In this June 13, 2013 picture, U.S. Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin looks to the north near where the border wall ends as is separates Tijuana, Mexico, left, and San Diego, right. Illegal immigration into the United States would decrease by only 25 percent under a far-reaching Senate immigration bill, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that also finds the measure reduces federal deficits by billions. • AP Photo/Gregory Bull
Last Monday, the 1,200-page immigration reform bill got a little larger.
The Senate added a 119-page amendment to alleviate concerns within the Senate that border security is taking a back seat to the main thrust of S. 744 - fast-track amnesty for the nation's 11.5 million undocumented residents. And so, with the amendment approved, the Senate passed S. 744 Thursday, throwing the issue of illegal immigration to the House of Representatives.
A fundamental flaw in the recently passed Senate amendment is that its much-touted border tightening is at the sole discretion of the secretary of Homeland Security. One example pertains to the "Southern Border Fencing Strategy" that states: "Nothing in this subsection shall require the Secretary [of the Department of Homeland Security] to install fencing or infrastructure ... in particular locations along the Southern border, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the appropriate means to achieve and maintain effective control over the Southern border at such location."
Last February, in sworn testimony before Congress, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "I often hear the argument that before [immigration] reform can move forward, we must first secure our borders. But too often, the 'border security first' refrain simply serves as an excuse for failing to address the underlying problems. It also ignores the significant progress and efforts that we have undertaken over the past four years. Our borders have, in fact, never been stronger."
With Secretary Napolitano saying that border security has "never been stronger" and that Congress should get busy implementing amnesty posthaste, is it unreasonable for us to assume that her future reports to Congress on the success of added border security will be anything but rosy?
S. 744, in effect, gives a federal appointee control to flash the green light for amnesty and not the Congress, which is answerable to the people who elect them.
Leah Durant is founder of the Black American Leadership Alliance, which is co-sponsoring "March For Jobs" in Washington, D.C., on July 15: www.dcmarchforjobs.com. She also serves as executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform. Previously, Leah served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, where she argued civil immigration cases on behalf of the federal government.
Leah Durant's professional experience spans several years of involvement with immigration policy matters. She has published commentary on a wide range of legal topics and is often sought after as a commentator and speaker by outlets such as CNN, Fox News, The Blaze TV, MSNBC and others. Leah received a B.A. degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.
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