Hugh Hewitt

It is easy to agree with Bill Kristol, editor of the WeeklyStandard, and Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, that the Senate immigration bill should die a quick death in the House. There was much that was good in the bill, but it didn't mandate a border fence, and the vast length of the bill are equally sufficient reasons to judge the bill a giant head-fake. The Gang of 8 should have known that the former was an absolute necessity, and the latter a death knell in the age of “We have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.”

Unlike some anti-reform voices, however, I and I think most conservative pundits believe the House GOP needs to take up and pass serious but sensible immigration reform. The reasons for doing so are numerous and for the most-part self-evident. Senator Marco Rubio made a great case for reform, even though he and his colleagues didn’t make a great bill. That case is the subject of a long article I just published in theRegent Law School Journal of Law and Public Policy and the outlines of the general argument are well known. But --a crucial "but"-- the base is increasingly insistent on reform and border security. (One example of one very influential voice in favor of reform is Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput. The GOP ignores the growing Catholic-evangelical consensus on the need for reform at its own peril.)

As the House turns to the subject, however, the key precondition of a successful immigration reform effort remains in doubt: a long, strong double-layered border fence, mandated to run at least half the length of the border, with appropriated funding, authority to override other statutes that could block its construction such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, mapped to cross tribal lands without hesitation and citizen-standing provisions to assure that that which is promised is actually done.

(Read National Review's Jonathan Strong's piece on why a citizen-standing provision would get the fence built. Citizen standing is a feature of any statute the Congress really cares to see implemented. It was not part of the fence act of 2006 and –what a surprise—that fence didn’t get built.)

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Hugh Hewitt's new book is The War On The West.