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The Amnesty Next Time

The specter of 1986 haunts the immigration debate.

May 20, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 34 • By FRED BARNES
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Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano is no help. Republican senator John Cornyn of Texas accused her of declaring victory in the effort to secure the border. What she actually said was this: The border “is as secure now as it has ever been.” Nobody believes that, Cornyn said. None of the Democrats jumped to her defense.

She is distrusted, at least by Republicans. So is Obama, who has sharply narrowed enforcement of current immigration laws. Ignoring Congress on immigration isn’t new. Goodlatte cited a 1995 law authorizing an electronic system to flag expired visa holders. “That’s never been put into effect,” he said. The same point was made repeatedly at the Senate session.

The bipartisan Senate bill will surely survive the skepticism of Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. But its advocates need to find better answers to questions raised by critics, Jeff Sessions in particular.

Sessions is tough and smart and always prepared for debate. He asked Schumer, “Do you dispute the fact that we will probably legalize over 30 million [immigrants] in the next 10 years?” “Yes, I do,” Schumer said. Okay, Sessions replied, what’s the correct number? He never got an answer.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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