A reader writes:
"Do you happen to know if funding for putting the National Guard on the border is appropriated in the Senate bill? (I suspect it is.) If so, the House would have to vote for a guestworker program to get any hope of enforcement, no?"
A reader responds:
I'm a regular reader of your site who happens to be in the congressional appropriations business. The short answer to his question is no. Appropriations are in a process entirely separate from the immigration bill. If the Guard were required to carry out this mission, however, it raises a lot of questions about funds, since activating Guard units typically carries considerable personnel costs and other needs. There has been a lot of discussion up here on the Hill this spring about the Guard being underfunded--the Administration sent up a budget proposal that assumes a far lower end strength for the Guard than will likely be the case. But the other fact to consider is that the appropriations process could give opponents of enforcement another crack at the issue after any immigration bill is passed, by proposing amendments that would block the use of funds for the Guard to carry out the mission. And even if they fail, there's no guarantee the Guard could sustain the mission without compromising overseas deployments and natural disaster responses.