By The Nashville Tennessean
Encouraging news on immigration reform emanated last week from the U.S. Senate – the place where, of late, bills have gone to die despite overwhelming public support.
This time could be different, as senators seem to have learned from the way the gun background checks bill failed. Supporters of the immigration reform bill are not merely content to be on the right side of history. They are crafting an offer that only the most obstinate senators can refuse, and sending the House a wake-up call, as well.
Before Friday, the Senate bill already was strongly bipartisan, thanks to the work of Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake and Democrats Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Bob Menendez and Michael Bennet.
These men drew up a plan to satisfy rational and fair-minded Americans who know that our current laws are no longer acceptable.
The Gang of Eight also addressed border security, with goals of 100 percent surveillance of the border with Mexico and a new entry-exit system for U.S. seaports and airports. Then came the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimate that the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $197 billion over the first 10 years and an additional $700 billion over the next 10.
Enter the “plus two”: Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota.
Their amendment introduced on Friday: Add 20,000 new Border Patrol agents, doubling the deployment; complete 700 miles of border fencing; add surveillance drones and numerous other high-tech monitoring devices at the southern border. Finally, no one can get a green card until all of these measures are implemented.
This is Washington sausage-making at its best; it’s not pretty, but it brings an end to the legal limbo that is thwarting prosperity for all Americans.