Blow to Bush as immigration bill crashes down
The US Senate meted out a severe blow to President George W. Bush Thursday, blocking a landmark immigration reform seen as one of his last, best hopes for a legacy-boosting second term victory.
In a stunning defeat for the bid to grant a path to citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants, Senators voted 53 to 46 against keeping the bill alive, likely ending congressional action on the divisive issue before 2009.
Bipartisan backers of the measure fell well short of the 60 vote super-majority needed to move the bill, branded by opponents as an "amnesty," towards a final vote, after an emotional weeks-long debate.*
Bush, whose ebbing power hampered his bid to persuade more than 12 fellow Republicans to support the measure, appeared to admit defeat.
"Congress's failure to act on it is a disappointment," said Bush, beset by rock bottom approval ratings and battling Congress on multiple fronts including Iraq, and a constitutional showdown over fired federal prosecutors.
"A lot of us worked hard to see if we could find common ground. It didn't work. Congress really needs to prove to the American people that it can come together on hard issues."
Hours before the vote, the US Capitol's telephone switchboard was jammed by thousands of calls from groups and individuals for and against the bill, reflecting its fiercely divisive impact on US politics.
Republican Senator David Vitter, who worked to thwart the bill, said the message was "crystal clear" that Americans wanted action to secure borders before helping out illegal immigrants already in the country.
*The immigration bill debated for the past several weeks, but which finally died a well deserved death, differed dramatically from the one signed into law in 1986 and it was also very different from more recent immigration Senate bills. Under President Reagan the 1986 law granted amnesty but failed to secure the border, and our people have been paying the price ever since. Last year, the Republicrat-led Senate repeated the same mistake of 1986 by passing a bill to grant legal status to Third World invaders without securing our nation's borders and without imposing any punishment for those here illegally. A fair number of Senators who still have at least half a spine voted against that bill last year because it was amnesty and because it failed to secure the border. I don’t know about you, but I would have voted against it not only because it didn’t seal the border, but also because there were no provisions for massive cold blooded deportations.
To all of our faithful readers members and activists who partook of this effort, on behalf of the Board of Directors of European Americans United I wish to say Thank You.
-- Frank Roman