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The Daily Caller: Four things conservatives should applaud in the immigration bill

Posted 4/22/2013

The Daily Caller
By: Matt K. Lewis

Since the immigration reform bill was unveiled last week, there has been a lot of criticism. Some concerns are valid. Others, such as the the “Marcophone” controversy, have proven to be silly.

A possibly bigger problem for conservative supporters of the bill? Democrats have been vigorously claiming that it’s a good bill. (If Democrats love it, there must be something wrong with it, right?)

Love it or hate it, this bill is more conservative than many observers might have hoped for. And this might ironically explain why Democrats are making such an effort to brand it a Democratic-friendly bill. In truth, their base simply isn’t going to be enthused about a number of provisions that Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio, included.

There are four main areas where the bill has proven to be more conservative than observers were expecting, irrespective of whether they will ultimately support it:

1. Border security. In 2006, the Secure Fence Act appropriated $1.2 billion (which many thought was an inadequate amount) to build a fence on 700 miles of the southern border. Much of this fence was never completed. This led border security hawk and former Sen. Jim DeMint (now head of the Heritage Foundation) to offer an amendment to the DHS appropriations bill in 2009 that would have mandated the fence be built by December 31, 2010. The amendment passed the Senate, but never became law, much to the dismay of DeMint and many other conservatives.

The new immigration reform bill contains $4.5 billion to implement border security. A majority of the border security funds go toward actual fence-building or maintaining a physical presence on the border — physical, not “virtual” fencing.

2. E-verify. Conservatives have long complained about employers hiring illegal immigrants and getting away with it. This bill contains tough e-verify provisions — potentially the biggest deterrent in the bill to future illegal immigration and illegal immigrants not eligible for legalization remaining in the US. This is significant, considering that many liberals and civil libertarians (for whom immigration reform is an important issue) oppose it. America’s Voice, the pro-immigration group mentioned above, viewed inclusion of E-verify as a “trade-off.” The ACLU obviously is  not enthused about E-verify forming a part of the bill. But conservatives got it into the bill.

Read the rest of the article here.