Yesterday, seemingly unperturbed by the recent failure of immigration-as-a-wedge efforts at the ballot box, Senate Republicans introduced their most jerkily reactive set of immigration bills yet. One would dock 10% of highway funding from states that provide driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Another would end language assistance at federal agencies and the voting booth for people with limited proficiency in English. Still another would block federal funding to cities that bar police from asking about peoples’ immigration status (a proposal not only fraught with public-safety issues, but one that would also dry up anti-terror funds for cities most at risk–New York, Los Angeles, et cetera).
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is leading the crusade, with a bill that would impose a maximum two-year prison sentence on someone caught illegally crossing the border for the second time. (That would, after all, only cost the federal government some $44,500 per detainee.)
Last year, commenting on his decision (along with 36 other Republicans) to scuttle Senate immigration reform, Sessions declared that “[he] was not going to support a piece of legislation that will not work.” It’s unclear how bullying states and cities that recognize immigration is a serious, human issue–and treat it as such–increases his credibility (or that of his party) on that account.