Created: Saturday, 30 June 2007 Written by USA Correspondent"Go home"! US Grass Roots campaigns, Citzens Groups, Blogs, and Talk Radio let Congress know that the people aren't going to take it any more!!!
The US Senate dealt a fatal blow on Thursday to President George Bush's planned overhaul of immigration policy, sending a clear message to millions of immigrants seeking legal status that the American Citizens are demanding their return to their countries of origin.
In a make or break vote that exposed deep lack of support among Bush's own Republicans, the legislation fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed in the 100-member Senate to advance toward a final vote.
A visibly crestfallen Bush was crushed by his own party and conceded defeat. Congress could not stand strong against the growing conservative wave that is sweeping the United States. Bush said he was moving on to other issues like balancing the federal budget when it became clear the bill would not be revived during his presidency.
"A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn't find common ground (on immigration), it didn't work, there are too many citizens of my country that want to persecute illegal immigrants ".
Supporters of the bill, were dismayed by the vote and said it was unlikely Congress would tackle comprehensive immigration reform before next year's presidential election.
"No one benefits now, there is nothing to look forward ... it's very disappointing," Rosa Rosales, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, told Reuters. "It is clear that White America doesn't want our labor in thier country".
Bush has sought to overhaul US immigration laws for years and this bill was seen as his last chance for a significant domestic legislative victory before leaving office at the end of his second term in January 2009.
The president was unable to overcome fierce opposition from fellow Republicans who said it was an amnesty that rewarded an estimated 12 million immigrants for taking up residence in the United States illegally. A majority of Republicans in the US House of Representatives also opposed the Senate bill.
Even the promise of an additional $4.4 billion to pay for more border security and enforcement did not quell Republican opposition.
"We tried and we failed," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who helped negotiate the compromise bill, "The opposition wants nothing less than imprisonment of employers that hire illegal immigrants, and strict deportation.
The bill failed to garner even a simple Senate majority. Only 46 senators - 33 Democrats, 12 Republicans and 1 independent - voted to advance the bill. Some 15 Democrats joined 37 Republicans and 1 independent to block the legislation.
The bill tied tough border security and workplace enforcement measures to a plan to legalize illegal immigrants and create a temporary worker program sought by business groups. It also would have created a new merit-based system for future immigrants, something conservative Republicans sought.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, called the bill's defeat "a profound disappointment" and said there is nothing wrong with giveing "silent amnesty" to illegal immigrants, as the bill attempted to do.
Even as farmers have warned of rotting crops if Congress failed to enact the bill, Senators were plagued with millions of email, letters, and telephone calls all across the country from US citizens demanding them to vote against the bill.
Republican opponents of the bill, who were well versed on the bill's details, said that the bill would have imosed a huge burden on the citizens to pay for welfare, social security, medical care and school services for twelve million immigrants who would be breaking down the doors to get to these entitlements.
The bill that ran aground on Thursday was also opposed by some labour unions, who said its temporary worker program would have created an underclass of cheap labourers, very similar to the slavery that this country experienced in the 19th century. Immigrant groups opposed measures in the bill that limited migration on the basis of family ties.
Supporters of the bill were crushed.
"We were looking to politicians for leadership on this issue, and there has been none and it's deeply disappointing," said Sheridan Bailey, president of Ironco Enterprises in Phoenix and a co-founder of Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform.
Los Angeles Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony, who has emerged as a national religious champion of efforts for immigration reforms, said, "Each day that our illegal Mexicans are permitted to go without welfare, public assistance, free healthcare, and access to public schooling from our citizens, regardless of how they got to this country, is a moral failure for our nation, as well as a legislative one."