Friday, October 20, 2006

Don't Fence Me In

As metaphors for failure go, they don't get much bigger -- or longer -- than the 700-mile fence that Congress wants erected on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Big Fence is an outgrowth of the inability of the White House and Congress to find middle ground on a genuinely serious problem -- the flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Latin America -- through a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. It will cost at least $3.5 billion because of the wildly varying terrain it will cover, and beyond being an enormous waste of money, it will be a nightmare for wildlife, including the rare jaguar. But then they don't vote, do they?
President Bush, to his credit, has favored a more moderate approach that would include creating a guest worker program and streamlining the process for illegal aliens to become citizens called for under a Senate-approved bill, while rejecting a House-approved bill that stresses punitive measures, including jail time for illegals and even the social workers and priests who work with them.

But you don't have to do much more than scratch The Decider's surface to find a coward lurky underneath.

After leading the immigration reform debate last spring, the president was struck deaf and dumb while conservative House Republicans held a series of dog-and-pony shows over the summer in border states that were designed to whip up anti-immigration hysteria and win them votes. He has been conspicuous in his silence about the Big Fence.
This is where things get kinda curious.

Both houses have passed the Secure Fence Act, which would mandate construction of the border barrier, but the bill has not been "officially" sent to the White House. This means that the 10-day clock that begins ticking only after Congress formally prints and delivers the bill for the president to sign into law has not yet been started.

Captain Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters speculates that Bush may want to pocket veto the bill.

Other pundits believe the president will sign it with great ceremony about two weeks before the November 7 midterm election for maximum effect.

Still others, including Mickey Kaus, believe the bill signing will be in private although many a GOP candidate would like to make political hay over the fence.

Meanwhile, The Washington Times takes a look at all the options.
Whatever happens, building a 700-mile long fence not only keeps Latinos out, it keeps Americans in. It's a cliche to be sure, but fences do not make good neighbors. This one is a gigantic insult.

1 comment:

Frank Partisan said...

Interesting that the Washington Times is critical.