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Senate passes a border security bill -- and misses the point

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AFP/Alfredo Estrella/NEWSCOM

(Read caption) A US Border Patrol vehicle drives along the fence separating the US from Mexico, near the town of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.





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In a visit to San Diego last year, I was curious and wanted to go to the border to see Mexico. I didn’t need to. There are enough things Mexican miles from the border – good restaurants, music, shops, and, yes, both legal and illegal immigrants. I never made it.

Like I was, the national debate over immigration has been very much focused on the border, or rather how to close it off to illegal crossings. The latest example: Just minutes before the Senate went on summer recess Thursday, it passed a $600 million “border security first” bill.

While the measure certainly will add resources to border enforcement – more patrol agents, drones, prosecutors – its passage is more of a political act before the November elections. Democrats, while trying not to upset their Hispanic voters, know that they, like Republicans, must appeal to voters who want the US to show it can maintain a leak-proof border.

Just a few months ago, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. The Obama White House had promised “comprehensive” immigration reform this year, which would include an amnesty-like pathway to legal status for most illegal aliens. The White House did have a side thought: If this “reform” failed, Republicans could then be blamed and more Hispanics would go to the polls in anger to vote for Democrats..

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