...Borne Back Ceaselessly Into the Past
Some think this will push a decision past the November elections. That means that legislators can run on a tough immigration-enforcement platform -- or a path-to-legislation platform -- to get votes without having proven anything by an actual decision.
The question arises as to why Congress didn't hold public hearings before they drafted their bills and why they have not held -- nor plan to hold -- any substantive informational hearings on immigration. Consider this progression: Congress drafts bills. Congress then asks the public what it feels about immigration. No one gathers or substantially considers data and factual evidence.
Seems a bit backwards. How about this alternative: Gather information. Share it with the public. Ask what the public thinks after considering the information. Then draft legislation.
Pro-enforcement Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) and pro-comprehensive-reform Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) both see these hearings as the death knell of any immigration bill -- at least until after November, according to the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who has apparently known about the plan for several weeks, denies the hearings are an attempt to kill the immigration bill.
But, considering the push behind the plan for hearings comes from the same legislators who drafted a draconian enforcement-only bill (H.R. 4437), the move does seem to serve as an attempt to disrupt passage on the Senate's bill, S. 2611, which includes a path to legalization, and to maneuver the debate to profit those representatives up for re-election in November.
The guise of polling the people directly seems admirable; but, if Congress truly respected the intelligence and desires of the people of this country, they would first present them with ample information on the subject rather than spoon-feeding them self-serving rhetoric.