We're all preoccupied with the war in the Middle East, so it's probably not unusual that we've taken our eye off the immigration story. However, that is no excuse for the U.S. Senate to take back a promise on its immigration reform law.

The Senate promised to build a 370-mile fence on the border with Mexico as part of a plan to shore up the most porous sections of the 2,000-mile southern border. The 370-mile fence is about a fifth of what needs to be done, but the experts told the Senate it was enough for now. A good down payment.

So the Senate voted for it. As you know, immigration reform is now in the hands of a conference committee of the Senate and House — not big hopes there since the House is dead set against a Senate plan which is heavy on guest-worker programs and light on border enforcement.

Thursday's vote is going to make it worse. That's because even though the Senate voted for 370 miles of fence, Thursday it voted down a proposal to actually spend the money to build it.

That's right. Your United States Senate said we want 370 miles of fence, but we won't vote to spend the money to build it.

It wasn't enough in the first place, but now it isn't anything. No fence will be built if there is no money for it.

What happened to the money? The Senate voted to spend it on new Border Patrol agents and new detention facilities.

If I didn't know better I'd say it was featherbedding: Border Patrol agents and jailers using the money to pay for more hiring in their departments and leaving the border open so they're sure to have more customers, more illegals.

That's the way it's going to work out. The border will remain wide open under the Senate plan but we'll have more agents to catch illegals and more facilities to house them until we send them back to try it all over again.

I know, I know. That sounds dumber than dumb. But it is your U.S. Senate at work so please give this compromise the respect its authors deserve. What is that exactly? You might want to consider who you vote for in the fall.

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