Randall has his usual solid coverage.
The Senate passed the bill to build 700 miles of fencing along various parts of the US-Mexico border 80-19. This session of Congress did not see tougher punitions on and enforcement of employers of illegal immigrants, nor did the Senate carry through on the House push for empowering local authorities to arrest people solely for illegal residency status.
But that several open-borders Senators acquiesced to the partial fence illustrates how trenchant public sentiment has become on the immigration issue. John McCain and Sam Brownback, both '08 hopefuls and bona fide open-borders advocates, voted 'yea'.
Most Democratic Senators and all Republicans except for Chafee up for re-election this cycle voted in favor of the bill. The Dems:
Akaka, HI - Nay (immigration isn't a salient issue on the islands, and as a centerpiece of Akaka's campaign has been to point out that he's a native Hawaiian and his Democratic opponent is white, his vote isn't surprising)
Bingamen, NM - Nay (from the only state in the Union, so appropriately named, that has more Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites)
Byrd, WV - Yea (he always votes with the pro-sovereignty crowd)
Cantwell, WA - Nay (d'oh)
Carper, DE - Yea
Clinton, NY - Yea (on both sides of the aisle, every prospective President voted for the bill)
Conrad, ND - Yea
Dayton, MN - Yea
Feinstein, CA - Yea
Kennedy, MA - No vote (not going to lose his seat irrespective of his vote, but as the most vociferous champion of unfettered immigration in the Senate, his absence is noteworthy)
Kohl, WI - Yea
Lieberman, CT - Nay (No wonder he's going to be booted--how many harmful, unpopular stances can he take on the issues?)
Menendez, NJ - Nay (When the name ends in "z", well...)
Nelson, FL - Yea
Nelson, NE - Yea
Sarbanes, MD - Nay (on his way out. Keep your eye on what lobbying interest scoops him up next year--the Chamber of Commerce or KPMG?)
Stabenow, MI - Yea
If the recondite world of Congressional legislation keeps you from contacting your representatives on immigration issues, sign up on NumbersUSA's action alert list. Roy Beck's group alerts you to upcoming votes on the floors and also to those in committee involving one of your representatives. Numbers sets up form faxes for you to send, but also allows you to personalize your correspondence (throw in a couple lines about another issue distinct from immigration--it'll increase the salience by making a form response more difficult).
This is an encouraging victory. Keep the pressure on.