Letters Extra: Border vote for tea-party backers

At the wall separating the U.S. and Mexican border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

The U.S. Senate immigration bill is tough but fair. It would bring 11 million undocumented workers out of the shadows and require them to pay fines, fees, taxes, learn English and civics, and take a nearly 10-year path to getting their green card. It would also secure the border. The Congressional Budget Office indicates the bill will decrease the federal budget deficit by $197 billion in the next 10 years due to the additional collections of income and payroll taxes from undocumented workers on the tough but fair path to citizenship.

This bill took great time and effort for senators to craft a compromise. However, last week border-security amendments were offered by Sens. John Thune (R., S.D.) and David Vitter (R., La.) with the aim of upsetting the balance and stalling the legislation. The Thune-Vitter amendments would prevent undocumented immigrants from being granted provisional status until half of a 700-mile reinforced, double-layered fence along the southern border is constructed, and biometric fingerprint and iris scan technology is installed, respectively. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), by voting for these poison-pill proposals, placed unachievable benchmarks on the path to citizenship.

The fate of millions shouldn't be dependent on circumstances beyond their control. Toomey knows this bill is a balance, but backed Thune and Vitter to appease his tea-party base. Throughout our country's history, immigrants have arrived on the bottom rung and moved up. Toomey's vote indicates he is comfortable keeping this generation of immigrants in a permanent underclass.

Judith LaLonde, Havertown