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Policy: Law

The border bill House Republicans should have passed

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Opinion,Hugh Hewitt,Columnists,Immigration,Border Security,House Republicans,Law

Another week, another 50-car pileup on the GOP fog-enveloped highway known as the House Republican Caucus.

This time it was the border. Last time it was a cut to earned benefits by active duty military. The time before that spending. The time before that ... well, who cares. Point is, this isn't a surprise.

To call the House GOP the Keystone Cops is to insult the professionalism of the latter.

Let me stipulate: They are all good men and women trying hard to do something both good and clever. But their collective "doing" is both clumsy and dim-witted. They refuse to learn the first rule: Clarity in purpose. Or the second rule: Specificity in language.

The bill that ought to be passed by the House should have two sections. Each should be capable of being read and understood by a high school student of average intelligence. The Framers wrote a Constitution that farmers read and debated. The legislators of 2014 are dealing with a much simpler problem of one border for one year. There is no excuse for this absurdity of drafting or the secrecy of approach. Trust the people who put you there and out a draft.

Section One of the best law would authorize, fund and require monthly reporting on the construction of at least 1,000 miles of a high, double-sided fence along the U.S.-Mexican border with a road passing between the sides. It does not matter where the new fencing is begun, but the pictures of the beginning along with the news of the bill will travel quickly around the world. The message will be sent that the border is not, in fact. open. When 1,000 miles of said fence are finished the message will be permanent: "Enter through the legal gates or not at all."

Section Two would be an appropriation of $100 million for humanitarian relief for unaccompanied minors and the families that take them in, for facilities at Camp Pendleton and elsewhere to house and medically treat as well as evaluate the minors — for gang affiliations or pure desperation of their circumstances. The tens of thousands range on a spectrum from heartbreaking to ruthless. They must be sorted and succored as circumstances require. I have written elsewhere of how America has done this before and can do it again. Why the House does not do the obvious is simply beyond understanding.

When November rolls around and the GOP triumphs in the off-year election, the new caucus will have to ask itself: Will we be led for the good of the country, and if so, who had the wisdom to do so? Nominations for leadership should come from the floor.

And, Congressfolk, if you are willing to go to Washington to serve, be prepared for a political battlefield promotion. Yes, I am looking at you Mr. Chairman.

Hugh Hewitt is a nationally syndicated talk radio host, law professor at Chapman University's Fowler School of Law, and author, most recently of The Happiest Life. He posts daily at HughHewitt.com and is on Twitter @hughhewitt.
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