President Bush had an hour-long friendly meeting with Republican senators that touched on his recent trip, Iran, and the energy bill, in addition to the floundering immigration legislation. He reiterated his conviction that a “comprehensive” bill is necessary because no amount of border security will keep out people seeking work, so they must have a legal way to hold jobs and care for their families. He allowed that the bill wasn’t perfect, but sees it as far better than the status quo. A number of senators who support the bill explained that their constituents don’t trust Washington to enforce immigration laws. Senator Chambliss made the case for an emergency-supplemental bill to fund enforcement measures which would serve as evidence of the federal government’s commitment to stopping the flow of illegal aliens. The president expressed his openness to the suggestion.
The idea for such an immigration-enforcement funding bill is catching on. The immigration bill’s most enthusiastic supporters will want it to move on a parallel track with their grand compromise as a testament to their good intentions on enforcement promises, while the bill’s opponents would support the neccesary additional funding while they wait to see border security and secure I.D.s realized. So, the next round: Will an emergency supplemental spending bill be used to grease the skids for the grand compromise OR to stall on any consideration of amnesty?