Senate GOP pushes strict bills on immigration enforcement

Editors Notes: What utter crap! With our economy in the crapper, Bush’s Iraq fiasco. And now this meaningless piece of legislation, which with luck, will never clear committee.

Let’s see, 2 years imprisonment for crossing the border a second time, as if our prisons are not already overcrowded. Can’t open bank accounts when most don’t have bank accounts and have no desire for one, and the kicker, speak English when dealing with a Federal Agency, as if they have any dealings with Federal Agencies other than the Border Patrol? 

And one wonders why the GOP is getting their ass kicked in the elections. But, I guess pandering to the right wing zealots is about the only trick they have left in the playbook.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans are set to announce today the hardest-hitting package of immigration enforcement measures seen yet — one that would require jail time for illegal immigrants caught crossing the border, make it harder for them to open bank accounts and compel them to communicate in English when dealing with federal agencies.

Most of the bills stand little chance of being debated in the Democrat-controlled Congress, but the move by some of the Senate’s leading Republicans underscores how potent the issue of immigration remains, particularly during a presidential election year.

The bills give Republicans a way to put pressure on the presidential candidates of both major parties to take a tougher stance on immigration.

They also reflect a shift toward harsher immigration rhetoric and legislative proposals from both parties since Congress failed to pass a comprehensive overhaul in 2007.

The package, an enforcement smorgasbord assembled by at least eight lawmakers, consists of 11 bills but could expand to include as many as 14. Some elements echo House bills, but others go beyond House proposals.

One would discourage states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants by docking 10 percent of highway funding from states that do. Another would extend the presence of National Guard on the border. A third would end language assistance at federal agencies and the voting booth for people with limited English ability.

A bill by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who is leading the effort, would impose a maximum two-year jail sentence on someone caught crossing the border for a second time.

“The point is to reinforce the idea that most of us here feel that we need to make enforcement and border security a first step to solving the overall problem,” said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., one of three Senate sponsors.