One could teach an entire civics course on the immigration debate still winding its way through Congress, but no exchange is more symptomatic of our federal government’s current dysfunction than the following discussion between conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., about the immigration bill’s provisions concerning the border fence.
Hewitt: “I’ve been through the law very carefully. … They actually don’t have to do anything. In fact, I was going to ask you, what if they don’t turn in a strategy in 180 days? What’s the law’s penalty?”
Hoeven: “They’d be breaking the law.”
Hewitt: “But what’s the penalty?”
Hoeven: “Well, you’d obviously have to enforce the law … I mean, that would be saying any law we passed, what if they don’t bother to enforce it.”
What if Congress passed a law and a president signed it, but then a future president chose to completely ignore that perfectly valid law? This is a question our legislators fail to ask far too often.
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