Senate votes for fence on southern U.S. border
Body votes for 370 miles of fencing, clashes over citizenship for immigrants
Updated: 3:23 p.m. ET May 17, 2006
WASHINGTON - The Senate voted to build 370 miles of triple-layered fencing along the Mexican border Wednesday and clashed over citizenship for millions of men and women who live in the United States illegally.
Amid increasingly emotional debate over election-year immigration legislation, senators voted 83-16 to add fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers along the southern border. It marked the first significant victory in two days for conservatives seeking to place their stamp on the contentious measure.
The prospects were less favorable for their attempt to strip out portions of the legislation that could allow citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and create new guest worker programs.
The Senate acted in a volatile political environment, as the White House struggled for a second day to ease the concerns of House Republicans who contend that President Bush favors amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Thousands of demonstrators massed a few blocks from the Capitol demanding immigrant rights.
‘Good fences make good neighbors’
Construction of the barrier would send “a signal that open-border days are over. ... Good fences make good neighbors, fences don’t make bad neighbors,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. He said border areas where barriers already exist have experienced economic improvement and reduced crime.
“What we have here has become a symbol for the right wing in American politics,” countered Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. He said if the proposal passed, “our relationship with Mexico would come down to a barrier between our two countries.”
The Senate labored to complete work by next week on immigration legislation that generally follows an outline Bush set out in a nationally televised speech this week.
The measure includes provisions to strengthen border security, create a new guest worker program and crack down on the hiring of illegal immigrants.
Most controversially, it offers an eventual chance at citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country. Senate Republicans staged an impromptu, occasionally emotional debate over whether that amounted to amnesty.
Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said it did. “Surely this is a pardon from what present law says must happen,” he said of provisions in the bill that require immigrants to undergo background checks, pay back taxes and take other steps before they can become citizens.
Thats pathetic. I tell you this. You can say whatever you want about the mexican people but the fact remains. Youd be hard pressed to find a more hard working individual than a latino. They work so hard and are a good honest people. They ARE the backbone of this nation's industry. So obviously i guess what we need to do is make them feel welcome by harassing them, discriminating against them, give them THE WORST wages in the nation, and of course CLOSE THE BORDER. Yes, thats seems to be the best way to be fair and equal to them.
Why? i dont understand it. Youd think america would cherish such a group of people. Instead they shoot them when they try and come here. Its sad, it really is. Way to go Bush youve fucked us over yet again...
-De La O
No I won't stop because I know the power of a question.