We’ve heard this before, haven’t we? In two guises, in fact. Anyone can pass awful, ruinous legislation, but to pass it when overwhelming numbers of your constituents begging you to stop? That’s where we separate the men from the mice, my friends.

Incidentally, they’re experimenting with the “virtual fence” now in Arizona and confident that it’ll help. Not so confident that they’re willing to postpone the amnesty provisions of this bill until we have proof that it works and it’s been virtually extended from 28 miles to something closer to 2,000, but as an empty gesture to buy a bit of political cover for the undecideds to vote yes on this bill, it’s golden. Notably missing from the article: any cost comparison between the very low-tech actual fence favored by most enforcement proponents and this seemingly fabulously expensive, quite possibly (deliberately) less effective alternative.

Meanwhile, Kaus speculates about the bill as a ploy by the GOP to compete for Hispanic votes:

[R]emember, if it’s all about the symbolism, then it’s not enough for Lott and fellow Republicans like Lindsey Graham to push the semi-amnesty bill through. They have to push the bill through loudly, histrionically, while denouncing the opposition as anti-Latino–to make sure Hispanics know that the GOPs were their champions in 2007. It would be a shame to suck up to Latinos and then have the Democrats get all the credit (as Dems got all the credit with blacks after the Civil Rights Act of 1964–even though, Morris notes, “Republicans backed the bill in far greater numbers than Democrats did”). I think this helps explain Lott and Graham’s recent obnoxious put-downs of their opponents. [How did comparing Mexicans to electrified goats help Lott win over generations of Latinos?–ed That was off-message.]

Exit question: How does dismissing your own base as racist make Hispanics more eager to align with that base?

Update: I already linked this in Headlines but Bryan wrote a post about it yesterday so it bears mentioning on the blog too. You know that video on immigration law that’s drawn so much heat? Relax — it’s just a case of insufficient nuance.

The segment of the video drawing all the attention is one in which lawyers from Cohen & Grigsby’s highly regarded immigration practice advocate methods to comply with a law requiring employers prove that they have tried to find qualified American workers before applying for a green card for a foreign worker. The lawyers urge the audience, in so many words, to do exactly the opposite…

By the end of the weekend, political blogs of all stripes — from DailyKos to National Review’s The Corner — had linked to the video, which just so happened to play nicely into issues raised in the immigration bill that the U.S. Senate is debating this week.

Thursday Cohen & Grigsby put out a statement that while the firm stands by the substance of the seminar, “we regret the choice of words that was used during a small segment of the seminar. It is unfortunate that these statements have been commandeered and misused, which runs contrary to our intent.”

Update: The Times chronicles Bush’s Deep Human Sympathy for Hispanics in yet another hamfisted attempt to moralize a matter of policy. Not reported: Bush’s apparent Deep Human Loathing for unskilled American workers who’ll have their wages suppressed or lose their jobs entirely thanks to the influx of illegals.