Via the Associated Press:
The House voted for the second time in a year to erect a fence along a third of the U.S.-Mexican border, part of a Republican effort to keep illegal immigration an issue before voters.
A new 700 miles of double-layered fencing won approval on a 283-138 vote, a bigger margin than last December when the House passed it as part of a broader bill that also would have made being an illegal immigrant a felony. The nearly 2,000-mile border now has about 75 miles of fencing.
Only one problem ...
The bill passed Thursday doesn't pay for the fence. Republicans, estimating the cost at more than $2 billion, said that will be covered in a later spending bill. Democrats estimated the fence would cost $7 billion, based on information from the Department of Homeland Security on costs per mile of a double-layer fence.
"This is nothing more than political gamesmanship in the run-up to the midterm elections. Sounds good. Does nothing," said Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.
I have to say that I'm hesitant to jump up and down in excitement. Even if this bill DOES make it to Bush's desk, and even if he DOES sign it ... we all know how little that meant with the National Guard promise.
Not only is this meaningless until it's built, it also fails to cover issues such as enforcing employment laws, or what most conservatives are really concerned with, which is amnesty.
Read the full story here.
Michelle Malkin is also blogging this and hits on another major issue not covered in this bill. She writes:
There are so many other immediate reforms that could have been adopted this year that would have strengthened immigration enforcement, closed deportation loopholes immediately, and provided true relief at the border. (And don't even get me started on this administration's renewed laxity at the front door, which has been thrown open to tens of thousands of new Saudi student visa holders while enforcement against millions of current visa overstayers remain virtually non-existent.)
The 700-mile fence vote is an election season gesture, and grass-roots conservatives who have watched the GOP squander away this issue for six years are not going to be appeased by mid-September 2006 gesture politics.
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