The Corner

Schumer-Rubio Bill: Expect Fake Toughening

The Senate Judiciary Committee will start marking up the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill on Thursday, voting on some 300 amendments that have been submitted. Senator Rubio realizes that the bill is on the ropes and has said it will need stronger security provisions. This is correct as a political matter — i.e., the appearance of tigher border controls will be necessary to dupe enough Republicans into voting for this thing. But the “new” requirements are likely to be as phony as the ones there now.

Exhibit A: Rubio’s press secretary tweeted this AP story, which notes that “Rubio is likely to advocate for some amendments making changes to the border measures, including requiring double-fencing along certain sections of the Mexican border.” Hey, double-fencing, that’s a great idea. In fact, it’s such a great idea that Congress mandated it seven years ago. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 requires that “In carrying out subsection (a), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing” and then goes on to spell out more than 600 miles’ worth of border where that double fencing is to be placed. But of the nearly 2,000-mile-long border with Mexico, only about 30-something miles has double fencing.

In other words, the point of any requirement to build double-layer fences that might be added to the Schumer-Rubio bill is to make it appear tougher, with no real expectation that the Obama administration will implement it any more than it is implementing the existing requirement. This is the same with the entry-exit tracking system the bill mandates, which is actually weaker than what Congress required to be built 17 years ago.

The authors of the Schumer-Rubio bill figure conservatives will be placated with a few more tough-sounding empty promises, reminiscent of the apochyphal children’s radio host who, when he thought the mic was off, said, “There, that ought to hold the little bastards.” We’ll see whether enough of us fall for this trick.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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