Senate Gang of Eight leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has repeatedly suggested he welcomes changes to the Gang of Eight’s “comprehensive” immigration reform bill, claiming the Gang supports an “open and fair” amendment process. Despite repeated public proclamations that the bill is “bipartisan” and that the Gang is committed to improving the amnesty bill, S. 744, they have killed every substantive amendment that would strengthen enforcement and border security.
This orchestrated effort to defeat all amendments that actually require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure the border clearly demonstrates that the “Gang of Eight” is really the “Gang of No” when it comes to border security.
From the outset of the full Senate amendment process, the “Gang of No” abandoned the façade of an “open and fair” amendment process in favor of their amnesty-first, enforcement-maybe agenda. In fact, the Senate rejected by a 57-43 vote on Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) border security amendment—the first amendment offered on the Senate floor—that would have prohibited the DHS Secretary from granting amnesty to illegal aliens until DHS has maintained effective control of the border for at least six months. Predictably, all four Republicans in the Gang of Eight voted “No” on both of these amendments.
And, in two telling votes, the Gang of Eight led the opposition against two amendments that would have simply required DHS to follow current law. Senator John Thune’s (R-SD) amendment to require the construction of half of the 700 miles of reinforced, double-layered fencing along the Southern border—as required by the Secure Fence Act—before granting amnesty was defeated 39-54. Senator David Vitter’s (R-LA) amendment that would prohibit illegal aliens from getting any legal status until a biometric entry-exit system is in place at every land, sea, and air port of entry—known as US-VISIT—was also defeated 36-58.
As demonstrated by its own voting record, the Gang of Eight has unequivocally shown it will stand firm against any attempt to actually enhance border security and interior enforcement. Instead of being receptive to a transparent process to improve the bill, the Gang of Eight has doubled down on their amnesty-first, border security-later approach to “comprehensive” immigration reform. Clearly, the Gang of Eight has demonstrated that they are more accurately known as the “Gang of No.”