Friday, June 29, 2007

Cloture Fails -- Immigration Bill Really Dead

Cloture has failed and the immigration bill now is really and truly dead. And so goes George Bush's last gasp for a legacy.

I have supported the bill. Generally I thought it gave both sides what they wanted -- a fence, enforcement, amnesty and a guest worker program. But Bush had no political capital remaining, and no one trusted the other side. And bill supporters were too quick to play the race card and not too willing to open up the process. So it failed. So what is next?

Comprehensive immigration reform is dead for now. A Democratic president will be pushing health care while a Republican will not want to go near the issue again. The next president may be able to adopt some half measures. I think we will see an increase in the number of legal immigrants permitted, and the visa process could be stream lined a bit. Instapundit, though, has a set of suggestions for the next time:

(1) Make the process open, transparent, and timely, with hearings, drafts on the
Internet, and no last-minute bills that no one has read;

(2) Earn people's trust, don't demand it, and treat enforcement like it matters;

(3) Respect people who follow the law, and make legal immigration easier, cheaper, and simpler, rather than the Kafkaesque nightmare it is now;

(4) Don't feel you have to be "comprehensive" -- address the problems you can deal with first. The trust needed to deal with other problems will come later, after you've shown some success and some good faith.

All good thoughts.

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