I have thought, multiple times over a period of months, to write about the immigration issue and this year's immigration bill. But the problem with that, especially with any thought of writing about the immigration bill, is that it's not clear what's actually in the bill.
A lot of folks have had a lot to say about what's in the immigration bill currently being considered in the Senate. And a lot of what's being said conflicts not just in interpretation or implications of provisions, but in the basic facts of what the bill provides. Time and again, one senator would make a claim and another would make an absolutely contradictory claim. One would say the bill would allow imprisoned felons to get Z visas and citizenship, for example, while another would say those individuals were absolutely precluded from Z visas and from any consideration for U.S. citizenship. Obviously, I thought, at least one of them was lying. But now I'm not so sure, as the bill has apparently been being extensively modified and rewritten, even today even tonight. Under such conditions, no senator can know just what is (and isn't) in the bill this afternoon, or this evening, or what was in it this morning. The same is true of the bill's amendments. So the senators are making different assumptions, relying on what they've been told by people they trust. The senators may not be lying, but they may well have been lied to.
That being the case, I cannot either support or oppose this bill based on what's in it. But I have decided I must oppose it.
The reason I've come down on the side against this bill is procedural. This bill has been brought up, and is being pushed through the Senate, in a unique manner. It has not been handled like any normal bill. There have been no committee hearings, no committee debate, and no committee amendments. Normally, this substantial and comprehensive a bill would be considered by multiple subcommittees and committees; this bill has been considered by none. Normally, a bill comes to the Senate floor in relatively final form; this bill is barely through its first draft, and the few amendments being allowed haven't yet been completed even though they are being voted on. Harry Reid, the majority leader, is making senators vote on amendments and a final bill they haven't (and could not have) seen or read. That violates every normal principle and procedure of "the world's greatest deliberative body." The key question is why, and I don't see any possible answer that's good for this country or its people.