Border Security Skepticism Remains as Senate Rejects Border Fence

By:  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
Border Security Skepticism Remains as Senate Rejects Border Fence

Senatorial votes on amendments to the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill and Republican rhetoric continue to convince conservatives that the bill is just amnesty by another name and that it will not slow illegal immigration.

There are more than a few good reasons why “the comprehensive immigration reform” plan advocated by the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” has caused a whirlwind of controversy. To these we can now add one more.

On Tuesday, June 18, by a 54-39 vote, the Senate decided that it would not construct the 700-mile border fence that Congress authorized back in 2006. 

In so doing, it succeeded in further vindicating the concerns of the millions of Americans who remain convinced that so-called “comprehensive immigration reform” is just amnesty by another name. 

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a high-profile member of the Gang of Eight, has insisted that there will be no “pathway to citizenship” for the more than 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in America unless and until America’s southern border is secured. He has even gone so far as to try to persuade the rank and file of his own party that his plan is “conservative.” However, at the same time, Rubio told Hispanic audiences that the legalization of illegal immigrants would not be contingent upon the border’s being secured.

Rubio has since tried to prove that he didn’t contradict himself, but for many, particularly those within his own party, this latest decision on the part of the Senate puts his credibility here into question.

Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota proposed the border fence amendment. Thune’s amendment stipulated two conditions that 54 of his colleagues, and five members of his own party, including Marco Rubio and John McCain, found intolerable. The first called for the erection of a minimum of 350 miles of double-tier fencing before one illegal immigrant could receive legal status. The second demanded that 700 miles of such fencing would need to be built before any illegal immigrants could receive full citizenship.

Rubio justified his decision to reject Thune’s amendment on the grounds that it lacked specificity. He said that while he supports a border fence, Thune’s proposal doesn’t provide “a specific border plan.” Rubio added that his own immigration bill already contains “significant” border security measures. From this point onward, he says that he plans to work with his fellow Republicans on ways by which to improve upon them.

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