Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


When Will the Senate Democrats Stop Cowing to Harry Reid?

By Rob Tenery, MD on November 9, 2015

Is there any issue that the Democrats and Republicans can agree? Kate’s Law came about when a stay bullet fired by a seven-time convicted felon, Francisco Sanchez, on July 1, 2015, murdered Kate Steinle. Sanchez had been previously deported five times and was back in this country illegally for a sixth time. The tragedy took place in San Francisco that is a sanctuary city, where the city officials do not enforce federal immigration laws. Now over 340 self-proclaimed sanctuary cites exist across the country, which include several cities in Texas--- Houston and Dallas being two.

The Kate’s law legislation was initiated by Fox News commentator, Bill O’Reilly and presented on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Senator Ted Cruz earlier last week. The proposed legislation asks for a law that would require at least a five-year, mandatory sentence for any previously convicted felon of a violent crime, who is back in this country illegally. Asking for unanimous support, Former Senate Majority leader Harry Reid arose and objected to the proposed legislation. He stated, “All I’ve seen from Republican leaders and their caucus is bills that attack immigrants and tear families apart. So I object.” The bill will probably be brought up again, but it will need 60 votes in the Senate to pass. Representative Matt Salmon in the US House of Representatives will introduce similar legislation. 

On the surface, the objection by Reid might seem like a callous stance by an aging politician who is, one more time, trying to force his way of thinking down the throats of this country. As he has done so many times before, instead Reid is probably acting as a shiel for President Obama, who doesn’t want to be faced with the political consequences by vetoing this legislation because it does not fit his agenda of virtually open borders.

There are other considerations against this legislation. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the law would expand the federal prison population by over 57,000 prisoners. The estimated annual cost by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons would be an additional $2 billion. The arguments for the legislation are protection of public safety and probable decrease reentry of the convicted felons once they knew they would face a mandatory five-years of incarceration.

The argument put forward by Harry Reid that the Republicans are against illegal immigrants and their families is more a partisan sham than beneficence on the part of the Democratic Party. As in most things in Washington, it’s always about politics! Generally, the Republicans’ reasons for limiting illegal immigration are they take away many of the lower paying jobs from citizens, the questionable higher crime rate in the illegal population and the added economic burdens to the entitlement programs, heath care facilities and the funds that are sent back to their home country and not plowed back into this economy.

Even though this is unquestionably the most beneficent country in the world, the real reason the Republicans continue to support immigration reform and the Democrats, by in large, give only token support is the vote. According to the 2009 National Population Projection by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 50% of immigrants come from Mexico and Latin America and around 20% from the Asian countries. Using the last 2012 Presidential election as an example, 71% of voters with Hispanic origin and 73% coming from Asia voted for Obama over Romney. An additional study by the Pew Research Center found that about 70% of Muslims associate more closely with the Democratic Party.  Add to that number the estimated 3% of illegal immigrants who vote despite their illegal status and the number on the Democratic side even goes higher.

That aside, these two issues of Kate’s Law and doing away with sanctuary cites should be non-partisan, since both address the safety of our citizenry.  It’s sad, and frightening at the same time, that Senator Reid and his ‘followers’ can’t put their own selfish, political agendas aside. Let’s hope with Obama and Reid gone after the next election, the Democratic Party will move more to the center like the stalwarts of the 1950s and 1960s--- John Kennedy, Sam Raeburn and even Lyndon Johnson.

Maybe Republican strategist Rory Cooper has delivered the wakeup call to the Democrats when he published a tweet that included some eye-opening data:  “Under President Obama, Democrats have lost 900+ state legislature seats, 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats. That’s some legacy.”





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