“The Americans will always do the right thing,” Winston Churchill (who was half-American) once declared, “after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”

The Senate proved today—in passing a massive, complicated, budget-busting bill that fails to fix our flawed immigration system and broken borders—that it has not yet exhausted all its alternatives.

Instead, the Senate delivered a monstrosity of a measure that takes the worst from the failed “amnesty-first” formula tried in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and pairs it with the politics of Obamacare—layering in backroom deals and Rube Goldberg-style mechanisms for funding and enforcing the law.

This bill heads to the House now. Whether or not all the Senators read the 1,000-plus pages, they are responsible for it. The bill is:

  • Amnesty first. Starting with amnesty undermines every effort to gain control of our borders, restore respect for our laws, and treat fairly the millions who have legitimately waited in line for their shot at the American Dream. It is also unfair to those who decided not to come to this country illegally.
  • Bad for the budget. The Senate voted to waive no fewer than 22 budget points of order to move the bill. Not only does the legislation make a mockery of the Budget Control Act of 2011 with bloated “emergency spending,” but it is also packed with pork and would balloon long-term spending on government benefits and entitlements by trillions of dollars.
  • A failure to fix a big problem. At best, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that this bill would reduce illegal immigration by a paltry 25 percent—and that is if the Administration delivers fully, on time, on every security measure promised in the bill.

The House should reject the idea that amnesty is a model for immigration reform. Instead, Congress should pick a positive path to reform.