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May 31, 2006

Poison Pills

We all have different ways of coping with defeat. Some quietly resign themselves to loss and move on, others wallow in bitterness, and still others transform their ill-fortune into spite. In reporting on the financial penalties embedded in the Senate immigration-reform bill, we found that a few senators took that last route in the eleventh-hour wrangling over the legislation...

The preliminary political jockeying in the Senate, which honed the bill’s intense border-enforcement measures and limited legalization mechanisms, set it on the path to approval. Some opposing senators decided that a simple "no" vote was not enough, opting to gut the bill through the amendment process in order to saddle it with the posterity of lingering dissent.

The mainstream news outlets don’t seem to note the irony of these maneuvers when reporting on the passage of the bill, so they might only seem noteworthy to an outside observer. After all, the "poison pill" tactic of making legislation prohibitively unpalatable to the opposition makes perfect political sense. The amendments in the final Senate bill will prime the legislation for further gutting in the conference process, where it will be fused with its more punitive, enforcement-focused House counterpart.

Some pro-immigrant advocacy organizations are already anticipating that in the end, the bickering at the center of the political aisle will yield a dud legislative compromise, neutered with poison pills. That could be tough for everyone to swallow.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.