CNN released a poll today showing that, by a 62 percent to 36 percent margin, Americans believe “the main focus of the U.S. government in dealing with immigration policy” should be “increasing border security to reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants coming into this country,” and not “creating a path to citizenship for many immigrants who are in this country without permission from the U.S. government.”
Despite these numbers, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is set to vote against two amendments today, authored by his Republicans colleagues, that would strengthen the border security provisions in the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill.
One amendment, authored by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., would require construction of at least 350 miles of a border fence before any illegal immigrants could be given legal status. Another 350 miles would then have to be completed before legalized aliens could become citizens. The 2006 Secure Fence Act already mandates a 700 border fence, but only 36 miles of it have been completed. By tying fence construction to legalization, Thune hopes to better incentivize actual fence construction.
Another amendment, authored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., would require implementation of a biometric entry and exit system at all ports of entry into the United States before any illegal immigrants could be legalized. The 9/11 Commission made this exact recommendation and Congress mandated such a system be implemented in 2004, but so far the Department of Homeland Security has failed to act. Over 40 percent of illegal immigrants currently in the United States first came to the country legally, but have since illegally overstayed their visa.
We need illegal immigrants to stop illegal immigration
Rubio is expected to vote with Democrats against both of these border security amendments today since they both condition illegal immigrant legalization on completion of border security measures. Rubio used to favor such an approach, but he has since claimed American taxpayers can’t afford to pay for border security by themselves. Instead, according to Rubio, the United States can only afford to protect our borders by first letting in millions of illegal immigrants and then charging them fines to become legal. The veracity of that claim will be tested today when the Congressional Budget Office releases its score of the Schumer-Rubio bill.
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