Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Immigration update, pt. III -- Sens. Tester and Baucus change their position, Billings Gazette doesn't notice (or doesn't want to)

Montana Headlines said on Sunday that while our Democratic Sens. Baucus and Tester had been voting in ways that reflect the views of most Montanans when it comes to the current illegal immigration measure being debated in the U.S. Senate, they bear watching.

And yesterday they proved that point when they voted against the Allard amendment. Simply stated, the amendment was "To eliminate the preference given to people who entered the United States illegally over people seeking to enter the country legally in the merit-based evaluation system for visas."

Sounds pretty simple, and it would be right in line with the rhetoric from Sens. Baucus and Tester that we reported some time back, in which both said that illegal immigrants need to go the back of the line behind those trying to enter the country legally.

The amendment failed, as the above link shows, but it is worth noting that the amendment was supported by the other four members of what we had described as a core group of 6 Senators who were consistently voting in a common-sense way that supports upholding the law. The other two Democratic Senators in that group of 6 that Sens. Tester and Baucus had been consistently joining were Sens. Dorgan of ND and Byrd of WV.

Those two Democrats were joined by 6 other Democratic Senators and 23 Republicans in voting for the failed amendment.

Perhaps Sens. Tester and Baucus are beginning to show their true colors and are falling into line behind Senator Kennedy on his bill -- we'll have to see. This was a major test -- and Montana's Senators failed it.

Their votes make no sense in light of what they have previously said and in light of how they previously voted. Again, we wonder if their early votes and rhetoric were just window-dressing.

We note that the Billings Gazette failed to report on this vote at all. But earlier, the Gazette trumpeted Tester and Baucus's earlier votes and rhetoric against illegal immigration.

One would think that a reversal in position like this would be newsworthy -- but apparently if it won't shine a nice light on our Democratic Senators, it won't make the pages of the Gazette.


Our Senators also voted wrong on the McConnell amendment, which would have required voters to present photo identification when voting in person. This is a reasonable requirement. Given that many liberals are anxious to put photo identification into the hands even of illegal immigrants, we're not sure what the problem was with this amendment for Democrats -- unless they expect it to hurt them at the polls.

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