The Senate comes across in this news item like the PushMe-PullYou in the old Dr. Doolittle movie. The PushMe-PullYou was a horse-like animal whose rear half was just like its front half. Thus, if both halves were trying to move forward at the same time they cancelled each other out:
The Senate agreed to give millions of illegal immigrants a shot at U.S. citizenship and backed construction of 370 miles of triple-layered fencing along the Mexican border Wednesday, but prospects for legislation clearing Congress were clouded by a withering attack against President Bush by a prominent House Republican.
The vote to build what supporters called a "real fence" _ as distinct from the virtual fence already incorporated in the legislation _ was 83-16. The fence would be built in areas "most often used by smugglers and illegal aliens," as determined by federal officials. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., estimated the cost at roughly $3.2 million per mile, more than $900 million for 300 miles.
The provision includes a call for construction of 500 miles of vehicle barriers, adding to a system currently in place. It marked the first significant victory for conservatives eager to leave their stamp on a measure that looks increasingly like it is headed toward Senate passage.
Construction would send "a signal that open-border days are over. ... Good fences make good neighbors, fences don't make bad neighbors," Sessions said. He said border areas where barriers are in place have experienced economic improvement and reduced crime.
The House legislation...would make all illegal aliens subject to prosecution as felons and [it] calls for construction of a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border - more than twice as long as the barrier the Senate backed during the day.
Like the PushMe-PullYou the Senate is moving in the right direction, though not far enough, by approving some 370 miles of fence. But they're moving in the wrong direction by putting illegal immigrants on a track toward citizenship. This is a slap at all who have gone through the process of becoming citizens the right way.
The House has a better fence proposal but, though we are not unsympathetic with the reasoning behind it, it's probably not practical to insist upon prosecuting and deporting all illegals. In our view, current illegals should be neither sought out for prosecution nor granted citizenship. Legal sanctions should instead be directed at the employers who hire illegals. As jobs dry up and citizenship is not an option the illegals will gradually diminish in number.