Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bad Law and Power Politics Halted

Filthy rich Herb Kohl manages to completely miss the point of the failure of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill to advance in the U.S. Senate today. Nobody’s Senator (in all likelihood) finds a staffer to put out a press release.

Herb Kohl: I'm disappointed that partisan divide has prevented us from completing our work on the immigration reform bill. We can all agree that the system is broken and needs to be fixed. While the bill certainly was not perfect, it strengthened our border, addressed the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already here, established serious penalties for employers who hire illegal workers, and created a guest worker program. This was our best opportunity to ensure more secure borders and effective enforcement of immigration laws. However, because some of my colleagues were dead-set on stopping any immigration reform, the Senate did not have the opportunity to take an up or down vote on this bipartisan legislation.

First of all, it is insulting to the voters of Wisconsin to cry partisanship in this important issue. This is the information age Mr. Kohl --- lies to the public will be exposed.

The Hill: Thirty-seven Republicans joined 15 Democrats and one independent in voting against ending debate, while 34 Democrats and 12 Republicans wanted to move toward final passage.

Secondly, there is every reason to believe our problems are not from a broken system, but rather from a long standing refusal at every level of government to enforce the existing laws and utilize the available resources. The reality of millions of non-citizens within our borders is primarily the willful disregard for the law by all parties. New rules and expanded bureaucracy will not correct the failures of our entire political leadership.

Now I don’t believe the majority of Americans were emotionally involved or even aware of this legislative conflict. Most people are focused on making their daily lives as good as possible. But I do believe many of the entrenched political elite have had their consciousness raised. This episode should be a warning that they tinker with the value of citizenship at their peril.

For many of us, our country is what is right with the world. American exceptionalism is something we believe, and American citizenship is much more than a certificate of participation at some self esteem conference, with a Dairy Queen two for one medium sundae coupon attached.