Lawmakers' last-minute deal creates loophole in U.S.-Mexico fence
Surprise, suprise! But we knew all along that this was just an election year stunt to get the conservatives out to vote once again. It's Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football, all over again. How stupid do they think we are?
The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Lawmakers' last-minute deal creates loophole in U.S.-Mexico fence
No sooner did Congress authorize construction of a 698-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexican border last week than lawmakers rushed to approve separate legislation that ensures it will never be built, at least not as advertised, according to Republican lawmakers and immigration experts.
GOP leaders have singled out the fence as one of the primary accomplishments of the recently completed session. Many lawmakers plan to highlight their $1.2 billion down payment on its construction as they campaign in the weeks before the midterm elections.
But shortly before recessing late last Friday, the House and Senate gave the Bush administration leeway to distribute the money to a combination of projects, not just the physical barrier along the southern border. The money may also be spent on roads, technology and "tactical infrastructure" to support the Homeland Security Department's preferred option of a "virtual fence."
What's more, in a late-night concession to win over wavering Republicans, GOP congressional leaders pledged in writing that Native American tribes, members of Congress, governors and local leaders would get a say in "the exact placement" of any structure and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff would have the flexibility to use alternatives "when fencing is ineffective or impractical.