The fireworks come in the last minute although I’ll be candid and confess I don’t really understand what the point of disagreement is. Hannity says we should secure the border; Gutierrez replies that securing the border won’t stop ISIS operatives, who are more likely to enter the U.S. through airports than by sneaking across from Mexico. (Jihadis with British or, of course, American passports wouldn’t even need visas.) Could be, says Hannity, but then why not do both? Secure the border and take extra precautions in screening flights. Obviously you’d want to block terrorists from every possible route into the country. To which Gutierrez says … nothing, really. The real reason he opposes a border security bill, of course, is because that’s the left’s main leverage in getting Republicans to concede on the amnesty Democrats desperately want. If we pass a border security bill now with an eye to stopping terrorists, some congressional Republicans will decide that they’ve gotten what they wanted from immigration legislation and can now walk away from the legalization component. (In reality, there’d still be plenty of GOPers eager to pass legalization in the name of pandering to Latinos, but there wouldn’t be as many votes for a legalization-only bill as there would for a comprehensive one.) The only way Democrats can keep them at the table is to hold border security hostage — even with the public nervous about ISIS trying to pull something. You would think a guy representing a movement that’s determined to leave the country less secure in the name of getting its way on an unrelated issue would come armed with better deflections than “what about ISIS using visas?”, but no. I guess, when you’re confident in your long-term electoral supremacy because of changing demographics, you can afford to laugh in people’s faces about their silly counterterrorism priorities.
Meanwhile, Dick Durbin’s blaming the Ebola epidemic in Africa in part on House Republicans’ failure to pass the Gang of Eight bill. If Boehner came back to him today with a pure border security bill that contains some provisions for fighting Ebola, think Durbin would suck it up and sacrifice amnesty to pass it? Me neither.