June 27, 2013

Border to Death

From the New York Times: Senate Passes Immigration Overhaul
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved the most significant overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws in a generation with broad support generated by a sense among leading Republicans that the party needed to join with Democrats to remove a wedge between Republicans and Hispanic voters.
As some of you may know, when I'm not being a fabulously unprolific blogger slash aspiring novelist, I'm a paralegal and technical writer at an immigration law firm. I've also been working on my next book, a collection of linked short stories inspired by my work there. So I've been following the news about U.S. immigration reform with more than a passing interest.

And although some of the provisions in this new bill kind of throw a wrench in a few of the stories I've been working on, I'm not quite such a self-centered author that I can't appreciate that HEY!, this is a pretty good result.

On the other hand, there's also this albatross for the taxpayer:
The bill’s largest, and perhaps most critical, change came in a package that promised to substantially bolster security along the nation’s southern border. The proposal... would devote about $40 billion over the next decade to border enforcement measures, including adding 20,000 Border Patrol agents and 700 miles of fencing along the southern border.
I mean, Jesus. We need an extra 20,000 CBP agents in this country like we need a 12-year-old boy running the Pentagon (or, come to that, like we need a 700-mile fence). What kind of alarmist, right-wing, bordering-Mexico idiot senator came up with this stupid amendment, anyway?
The proposal, by [Senator] Bob Corker of Tennessee...
Oh, good, yes. We need a realistic proposal for the Mexican border—let's ask someone who lives nine hundred miles away and shares an international border with precisely no one. I'm sure he'll have some great insight.

Does at least one of the amendment's sponsors live on the border?
...and [Senator] John Hoeven of North Dakota.
WITH MEXICO. DOES ONE OF THEM LIVE ON THE BORDER WITH MEXICO.

I mean, yeah, okay, if I lived next to Saskatchewan and Manitoba I guess I would be worried about people escaping over my border, too. But I don't see anybody asking to build a freakin' fence to protect Bismarck from roving bands of Mennonites, you know?

On the bright side, this whole immigration bill process has finally clarified for me the Republican political strategy on... well, pretty much everything:
“No matter how many miles of fence we build and how many agents we station on the border, I truly believe people will come to this country illegally as long as they believe America offers a better life and a better job,” [Republican Senator Rob] Portman said on the Senate floor.
He then warmly spread his arms, adding: "So let's make sure the whole world knows that the life America offers is just as fucked up as wherever they're coming from."

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