The Senate votes against tougher touch-back rules

By The News Jun 27, 2007

Glory. The Senate today killed an amendment to the immigration bill that would have toughened the bill’s provision that has immigrants return home to apply for legal status, the New York Times reported today:

The Senate voted 53 to 45 this afternoon to kill a measure that would require illegal immigrants to return to their home countries before they could obtain even temporary legal status. The vote came as the Senate began to consider a score of amendments to a bill that would bring about the biggest overhaul in immigration policy in more than 20 years. The amendment that was defeated was sponsored by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, and would have required adult illegal immigrants to leave the United States within two years if they wanted to apply for legal status in the form of “Z visas.” The vote does not mean that the “touchback requirement” is eliminated altogether. The overall bill already embodies such a requirement, and another amendment would make the bill stricter in that regard — although not as strict as the Hutchison amendment would have. Many Democrats and Hispanic groups had complained that the Hutchison proposal would have been unworkable. Eight Republicans voted to kill the amendment offered by their Texas colleague, while five Democrats voted against tabling it. Shortly afterward, the Senate voted by 79 to 18 to kill a proposal by Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, that only those immigrants who have been in the country at least four years be eligible for eventual legal status. Mr. Webb had said his amendment would help uphold “the rule of law.” As expected, the debate was emotional. “Change is not easy,” said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts and an architect of the bill. “There is much to criticize in this bill.” But Congress must act rather than cede immigration policy to the cities and states, he said.

While this indicates the Senate may not approve extremely conservative amendments to the bill, Senators are sadly still working within the inadequate structure of the bill that is trying to create a modern slave economy and a standing army at the U.S.-Mexico border.