Interesting, huh? Nick Lampson, our Democratic congressman from Texas CD 22 has announced that he is going to oppose House Democratic leadership and sign a “discharge petition” to bring the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2007 (SAVE Act) out of its 7 committee hearings and onto the floor of the House for an up or down vote.
To-date, the discharge petition, which can be viewed here, has been signed by 168 legislators, 161 of them Republicans, and 8 of them Democrats. A total of 218 signatures are needed to get a majority in the House and force the SAVE Act to the floor of the House.
Now what could be on our congressman’s mind?
I have heard Nick Lampson speak on immigration and border security a few times and this doesn’t sound like what he was talking about.
What I have heard Nick Lampson say was that if we would simply enforce the laws that were already on the books, this would be quite enough to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the country.
Instead, what we have before us in the SAVE Act (HR 4048) is a measure that would boost border security by 1) increasing border patrol personnel, 2) allowing the use of military equipment (?), and 3) providing additional border surveillance (aerial and remote) . There are other things, such as giving aid to Indian tribes whose reservations abut the border. One of the big things in SAVE is the so-called employer responsibility provisions. Employers will be held to account for hiring illegal aliens by verification of their identification papers.
That last bit gave me a clue on why Lampson is doing what he is doing.
I have also heard Nick Lampson say that any immigration reform act was not going to pass any time soon. I suspect that he includes this one as well. The reasons are two-fold:
- Republicans love to wave the immigration red flag. Without it they have to talk about Iraq and the economy. The result is that they have whipped up this as a major fanatical issue that plucks the Mexican-hating heartstrings of Republican voters. With Nick not only co-sponsoring the SAVE Act, and signing the discharge petition, his fall opponent has little to beat his or her breast about with regard to his record on immigration.
- As mentioned above, this act, or any other immigration act like it, doesn’t have a prayer of passing. Democrats oppose this on several different levels. Republicans, or some of them anyway, know that the employer accountability/verification portions of the bill will devastate some important, some say strategic, industries. Like agriculture. Like construction.
Yes, America’s economy, as it now stands, depends upon a dynamically porous border.
So here is what I am guessing why Lampson is backing this so vigorously: it can’t hurt because it hasn’t a snowball’s chance in H-E double hockey sticks of passing let alone getting to the House floor, and Nick gets on record as being in favor of something that 161 Republican co-signatories also favor.
Take that Dr. Sekula Gibbs. Have a nice day, Pete “Carpetbags” Olson.
Now, I just hope that I am right on this. . .