Roy Blunt missed the vote on the immigration bill that passed the senate on a 69-29 vote. I guess that means nobody can hold that vote against him – unless like Michael Tomasky, you think that as a member of the Senate minority leadership, none of whom voted for the bill, such lack of support was intended to send a message. This supposition is probably correct. Consider that Blunt earlier made it clear that he could not support the bill with the Corker-Hoeven border security amendement:
I voted against proceeding to this amendment because I am concerned it does not adequately put border security first, which must be our top priority. I’m also increasingly concerned the administration objects to measurable results on border security, even though they admit 100 percent awareness is, in fact, possible.
Where did Blunt get the idea that the Obama administration thinks that “100 percent awareness” is possible? I’m not aware that anyone, Obama administration included, really believes that we can ever be sure that we acheive “100 percent awareness.” It’s akin to proving a negative – impossible. Ezra Klein writes:
Attaining total control of a border is hard. As the Council of Foreign Relations’ Edward Alden has written:
The most secure border in modern history was probably the Cold War border between East and West Germany. To keep their people from leaving-logistically much easier than keeping others from entering-the East Germans built more than 700 watchtowers, sprinkled more than a million antipersonnel mines, created a deep no-man’s zone of barbed wire and electric fencing, and deployed nearly 50 guards per square mile with shoot-to-kill orders. Even so about 1,000 people each year somehow managed to find a way across.
We’re not planning anything nearly so secure between the United States and Mexico. Yet many Republicans are demanding total or near-total control over the border before agreeing to anything further on immigration reform.
As Klein observed elsewhere, given the border security demands, it “sure sounds as if no one is ever getting a green card.” And of course that’s the point for politicians like Senator Blunt and his Senate leader, Mitch McConnel. As Counterpunch‘s Geoffrey Boyce observes of the defeated Blunt-Cornyn amendment:
The Senate architects are merely asserting – without any objective analysis or basis for their claim – that DHS can accomplish the border security “triggers” that their immigration proposal would establish. By hinging legalization and a pathway to citizenship on accomplishing these arbitrary objectives, such reforms could be postponed indefinitely.
I just wish that if politicians like Blunt were so hot to stop the much-feared flood of future Latino voters – who should have no reason to ever consider supporting the GOP – they would figure out a way that won’t cost us as much – $38 billion and counting – as trying to keep an enforcement eye on every mile of the long, long Texas/Mexico border. It’s hard to see money wasted when we’re forced to endure the hardships of the GOP sequester.