Commentary | Immigration reform took a step forward, of sorts, Monday evening as the push to include major provisions regarding border defense got approved in a Senate vote.
As the New York Times reports, in a 67 to 27 vote, the Senate made the first formal step on immigration reform after months of debate, and it has nothing to do with citizenship.
Instead, in these times of high national debt, Republicans, many of whom have been called “deficit hawks” because of their firm stance against increasing any taxes or instituting new spending practices (in talk), want to dedicate $40 billion dollars to “protecting” the US-Mexico border.
The massive expenditures will involve doubling border agents to 40,000 and finishing 700 miles of border fencing.
$3.2 billion will be allocated specifically to a new high-tech surveillance system that includes airborne drones and an advanced thermal imaging camera network.
The new Senate vote Monday requires these things go into place before any actual citizenship reform can occur, to help legalize the 11 million undocumented people living in the US today.
Not only are such measures ultimately meaningless, short of an extreme, Berlin Wall-type situation (which some staunchly conservative Senate Republicans would no doubt support), but they’re expensively meaningless.
Not only do Mexicans possess ladder and wire clipper technology, but for decades authorities have seen that when one illegal entry is blocked up, another one is made.
To date there is no conclusive proof that more walls and border security actually slow entry into the US.
It is an expensive program meant to inject money into private security corporations, an industry booming over the last decade as the US military, law enforcement, and corrections systems have become massively privatized.
For a group in Congress that calls themselves “deficit hawks,” who have fought things like the Affordable Care Act tooth and nail on such principles, it is a curious about face to willingly devote $40 billion of taxpayer dollars toward a demonstrably ineffective program and call it immigration reform.
No, Republicans in Congress are not against jobs programs and government intervention into the private sector — until it comes to the military and private security contractors.
As representatives whose main focus is on keeping their jobs by pleasing their constituents, this new provision, dubbed the Corker-Hoeven plan, blatantly targets a specific group of people: Lower-class Latino immigrants.
Recent US Census Bureau data shows the selectivity of US immigration laws. The headline finding of the report dealt with the fact that in 2012, for the first time since census data collection began, white American deaths exceeded white births.
However, there is not expected to be a net white population decline for at least a few more years.
Perhaps ironic, the only reason the white population is still on an increase in the US is due to white immigrants, mostly affluent Canadians or northern Europeans. What are the differences here?
For all Americans who aren’t Native American or First Nation, their parents or their parents’ parents (and so on) were only able to come to this nation because of open and welcoming immigration laws that did not demand a credit check before entry.
Right now an estimated 11 million people living, working, and yes, paying taxes, in the United States are barred from citizenship because of bureaucratic red tape and selectively restrictive laws.
Right now a number of social programs in this country are struggling, from our public education system to our collapsing infrastructure, that could benefit greatly from an infusion of federal money.
Instead, let’s focus on building a wall to nowhere. No wonder Congress approval ratings have dipped to six percent as they continue to think immigration reform means wasting tax payer dollars on ineffective border security.
[Image via ShutterStock]