Mark Krikorian, National Review:
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mike McCaul of Texas has introduced a border-security bill (HR 399), which will be marked up by the committee tomorrow afternoon. It’s a “mild-mannered bill,” in the delicate understatement of my colleague Jessica Vaughan; it has some useful provisions but is nothing to write home about. Vaughan notes: “If so many respected career Border Patrol officials are underwhelmed by this bill, then members of Congress should be, too.” Senator Sessions was more than underwhelmed: “The pending legislation does nothing to end this endemic practice of catch-and-release, ensuring large amounts of illegal immigration will continue unabated.”
But the concern that has greeted the bill stems primarily not from its specific provisions but from the suspicion that the fast-tracked bill is intended by the leadership to pave the way for passing amnesty and guestworker bills. In other words, the bill, dubbed the “Secure Our Borders First Act,” will be quickly followed by the “Import More Cheap Labor Second Act” and the “Amnesty Illegals Third Act.” The problem, of course, is that passing a border-security bill first doesn’t mean its provisions are implemented first. In fact, the bill mandates a biometric visa-tracking system (something Congress has done repeatedly, to little effect) but gives DHS nine years to finish it (five years with two two-year extensions).