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Immigration Reform

28 June 2007

Why the Senate Immigration Bill Failed — The Politics of the Immigration Issue Have Changed Forever, says FAIR

The Age of “Inside the Beltway” Exclusivity in Immigration Policy Is Gone

Washington DC — Today, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on a key vote that effectively kills the immigration bill for this Congress, says the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The cloture vote was the second this week and it sought to set a time limit on debate prior to a vote on final passage. The vote 46-53 was in opposition to cloture. This was an historic defeat for those who favor the status quo coupled with ineffective law enforcement, and represents a dramatic change in the politics of the national immigration issue forever. Public opposition was so great that the Senate phone system was entirely shut down, according to the Sergeant-at-Arms today. 

Why did this bill fail? “National immigration politics have changed forever”, says FAIR’s National President Dan Stein, “and the American people are engaged.” “The integrated lobbying strategy involving talk radio hosts across the nation, e-mail, phone calls, internet and local grassroots activism have all combined to enlighten the average American in ways unimaginable as recently as 1996,” says Stein, “and people know intimate details about pending legislation and are acting on that information — by the millions. They know it was weak, impractical and unfair in the extreme. It is the American people who will now lead this debate with enlightened immigration politics that serve the interests of future generations of Americans, not the usual battery of self serving interests.”

Failure to establish a credible enforcement strategy. The American people are no longer fooled by the same tricks and meddling tactics that have been used by professional politicians since 1980 — self defeating border enforcement strategies and a set of laws virtually unenforced in the interior, while states continue to provide taxpayer benefits to illegal aliens, no questions asked. The 1986 legislation failed because the same special interests that dominated the development of this legislation have worked to thwart enforcement for 20 years.

Failure to create true deterrence for employers and the major financial interests that have promoted abuses for years. For reasons known only to influential lawmakers like Senator Kennedy, under his leadership and those like him,
Statue of Liberty
"It is time for action. 2007 is the year we must fix our broken system."


the Congress has repeatedly blinked in the face of pressures from the Chamber of Commerce to give major employers a free pass, decade after decade. These employers are the major magnet attracting illegal aliens here.

Failure to consult organizations representing American citizens on the immigration issue. The “Gang of Twelve” that crafted the so-called Senate compromise failed to include as stakeholders organizations representing average Americans. Self-appointed ethnic lobbies and organizations that have demanded subsidized foreign labor dominated the initial process of assembling this legislation.

Linking the reassertion of credibility in the immigration control system to a mass amnesty, insultingly dated January 1, 2007. The idea that a massive guest worker and administratively complex amnesty program is somehow essential to reasserting credibility in the immigration control apparatus was an insult to the American people. The Bush administration has missed virtually every deadline set by Congress for the assertion of immigration controls since September 11, 2001. The President has lost credibility because he has repeatedly promised enforcement for political reasons and then retrenched the moment the cameras left the room. This President — whose repeated pronouncements since 2000 have encouraged the greatest tidal wave of illegal immigration in American history — is not the person to convince the American people that we need a mass amnesty or that a mass amnesty will generate effective enforcement.

Failing to educate the American people about the needs for reform that cuts back immigration and renders the system enforceable. The Senate failed to address the recommendations that have been made repeatedly about how to limit immigration and rendered enforceable — going back as 1980. The arguments in favor of a merit system were not properly framed by the proponents, including the need to develop an enforceable immigration selection system under an annual, reviewable and enforceable cap. The arguments against chain migration — as driving incessant annual increases in unskilled immigration, generating unmanageable backlogs and thwarting the general public’s ability to decide who and how many come each year — were never fully developed.
“The American people have raised their voices collectively in outrage over this blatant assault on core values and rule of law — the values that tie this diverse society together as a nation,” Stein concluded.


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