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June 9, 2007

Why The Senate 'Scamnesty' Bill Failed

The United States is a nation of immigrants. It is also a nation of laws. Voters want to honor both aspects of the national heritage. And, like good parents trying to instill values in their children, voters want their elected representatives to do the same. - Rasmussen Reports.
Asking why the Senate "scamnesty" bill failed is like asking why don't you like being broke; clearly the quick answer from, shall we say - 77% of Americans (I didn't make this number up - it's the percentage of Americans that do NOT support the Senate immigration bill) would be that it really sucks. And although, as Rasmussen Reports pointed out yesterday, just about everybody and their grandmother is writing to explain why the compromise immigration legislation failed, polls clearly show there is no mystery here. In the minds of most Americans, immigration means reducing illegal immigration and enforcing the border. Only 16% believed the Senate bill would accomplish that goal.
[...] Most of the write-ups discuss legislative tactics, an amendment offered by Senator Byron Dorgan (D), or some particular provision of the bill dealing with amnesty or guest workers.

The reality is much simpler and has nothing to do with legislative tactics. The immigration bill failed because a broad cross-section of the American people are opposed to it. Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters are opposed. Men are opposed. So are women. The young don't like it; neither do the no-longer-young. White Americans are opposed. Americans of color are opposed.

The last Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll found that just 23% of Americans supported the legislation. When a bill has less popular support than the War in Iraq, it deserves to be defeated.

There is no mystery to why the public opposed the bill. In the minds of most Americans, immigration means reducing illegal immigration and enforcing the border. Only 16% believed the Senate bill would accomplish that goal.

It wasn't amnesty or guest-worker programs or paths to citizenship that doomed the bill. Each of those provisions made it more difficult for some segments of the population to accept. However, most voters were willing to accept them as part of a true compromise that accomplished the primary goal of reducing illegal immigration.

The key to winning voter support was to accomplish that primary goal.

[...] Rasmussen Reports polling found that 72% of Americans believe it's Very Important to reduce illegal immigration and enforce the borders. Just 29% said it was Very Important to legalize the status of those illegally living in the country today.

After ignoring the main point that voters were hoping to address, Senators should not have been shocked at the public reaction.

As Rasmussen Reports points out in their piece, Senators missed the whole point, one that over 75% of voters understood and one would think was made loud and clear to their senators, given that some reports had it that legislators were getting 1000 emails against the immigration bill, and a dozen or so for it. Indeed, there is a real mystery here and it resides in analyzing why this bill failed.

Again, via Rasmussen Reports:

It's not unusual for political leaders to be out of touch with their constituents, but rarely this out of touch. How could something this unpopular with voters get so close to passage in a legislative body that is supposed to represent them?
In thinking about the question of how could something as unpopular with voters as the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 get so close to passage in a legislative body that is supposed to represent them, what immediately comes to mind is my post titled "Bad Immigration Think 101: For This They Were Willing To Sell Out Their Constituency?" in which I listed the reasons that John Hawkins' private source in the Senate gave for senators selling out their consistency. In my post I asked if any of these reasons worth supporting such an incredibly unpopular bill that is clearly, at least in the minds of conservatives, against the interests of the country? Here are the reasons given by John's source:
... the "Rovian School of thought," which says passing this bill would capture the Hispanic vote for the GOP for decades to come.

... heavily influenced by business groups that want cheap labor no matter what the cost is for the rest of the country.

... willing to sign onto a terrible bill just so they could say they were part of a big reform that had bipartisan support.

If you're of a similar mind as mine, you'll think that these reasons do sound like one or more of them are likely to represent the thinking of those senators that completely ignored the wishes of their constituency, and that all of the reasons listed above are damned poor excuses for screwing their voters.

One final thought on the Rasmussen piece. While I agree that voters where against the bill because they did not believe that it would reduce immigration, I disagree that amnesty, the guest-worker programs, and paths to citizenship didn't play a key roll in dooming the bill. Americans. As Rasmussen Reports wrote in the final paragraph of the above linked piece:

The United States is a nation of immigrants. It is also a nation of laws. Voters want to honor both aspects of the national heritage. And, like good parents trying to instill values in their children, voters want their elected representatives to do the same.
Enforcing our nations immigration laws is the paramount issue in the minds of most Americans. What is obvious to all of us is that our elected representatives have their own agendas, and their agendas do not include the wishes of their constituency.

Be sure to read more on The Inside Story Of How The Senate Immigration Bill Died - here ...



Posted by Richard at June 9, 2007 3:39 PM





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