When the bipartisan Senate Gang of Eight began the difficult task of negotiating Comprehensive Immigration Reform. it was assumed that this would be done in a genuine spirit of compromise, Everyone expected that there would be a good faith attempt to balance the Democrats' goal of relief from deportation and eventual US citizenship for millions of unauthorised immigrants with the Republicans' objective of securing the Mexican border and bolstering internal immigration enforcement.

To their credit, the GOE members worked long and hard to achieve a compromise which, while no one would call it perfect, at least arrived at arguably reasonable solutions on a great variety of issues. The same spirit prevailed during the markup in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In the process, many deserving people were thrown under the bus, if not a whole fleet of buses - same sex couples, diversity immigrants from Africa and other low immigration parts of the world, unauthorized immigrants who had arrived after a cutoff date, and siblings of US citizens included.

But the American way of compromise and good will was obviously more than the traditional opponents of immigration reform, enraged at the prospect that millions of Latino and other non-white immigrants might not only be allowed to stay in the US legally, but might, horribile dictu, one day actually become US citizens and be allowed to vote, could tolerate. 

The Roman poet Ovid wrote in his great poem, Metamorphoses: 

In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora ("I will tell about changed forms in new bodies.")

2,000 years later, Congressional anti-immigrant Republicans, egged on by powerful anti-immigrant groups such as FAIR (the so-called "Federation for Immigration Reform") are transforming the issue of Border Security from its original form as a legitimate issue for discussion and compromise into its "new body" as a weapon of mass destruction against CIR in its entirety. 

Here for example, is part of a statement by FAIR's president, Dan Stein, in support of a massive new ad campaign which it is running in order to defeat CIR.

"In 1986, the American people were promised border security. Today our borders remain unsecured. Another promise broken"


"It is up to Senator Rubio to begin rebuilding America's trust in our leaders' approach to immigration reform. And he can start by securing our country's borders and enforcing our immigration laws."

The pernicious falsehoods that the Obama admistration is doing nothing to secure the Mexican border and that the Senate Gang of Eight CIR bill is "weak" on border security (even through GOE member Charles Schumer, D-NY has accurately described its border provisions as "tough as nails") are now threatening to bring down CIR entirely.

Politico reports on June 5 that Congressional Republicans are making Border Security a litmus test for immigration reform. See Republicans: Border security a "litmus test" for immigration bill.

As for the Senate, Politico states:

"Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has been shopping around an amendment that would require Congress to vote on whether the border is sufficiently secured, said conservatives are 'very worried' about plans to legalize the undocumented without adequate border security in place first."

And on the House side, Politico writes: 

" 'I want to see border security front and center', said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), chairman of the Republican Study Committee. 'And then you work on other areas.' ".

Just a look at the names of some of the Republican Senators and Representatives whom Politico reports as attending the Republican Study Committee meeting makes it obvious that they are never likely to be satisfied with any Border Security proposal, even if, as President Obama once said, this were to involve building a moat along the Mexican border and filling it with alligators.

These names include staunchly anti-immigrant Republicans such as Senator Jeff Sessions (AL) and Representative Lamar Smith (TX), as well as more moderate GOE members such as Senators Marco Rubio (FL) and Jeff Flake (AZ), who are evidently trying to persuade the hardliners to support a CIR bill which the latter are only looking for every possible excuse to defeat. 

Immigration supporters need to speak out against the Big Shouts and Bad Solutions for Border Security, before all the anti-immigrant BS has a Big Success in Blasting CIR to Smithereens.