sworn CNN was flying the American flag at half-mast outside their studios - were it not for the fact that deeming themselves an "International News Organization with no quaint patriotic affiliations" I doubt they fly an American flag anyway, but had they flown a flag, it would have been the Mexican flag flown at half-mast!

And what was the cause of such overt grief on the part of CNN, Anderson Cooper, and its journalists? What national woe could possibly move them to such a spirit of bereavement, when day after day they rejoice in flashing on their screens their interminable stream of images of blood, gore, and carnage in Iraq, revelling in images of our soldiers being shot by snipers or blown up by IEDs and of flag-draped coffins on pretense of "impartial journalistic coverage"? What could possibly move their elitist, secularist, hearts to such contrition? Why but that the revived "Scamnesty Immigration Bill" being hurriedly shoved down our throats against the will of the overwhelming majority of the American people, was aborted "dead on arrival".... the only "abortion" I have ever supported, and with elation!

What CNN was so direly mourning was that "El Presidente Bush Villa" and his band of "Frito Banditos" Senators were unable to take Old Glory down, and hoist the Mexican flag in its stead atop the Capitol - I can just picture the "Three Caballeros": "El Gringo Kennedy," "El Presidente Bush 'Villa'," and their sidekick "Compadre Graham" moping over this defeat over a bottle of tequila, while "El Gringo Kennedy" sings "Jalisco No Te Rajes." Ay, caramba!

Oddly enough it seems that many lawmakers became acutely aware at the very last minute of the catastrophic consequences that ignoring the explicit will of the majority of their constituents on this issue would have on their political careers and "pork-barrel earmarks," and on their infamous "Lifestyles of the Rich, Lame, and Spineless" in Washington, and were fearful for their political hides!

I say bravo! It's about time that the will of the people be heard for a change! Now that the "Scamnesty Bill" is dead, perhaps we can go back to focusing on securing our southern border (what borders?) with Mexico, enforce our existing immigration laws instead of wringing our hands in politically correct impotence and unwillingness to deal with the problem, and really get something done for a change to stop this unrelenting Mexican "cucaracha" infestation!

Perhaps now we should begin removing those signs on the expressways of San Diego showing a man and woman running with a child hanging for dear life behind from the woman's hand that are supposed to be "WARNING: WET BACK CROSSING" and replace them with one of Uncle Sam kicking in the ass the Mexican flag wielding, Ché Guevara T-shirt wearing, "Viva Mexico - Down with the Yankees" sign carrying, illegal Mexican alien, with his wife and "anchor baby" in tow, in the opposite direction, back to Mexico! It could still read "WARNING: WET BACK CROSSING" though.

I say, about time. Enough is enough!

Althor

From Hyscience:
http://www.hyscience.com/archives/2007/06/at_cnn_a_day_of.php

The Government states there... (Below threshold)
Art Unwin:

The Government states there are to many immigrant
disobeying existing laws for them to do any thing about it. In the past decade the number of people
being reported of not paying their taxes is going down because that is not news anymore and there are too many not paying taxes and less money available to do any thing about it. Would amnesty if offered by the Government change the status quo? Of course not. So why not join the illegal immigrant route and stop paying your taxes and wait for amnesty? Without conformance to laws there is no such thing as "illegal" anymore!




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