Quite frankly, I did not believe this would actually make it thru. But not only did the proposal to build a fence make it thru the House this past week, but it made it thru the Senate last night.
The final vote was 80-19.
From the Washington Times-
The Senate last night gave final approval for construction of 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill passed on an 80-19 vote. One Republican, 17 Democrats and the chamber's lone independent voted against the measure.
The bill "will have a real impact on our homeland security now and is a vital step toward fixing the problem of illegal immigration," said Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, adding that Congress also has increased the number of Border Patrol agents and detention beds for apprehended illegal aliens.
"This legislation will take us much closer to the operational control of our border that our homeland security requires," he said.
Eight Democratic senators who supported the bill last night switched their position from the previous day, when they voted to block the fence. They are Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Barack Obama of Illinois and Charles E. Schumer of New York.
Many of the Democrats who joined Republicans on the vote either face close elections this November or represent mostly conservative states.
But for the most part, Democrats opposed the measure.
"We can build the tallest fence in the world, and it won't fix our broken immigration system. Nor will it strengthen security at our borders," Minority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday. "To do that, we need the kind of comprehensive reform that the Senate passed earlier this year."
The "comprehensive" legislation supported by Mr. Reid would grant citizenship rights to about 10 million illegal aliens already in the country and create a guest-worker program that would usher hundreds of thousands of new foreign workers into the country. That Senate-approved bill also would allow illegals to collect Social Security benefits accrued while working illegally.
That Senate bill also has many Republican supporters. But, realizing the comprehensive bill would not pass anytime soon, they supported last night's fence bill with the belief that at the very least the border should be secured.
Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said yesterday that he has long been a supporter of "comprehensive" legislation and still is.