Insecurity in the House

The House brought forth yet another enforcement-only bill yesterday, according to The LA Times. Nicole Gaouette writes that the "Secure Fence Act", on which the House will vote today, calls for the construction of 700 miles of new fencing, "pushes for border agents to use greater force, and calls for more border surveillance using cameras, ground sensors and satellites." She also says the House plans to launch several similar bills in the run-up to the November elections.

The new bill sounds almost identical to H.R. 4437, which the House passed last December -- with the notable exception of the provision that would make it a felony, in many cases, to interact with an undocumented person. Both bills promote very costly enforcement measures that have been proven to fail in slowing the influx of undocumented immigrants into the USA and have served only to increase the population of those without papers, the deaths of both migrants and law enforcement officials, and tax-payer spending. The House has not attempted to negotiate on the immigration bill the Senate passed in the spring.

As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of the spearheads of this effort, said yesterday: "We are not close to … a consensus now. The best solution is to go forward with strong immigration enforcement."

We can't agree, so let's just do what I want? That makes sense.

Perhaps it does make sense when one considers the way Sessions and company have behaved on this issue: Gaouette also reports that House members claim this new bill and those to follow emerged from needs they ascertained in the field "hearings" they conducted this summer, events at which Congressmen did the majority of the talking, not the listening (and certainly not hearing). The moments they did listen they reserved only for supposed experts they knew already supported their enforcement-only views. The public was not allowed to participate, despite the fact that we funded these little excursions, which, it seems, turned out to be little more than self-interested campaign stops on the tax-payers' dime -- just as this new bill seems to be but a ploy for votes rather than a serious attempt to fix our immigration problems.

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