RUSH: I want to ask you a question. Do you remember -- we talked about it yesterday, so you might remember this. Do you remember, ladies and gentlemen, when legislation was passed and signed into law by the president to build 700 miles of fence along the southern United States-Mexico border? Do you remember that? I remember that, too. So far, 36 miles have been built, and that's it, no more. Legislation to build 700 miles of fence signed into law. It is the law of the land. Thirty-six miles were built. Recently, a couple of senators offered an amendment to the current immigration bill basically reaffirming the build-the-fence law, as part of immigration reform an amendment or two, maybe two people sponsored the amendment, to complete the job.
In other words, an amendment that merely confirmed what was already the law. It was voted down. So I want you to keep that in mind as you hear and digest everything about the Gang of Eight immigration bill, and it's moving hot and heavy today. It is unfolding as we speak. There is, understandably, some confusion, because it's moving so fast, and that's what I'm going to attempt to do is wade through this web of deceit and untangle it for you. At least as best I can.
Now, the CBO came out with its report in the last couple of days, and something, if I'm right, something has caused somebody to hit the accelerator and really speed this up. Now, I don't know what it is. It might be -- just guessing -- it might be the fact that the Congressional Budget Office report on immigration informed everybody who read it that, even after the passage of the Gang of Eight bill, even after it's signed into law, as it's written, if it were to happen that way, illegal immigration will continue at 75% of current levels. That's the CBO, that's a government agency, supposedly nonpartisan, telling everybody that even after doing this fix, 75% of current inflow continues, which might have made people start asking questions such as, "Well, then, what's the point? Why are we doing this? Because isn't part of this supposed to stop that?"
And that takes us to border security, which people that we have trusted have told us from the get-go that that must be ironclad or they won't vote for this. Closing the border, shutting it down, security, making sure that people do not get across it illegally anymore, had to happen, had to be real commitments to it, otherwise people wouldn't vote. Well, amendment after amendment was offered and beaten back, then in the process something changed and we were told that the legalization had to happen first, so that we could identify who was here, which then would permit us to beef up the border. Because how can we beef up the border, how can we start preventing people 'til we know who's here? So we scratched our heads, said, "Okay."
Keep in mind, the president signed a bill into law to build 700 miles of fence along the southern border. Thirty-six miles were built and the project ended. My point with this is that despite something becoming law does not mean it's going to happen. So what has happened today is that two senators have introduced an amendment, or plan to. It either has happened or it is going to happen shortly. The Corker-Hoeven plan. The Corker-Hoeven plan is an attempt to bring recalcitrant senators into the fold and vote for the bill.
Byron York is reporting that "Senators seeking a solution to a deadlock over border security have reached a tentative agreement they believe could win the votes of a significant number of Republican lawmakers for the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform bill." And that's what the amendment is for. The amendment is to get votes. I think this is a mess. I think it's a legislative mess. What we are facing today -- and, by the way, folks, the last half hour getting ready to do the show, my zone has been flooded. I have been flooded with everything: people telling me, "This is what's really happening, Rush." Other people asking me what's really happening. Advocates and opponents giving me their side of things.
I mean, there's literally been a zone press for the last 30 minutes just aimed at me, and I imagine that this is happening all over various arms of media today. A zone blitz is also happening in the United States Senate looking for votes. Legislation is being crafted in such a way as to get votes as opposed to be focusing on policy. That's my take. The zone blitz in progress looking for votes appears to be centered around throwing more money at this problem. Twenty thousand new border agents are going to be hired, but to do what? And to be laid off when? Well, we shut down the White House Easter egg roll because of the sequester. We don't know what the agents are gonna do. We don't know who they're gonna report to.
"Republican Sens. John Hoeven and Bob Corker have been working on an amendment to the Gang bill that would satisfy Republicans who say the legislation as currently written does not have strong triggers to make the awarding of green cards, or permanent legal status, conditional on the completion of strict border control measures." Again, John Hoeven and Bob Corker have been working on an amendment to the Gang bill that would satisfy Republicans who say the legislation as currently written does not have strong triggers to make the awarding of green cards, or permanent legal status, conditional on the completion of strict border control measures. A Senate aide familiar with the talks says the agreement would require that such measures be in place before immigrants could win permanent legal status."
I need to translate that for you. Very simply, it means that the timing of the normalization process doesn't change. What happens is that legal status will be granted first. The Hoeven-Corker amendment just promises more border attention, security, lockdown, after the legalization takes place. The initial event to happen is legal status granted, temporary legal status that allows current illegal immigrants to register without deportation and allows them to find work. Marco Rubio has said that the fines get levied at the first stage, and that those fines will fund the border security provisions.
"The key feature of the deal is a massive increase in the number of Border Patrol agents. The Hoeven and Corker amendment would call for the number of agents to be essentially doubled, to about 40,000 from its current force of 20,000. 'It's hard to contend that you can't control the border with about 40,000 Border Patrol agents,' says the Senate aide." So legislation here is being crafted to get votes.
Remember we have a bill that's signed into law to build 700 miles of fence. Thirty-six miles have been built and the project shelved. An amendment to basically complete the project was defeated. So whereas we had to pass Obamacare to find out what's in it, we have to grant the current illegals status in order to find out who they are, and that is what will take place first. This amendment that is supposedly now drawing in an additional 10 to maybe 20 votes on the Republican side, is said to be working its magic.
That's why I'm wondering, "What happened overnight? What's the one thing that's changed here since...?" I mean, it's the CBO report. I'm just guessing it's the CBO report, and I'm just guessing what's in it that mighta caused this. It could be that nothing's causing this, that this is just part of the game. Anyway, we've known Dingy Harry wants to speed this up. So, if this amendment is passed, the Republicans are gonna get double the border agents.
They're also gonna get some new surveillance equipment for watching the border.
And the amendment does discuss the 700 miles of fence. Okay, so that's what the Republicans get here. What is in this for the Democrats? Oh, and, by the way, I should add that Congressman Ryan has said (summarized), "Don't worry, we'll fix this in the House," which tells me that there are things in it that Republicans aren't gonna be able to like and don't like, including this amendment. Maybe the best way to look at this in terms of what the Democrats get is to look at what doesn't happen.
Republicans wanted an improved biometric, entry-exit system to crack down on people overstaying their visas. This is something that the Republicans have always said they wanted because it's one of the largest sources, percentages of illegals in the country. Many of the 11 million (we'll use the number 11 million) who are here have simply overstayed their visas and we don't know who they are. That's another reason why it is said we've gotta grant them status. We gotta find out who they are.
We don't know who they are, so the Republicans wanted a beefed-up biometric system to handle entry and exit across the border to crack down on visa overstays. They're not gonna get it. There are also triggers for enforcement in the bill. This one, I must admit, that I'm not fully up to speed on, but I'll tell you what it is I know and maybe we can hash this out together. John Cornyn, the senator from Texas, wanted this bill to contain a provision that 90% apprehension be achieved as a hard trigger.
Well, that's no longer in the deal. Cornyn wanted a 90% apprehension figure. The language in the Gang bill says it's a "goal," but Cornyn wanted a hard trigger of 90% apprehension. Hard trigger. No, it stays as a "goal." In fact, the New York Times puts it this way: "Republicans agreed to make the 90% figure a goal rather than a requirement." The fence was a "goal." Well, no, the fence was a requirement! The fence was required to be built.
So the Republicans in the Senate that are not part of the Gang of Eight are preparing to accept that it's a goal and not a hard trigger, the 90% apprehension. There will still be probationary legalization for illegals right away. I'm just tell you. Everybody's talking about this amendment that's being offered that's supposedly gonna fix every problem the Republicans have, and I'm just trying to tell you that this amendment that's being offered is a vote vacuum machine.
They're just trying to get votes. Folks, this isn't about the substance of the policy. It's about giving senators cover, so they go home and say, "I voted for stricter border measures! I stuck in there and I held out for that." This allows them to go home and say that's what they did. But the timing of all this doesn't change. Legalization still happens first, and then what, if any, border measures happen next.
Probationary legalization happens for the 11 million right away, and you and I know why. Once that happens (we've talked about this I don't know how many times), then the political pressure's gonna build. "Why can't they vote? I mean, we've put 'em on the pathway to citizenship! We have said that it's perfectly fine for them to be here and we love them being here. They now have their status; they're on their way to citizenship.
"They're here, they're working, they're paying taxes, they have families! Why can't they vote? Why can't they get Obamacare benefits?" That will be the next pressure to build, and you can expect Republicans everywhere to cave on that for the same reason. If they don't, the Hispanics will hate them. "Republicans Deny Hispanics Right to Vote!" will be the headline that Republicans won't want to see. So that'll happen next.
RUSH: If I sound overly dramatic, it's simply because drama is part of the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. I was here, minding my own business, doing show prep, still sorta feeling numb over the death of Vince Flynn. It's really strange. Everything seems gray to me. I'm still numb, in a state of shock over it.
But I'm preparing for the program today, and then about 11 o'clock everything started blowing up. I start hearing about this amendment. Well, I knew about the amendment, but it started getting tense. "We're gonna have a vote at 11 o'clock! It's gonna be offered 11 o'clock! Schumer's at the White House!" "Oh, no, Schumer's at the White House?" "Yeah, Schumer's at the White House explaining the amendment."
"Oh, no! What's going on in the House? What's going on in the House?" All of a sudden it sounded like the pedal was hitting the floor, the rubber was meeting the road, and it was all gonna happen in the next 20 minutes. The bottom line is that nothing has changed. That's the real take-away here. The trigger says, essentially, that the fence that was to be built starting in 2006 will now be built after the next round of massive legalization.
This amendment does offer to complete the fence.
Only 36 miles of 700 miles of fence have been built.
But the fence still will not be built first. The fence will be built after this next round of massive legalization of 11 million people, which is the number everybody is working with. So again, this is about the sequence. It's about the order. All you need to take away from this, all you need to know is that securing the border first is not happening. Everybody involved is refusing to do this. It's that simple, folks. They can talk triggers, but future Congresses can undo triggers. Future Congresses can defund programs. Presidents (ahem) can refuse to implement the law, and that's exactly what's been going on.
So, border security first?
Nothing is changing.
It's not happening.
RUSH: So I just got a... Well, I didn't get, but I got a report of a tweet from Byron York, and this is all I know. Byron York just tweeted a couple minutes ago now that Rubio breaks with the Gang of Eight and will vote against the move to kill the Cornyn border security amendment. He's gonna vote... It's a double negative. What this means is that Rubio is supporting the Cornyn border security amendment. He's gonna vote against the effort to kill it. So essentially Rubio is supporting it.
Cornyn's amendment is the one requiring a 90% apprehension rate. It's requiring it, not having it as a goal. So we really haven't moved much. I mean, we've got this amendment, Corker and Hoeven. "Corker to the rescue" is the reaction. But they have an amendment here that basically doesn't change the order things. It just appears to really, really, really beef up the border security ... AFTER the legalization takes place. We're gonna build a fence. We're gonna do that now.
We're gonna do it after the legalization, and we're gonna hire 20,000 more border agents. We have 20,000 now so we're gonna end up with 40,000 border agents. Border agents, by the way, are one of the most powerful opponents of granting amnesty. So maybe the effort to double their numbers is a deal to make them happy. Who knows? But supposedly there's a new focus on enforcement and security of the border, but still after legalization.
Note that I am studiously avoiding the word "amnesty," but it's what we're talking about. So then Ryan, Congressman Ryan says, "Don't worry, we'll fix this in the House," which we've always known. So now, folks, here's where we are. Remember when we were dealing with campaign finance reform and McCain-Feingold and so forth and how it was unconstitutional, and we expected Bush to veto it?
He didn't, and everybody said, "Don't sweat it! The Supreme Court will fix it," and they said the same thing about Obamacare. "Don't worry, the Supreme Court will kill it. None of this is constitutional. The Supreme Court will fix it." Well, the Supreme Court upheld both of them. The Supreme Court upheld limits on campaign speech, McCain-Feingold -- upheld parts of it -- and, as you know, they upheld Obamacare. So now the clarion call is, "Don't worry about it, Rush! The House is going to fix it.
"This Senate bill is never gonna pass the House. Don't sweat it, Rush! Boehner has said that he's not gonna even bring this bill to the floor of the House unless it has Republican support. If it doesn't, it violates the Hastert rule. He said he's not gonna violate the Hastert rule." Well, we've known that, too. So, the thinking is, if you're a pessimist (or you might call yourself a realist), what's gonna happen is the House will have their own bill which will indeed fix this sequence of events.
The House bill that passes first will demand border security first thing, and then legalization. Okay, so we have two different bills, the House bill and the Senate bill, and then what happens? Well, then we go to conference where senators and members of the House get together at a conference table and negotiate the differences between the two bills. That's where the realists/pessimists think the fix is in.
That's where the House bill that gets it right dies and the Senate bill is written. Most of the Senate bill becomes the House bill after conference, and then that product goes back to both bodies for final passage. Essentially the Senate bill will come out of conference and be voted on and pass the House (so goes the theory), because there are enough RINOs in there to join the Democrats who unanimously vote for it.
Then immigration reform pretty much as written in the Senate, will become the law of the land, go over to Obama, and he will sign it. That's the theory that many people have. Now, on the other hand, if you trust the House Republicans to hold firm, to hang tough, and to demand that border security happen first before anyone else, then it doesn't matter what the Senate does. If you trust the House to get it right, then we're back to what we always thought was the real thing happening here.
This was my original theory: This was a bill designed to pass the Senate and bomb out in the House. That was my original theory, and Ted Cruz mentioned it yesterday here in our interview with him. He's still divided 50-50 on this, but the likelihood is that the Senate passes something that in no way passes the House. Therefore, it dies, and therefore the Democrats have a campaign issue for 2014 and 2016, and it's more of the same. "Republicans hate Hispanics! Republicans racists! Republicans bigots!"
All of that, and the Democrats campaign on that and win the House, and then it's over. They have both branches of the legislature, they've got the White House, and (in effect) the courts. So they own it and they can do whatever they want. Obama is not a lame duck, no matter how incompetent he is, which is another story today. The European media is beating up our president like you can't believe, folks.
The European media is laughing at our president. The European media is drawing contrasts to the Obama that showed up there during 2008 and the Obama that's showing up there today. And they are dumping all over our president. "The Cornyn amendment was tabled." This is the tweet that we just got from Byron York. "Rubio breaks with Gang8, votes against move to kill Cornyn border security amendment." It doesn't matter. The Cornyn amendment was tabled 54-43.
So it isn't gonna happen. Rubio voted against tabling it, as Byron York said that he was planning on doing. So the Cornyn amendment, which demanded 90% apprehension as a hard number and not as a "goal," failed. That was how we were gonna measure border security: You've got to get 90% of the people that come across. The Democrats said, "Well, we'll make that as a goal." No, Cornyn said, it's gotta be firm. That was tabled. It's not gonna happen. But Rubio did vote against tabling the amendment.
He broke with the gang on that. So that's where we are. Really, nothing has changed. It's just a bunch of hullabaloo. The Corker-Hoeven amendment (or Hoeven-Corker, I forget which goes first) enhances security but not first. Therefore, it's designed to suck in to Hoover more Republican votes. They're desperate in the Senate to get their 70. That's a magic number. You need 60 to stop debate, go to a final vote, and vote cloture. That's what Dingy Harry wants to do by the end of next week.
The Democrats want to come out of there with 70 votes to make it look like it's slam dunk; it wasn't close. They didn't have the 70 votes. This amendment is designed to get the 70 votes by attracting Republicans who've been on the fence, no pun intended, because it enhances the border security aspect. It doesn't change anything. Again, this is the key: It does not change the sequence of events. Legalization still happens, and then the border security kicks in some years after that.
I'll pick up on this business of Obama really not having a good go of it with the European press. To what extent it matters, is another question. Probably not much. Low-information voters here are never gonna see it or hear about it.
RUSH: The Cornyn amendment, folks, was indeed a mandate for 90% apprehension. Not a goal, but a hard trigger. You had to apprehend 90% of people attempting to cross the border or none of the rest of the bill could happen. But the Cornyn amendment also included requiring this thing called eVerify, and the biometric entry-exit system in place at all air, land, and seaports in the US be beefed up. This is the system designed to prevent people overstaying their visas, the eVerify, biometric entry-exit system, we're gonna beef that up, that was part of the Cornyn amendment. It, of course, went down in flames.
So the Democrats and some Republicans voted against those things again. Essentially the Democrats and some Republicans voted against border security again. Even though they claim to be for eVerify, they claim to be for biometric tracking, you could arguably say that both of those are already the law going back to 2002, to the enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, but it's just like the fence act, it's being ignored. All these acts, all these laws, ignored, not enforced. What difference does it make? So we have the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, and we may as well not have it. It's irrelevant. It's not being implemented. It's not being enforced.
We already have so many health care bills that were not being enforced. Immigration, so many different, not just this one, so many different immigration bills that were not being enforced, which is why Arizona did what they did and ended up being sued. So the point is that even in the current legislation where we are promised that we will get the fence finished and we will get the enhanced eVerify and biometric entry-exit system in place, we'll beef that up, and we're gonna find these people oversaying their visas and that's gonna get rid of a whole bunch of the problems. But we're not gonna do that 'til after we legalize.
But even if they did put it in first, they don't have to enforce it. Even if they did put it in first, the next president could come along and ignore it. That's why the focus on border security first. Do that. Then take care of the 11 million or whatever number is here. But shut down the border, finally make it secure. How many different pieces of legislation are there that require that that are being ignored? Just implement one or two of them. We can't even pass new laws that simply affirm existing law. We can't pass amendments that affirm existing law. There was an amendment again that was offered to finish the fence, even though the law of the land is build a fence. The amendment essentially was to follow the law, was voted down.
So every time the Senate has a chance to act on border security, they reject it. I don't want to appear to be a know-it-all. None of this surprises me. I have thought from the get-go this is gonna pass the Senate. I don't care whether it's Gang of Eight, Gang of 16, Democrats run the Senate and they want amnesty, and I have always believed that the Senate's gonna pass that one way or the other. I've always thought what happens after the Senate is really crucial. I'm not a defeatist, folks, as you know by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm not a pessimistic, but I am a realist. And I have never really thought that this thing was gonna be killed in the Senate or significantly rewritten, not when Chuck Schumer and McCain are in the Gang of Eight. It just isn't gonna happen.
We know what those people want. They run the Senate. It's gonna happen there. That's why now what happens in the House is key. And I guess a miracle could happen, something unforeseen could cause an earthquake in the Senate. Let's go back. In May of 2010, just three years ago, then-senator Jim DeMint reintroduced for the second time a bill he called Finish the Fence, and the DeMint bill would have required Homeland Security to finish the fencing along the US-Mexican border. Seven hundred miles, 36 miles have been built. It went nowhere, twice.
So I mean if you use intelligence guided by experience, you wouldn't believe that the Congress will ever want to enforce the borders. There's no evidence. The evidence is that they are not interested in it. The evidence is that they're not going to because they haven't. They keep voting down either amendments that enforce current law or they vote down new law to affirm current law, whatever. There's no indication otherwise. So even the fence, which is mandated by law to be built, isn't being built. This is lawlessness, folks. This is the total absence of integrity and character of the body, of the institution. There's nothing, there's no terra firma here to rely on. Nothing is taken seriously. The law is something that can be ignored. You and I can't do that.
RUSH: Senate Democrats are calling the Hoeven-Corker amendment the border surge. Ha. They don't even like the term "surge." So what is to stop Harry Reid next year from blocking spending on the fence or border agents? He can threaten a filibuster and it's over. That's the behavior. Laws pass that Democrats don't like, just ignore them, just don't follow them.