The Drudge Report's Misleading Take On Immigration Reform Bill

The Drudge Report is reframing a Senate vote on a border enforcement amendment to the Senate immigration bill as Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) blocking a “fix” to the border. In fact, the Senate bill as drafted already includes tougher border enforcement measures while the amendment Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) proposed continues an enforcement first policy that has been deemed ineffective.

On June 13, the Senate voted to table an amendment by Grassley which would have required strict border controls be in place before undocumented immigrants are able to begin the path to citizenship process.

The Drudge Report highlighted the vote using the headline, “Senate Fight: Reid Blocks Border Fix,” and linked to a piece at by Matthew Boyle that blamed Reid for killing the amendment:

Boyle highlighted Reid's decision to file a motion to table Grassley's amendment and said that Reid “made a move to formally kill” the amendment that would “require border security.”

However, as Boyle himself noted, the motion to table was voted on by the entire Senate and it passed 57-43. Among those voting in favor of the motion were several Republicans, including all of the Republican members of the Gang of Eight.

Despite making it seem as if Reid is going soft on border enforcement, the immigration reform legislation already has provisions which would increase border enforcement. The legislation calls for $6.5 billion in funding for border enforcement, an extra 3,500 Border Patrol agents, and mandates employment verification. In addition, benchmarks for enforcement must be met by the Department of Homeland Security within five years or the process will be turned over to a Southern Border Security Commission to complete the enforcement.

Grassley's amendment would have done little to actually “fix” the immigration system. As the Immigration Policy Center pointed out, it “is a continuation of the 'enforcement first' strategy that has been employed over the past two decades.” This enforcement first policy -- meaning enforcing the laws already on the books before implementing new ones -- has yet to achieve desired success despite massive increases in cost and personnel. In contrast, immigration policy experts note that the best way to fix the immigration system through immigration reform is by providing a pathway to citizenship for current undocumented immigrants while updating and simplifying the legal immigration process.