Jeff Sessions, a member of the “party of big business,” wanted to jack up the minimum penalty by a factor of 20. That put our new majority in a bit of a pickle: are they the party of the working man or the party of “the undocumented”? Can’t really be both, as Kaus has pointed out repeatedly.

So they had to choose. And they chose.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, offered the amendment to the bill now being debated that would increase the federal minimum wage.

Ridding the economy of illegal aliens, he argued, would do far more to help low-income wage earners than simply raising the minimum wage. Not only do aliens displace U.S. citizens in the work force, he said, they also artificially suppress wages…

One of the reasons “that those salaries have lagged behind is because of a large influx of illegal immigrant labor,” he said. “That is indisputable, and it’s not been discussed much here. People apparently don’t want to talk about it, but we’re going to talk about it.”

But Democratic leaders refused to let Mr. Sessions’ alien amendment reach the Senate floor yesterday, and they accused him and other Republicans of offering amendments unrelated to the minimum-wage increase in order to stall passage of the bill…

He calls his amendment “comprehensive wage reform,” a sly reference to the “comprehensive” approach to immigration reform that Democrats and President Bush are demanding, but most Republicans deride as amnesty.

Mr. Sessions’ proposal came directly out of the employer-sanctions section of the immigration-reform bill approved with overwhelming Democratic support last year.

Who cares? You can raise the fines a hundredfold; if employers know the feds are looking the other way, most of them will take the risk. By all means, in this case, blame Bush.

Meanwhile, Opinion Journal makes a good point about the border-patrol case in the course of making a very, very stupid one about Bush’s immigration policy. The good point:

The Congressmen who are exploiting the episode haven’t made an issue of the agents’ guilt, which is by and large conceded. Rather, the restrictionists argue that Compean and Ramos should be given a pass because the victim of their crime was a drug-smuggling illegal alien.

This is an odd argument coming from immigration hard-liners, who typically say that while they love legal immigrants the U.S. must “enforce the law” on the border. That the agents have been held accountable for misconduct shows that no one is above the law. Letting the agents off the hook would also send a terrible message to honest border agents who perform a difficult and dangerous job.

Now click here and scroll down to the last paragraph for teh stupid.