The Fast and the Furious

National Guard soldiers stand near a gas heater at Shelby Park on February 3, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Photo by Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images)

Immigration law is famously byzantine, but two things are already clear about the new Senate bill that was released on Sunday.

Many people have strong opinions about it. Practically none of them have read it.

None except the negotiators, that is. Sen. James Lankford, the lead Republican on the compromise, knows the ins and outs. In an interview on Monday, he struggled to understand why his right-wing critics have dubbed it, essentially sight unseen, a momentous “betrayal” whose defeat has suddenly become an important national priority.

Even by the standards of 2024, reaction to the bill in its first 24 hours has been fast and furious. But that was to be expected: Immigration is the issue about which thoughtful policy making is most urgently needed in America, yet also least possible.

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