2006 September 29 Friday
US Senate Passes Border Fence Bill 80-19

The American people just won an important battle for better border enforcement. I have been watching the live C-SPAN broadcast of the US Senate vote on the 700 mile 2 layer border fence bill (HR 6061 Secure Fence Act) that the US House of Representatives already passed with an overwhelming 283-138. Debbie Stabanow voted for it. Byron Dorgan (D ND) was among the Democrats who voted for it. Some other Ayes: Shelby, Graham, McCain, Baucus, Wyden, Murkowski, Nelson of Nebraska, Roberts, Elizabeth Dole, Lott, Hatch, Mary Landrieu (D LA), Rockefeller (D WV), Richard Lugar, Mary Hutchison, Tom Harkin, Santorum (R PA), Specter (R PA), Sam Brownback, Dianne Feinstein (D CA). Warner, Voinovich, Chuck Hagel, Byrd (D WV), Lincoln, Martinez, Barack Obama, Biden, Olympia Snowe, Hillary Clinton (D NY), Chuck Schumer (D NY), George Allen (R VA), Cole, Bill Frist, and Thad Cochran. Not surprisingly Lieberman voted no. Other nos: Kerry, Sarbannes, Chafee, Levin, Lautenberg, Akaka. I tuned in late and missed some names.

Lots of those 80 Ayes voted earlier this year for the massive amnesty and temporary worker program, the Senate bill CIRA S.2611. That bill passed the Senate by 62-36. Senator Jeff Sessions (R AL) revealed many of the flaws of that bill. House members heard such overwhelming demands from their constituents for tougher immigration and border policies that the House leadership refused to consider reconciling the House strong immigration law enforcement bill HR 4437 bill with the Senate amnesty. HR 6061 appears to be a subset of HR 4437 but a very valuable subset. We bypassed the vast bulk of the Open Borders Senate bill and got a strong enforcement bill instead.

Bush has indicated he will sign this border fence and immigration law enforcement bill. So it looks like we are going to get a border barrier for over a third of the 1951 mile US border with Mexico.

We still need another 1200 miles of barriers and more equipment for catching illegal crossers. We also need more interior enforcement of immigration laws. But we are headed in the right direction.

A note to my regular pessimistic commenters on immigration (and you know who you are): Our cause is far from lost. 80-19 is an amazing vote in the US Senate. Popular anger works. It just has to build really high before it breaks through the influence of the treasonous special interests.

Update: The Department of Homeland Security is getting more money for internal immigration law enforcement and to hold "Other Than Mexican" (OTM) illegal border crossers who usually are let go due to lack of facilities to hold them for deportation.

The $33.7-billion spending bill also significantly boosts funding for border security and enforcement of immigration laws at work sites and elsewhere.

The bill will enable the Department of Homeland Security to hire an additional 1,500 border patrol agents and buy 6,700 more beds at detention centers for illegal immigrants. In the past, the lack of enough beds at these facilities has caused authorities to release some of the illegal immigrants they apprehended.

The bill also provides $1.2 billion to pay for border fencing, vehicle barriers and improved sensor equipment at border crossings.

It is surprising to find out what is not yet illegal. The spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security criminalizes tunnels for illegal border crossings.

The broad spending bill also criminalizes the construction of tunnels that could be secret passageways from Mexico or Canada for drug smugglers, illegal aliens or terrorists.

The border barrier will be stronger in some areas.

The fence will be a reinforced physical barrier in some areas, while other areas will be secured solely by powerful lighting, sensors, and cameras. When completed, the border fence would include a 20-mile patch around Tecate, Calif., segments of the Mexico-California border, nearly all of Arizona's southern border, the area between Columbus, N.M ., and El Paso, and two other stretches of southern Texas.

The Israelis do something similar. They build high concrete walls along some border sections of the West Bank. The concrete walls prevent snipers from shooting into more populated areas.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 September 29 07:20 PM  Immigration Border Barrier

crush41 said at September 29, 2006 8:22 PM:

This is a victory you played a real part in.

That Sam Brownback (who I've pestered relentlessly), open-borders extraordinaire, voted aye is illustrative of how strong public support for a barrier is.

Wolf-Dog said at September 29, 2006 10:40 PM:

If this high-tech fence is built quickly, then the result will be the collapse of the Mexican economy because of the following two reasons:

1) I have read that according to the 1997 figures, the annual income of the Mexican drug cartels, was $30 billion. Adjusting for the increase in the illegal drug trade and for inflation, it is safe to assume that the current annual income of the Mexican drug gangs, is at least $60 billion. But according to the 2005 figures, the GDP of Mexico was $717 billion, meaning that not only just under 10 % of the Mexican economy depends on the illegal drug trade with the United States, but additionally, this money is even more "healing" for Mexico's economy because it is coming as a fresh annual infusion of cash from abroad as an export income. Thus if this fence is successfully built and if it becomes impenetrable, then the Mexican drug trade will be impeded significantly, in such a way that there will be a reduction of 10 % in the Mexican GDP. And since this annual export income was high quality money (as it is not financed by internal government borrowing and it is a fresh infusion of cash from abroad), the negative effect will be even more deleterious for the Mexican economy, for it will "feel" as if it were a 15 % or even 20 % reduction in their GDP. Note that since the Mexican taxation system is so inefficient, this foreign "export income" is an almost irreplacable source of income for the subsistance of the average Mexican citizen.

2) Secondly, if the influx of unemployed and poor Mexican citizens into the United States stops, then Mexico will be forced to support millions of more welfare recipients, and the system will implode both politically and economically.

The combination of 1) and 2) above, will almost cause Mexico to become as chaotic as Iraq. The same ripple effect will also probably propagate into most of South America. If this happens, then there will be very serious negative consequences for the United States, both political and military, for this means that South America would then become incredibly anti-USA, and then therefore Mexico and many South American countries might join the enemies of the US, by providing bases against the US.

John S Bolton said at September 29, 2006 10:57 PM:

That drug money passes through, but doesn't really stay in Mexico. If it made any difference whether they were flush or not, in comparison to ease of entry and improbability of deportation once far inside the border, the oil bonanza of the last few years would have cut back emigration from Mexico, but there is no indication of that having happened to an great extent.
I sent lots of faxes through NumbersUSA, and my NY senators voted very much against their grain; so I think constituent pressure when it reaches the high volume which has been achieved this year, can even be felt by such as these.
Whenever I get a new fax to send, I spend the time to personalize it, so it doesn't look as much like mindless button-pushing.

D Flinchum said at September 30, 2006 5:37 AM:

One of the most amazing things about this vote IMO is that Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) did NOT vote. As we all know, there has been no bigger immigration booster than Kennedy from the disastrous 1965 immigration bill, through the 1986 amnesty and the "adjustments" that followed it, right on down to S 2611. He's up for re-election this year and, as in most of his elections, has scant chance of losing. My guess is that his office has been hit by the border security forces with calls, faxes, and letters the same as all other Congressional offices. While he couldn't bring himself to vote for the wall, he didn't want to have to explain to his security-minded constituents why he was one of a handful to vote against it.

cygnet said at September 30, 2006 8:23 AM:

Treasonous Special Interests! Maybewe could coin a new acronym and just say "TSI". Unless someone can think of a better three-letter word for the same thing.

cygnet said at September 30, 2006 8:24 AM:

(Four letters for the plural.)

ronb said at May 28, 2011 10:16 PM:

leticia olalia morales of 15501 pasadena ave #8 tustin ca 92780 submitted fake document and paid 5000 dollars to btain a US tourist visa. she also submitted fake employment records to obtain a work visa. she is now applying or citizenship.

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