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IMMIGRATION REFORM: Here comes the bill

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, April 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The one, definitive fact of the Senate's massive immigration bill, should it see the light of day, will be its enormous cost. The ditch diggers of deficit spending already have seen to that.

By specifying the bill's spending as “emergency requirements,” the 844-page measure skirts spending caps designated under the Budget Control Act of 2011, according to Romina Boccia of The Heritage Foundation. To be exempt, the so-called “emergency” must be unforeseen, temporary and require immediate action; the immigration bill meets none of those criteria.

As yet, the Congressional Budget Office hasn't tallied the bill's full tab. But a Senate aide puts the estimated cost at $17 billion over a decade, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Among some of the bill's more questionable allocations:

• Grants “as necessary” for people in border regions to have satellite telephone service because they don't have cellular service.

• Funds “as necessary” to upgrade the Justice Department's communications network.

• A $50 million subsidy for nonprofits to assist “eligible” immigration applicants to understand and abide by the new law.

Any senator with two cents of smarts can simply oppose the bill's “emergency” designation, which would then require a vote by 60 senators to waive this point of order.

And when will that happen? When illegal aliens start climbing U.S. border fences to get back into Mexico.

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