Thursday, June 07, 2007

Kill the Senate Immigration Bill

OK, well it seems they did. Anyway, that was the topic of my column in today's Potomac News, "Kill the Immigration Bill", which I excerpt below. I am somewhat "pro-amnesty", if you've read my previous recommendations you would see that I support a limited amnesty for long-term illegal residents.

My view is that if you've been here 5 years and held a job and not caused trouble, we've kind of encouraged your stay by not doing anything about it, kind of like "squatter's rights". It is true, the reason so many illegals are here is that America through it's government has turned a blind eye to their presence, based on the notion they are more help than harm, or just out of laziness.

Anyway, here's excerpts from my column, where I argue that the senate bill is way too bad to even be amended into shape:

... when I first heard about the senate immigration bill, it sounded like it could be made to work. Supporters said it had much of what I wanted -- strong enforcement, a border fence, only non-criminals allowed, fines, back taxes, a separate temporary guest worker program without permanent resident status.

But it turns out that is not true. The bill has almost none of those things, and is an insult to those who support the sane middle ground on this issue. The bill is so bad it can't possibly be fixed by amendments. As much as I hate to say it, we need to throw out this bill, so we can get serious and write a bill that really deals with the problem.


Let's start with the basic premise -- we want to stop new illegal immigration. But according to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill will at best only stop 25 percent. Some people would give amnesty in exchange for closing our borders -- but this bill doesn't come close.

... none of the "triggers" requires actual enforcement. The DHS Secretary must certify the triggers are "established, funded, and operational," but as Rep. Lamar Smith notes, "not that they are effective in controlling the border and preventing further illegal immigration."

Worse, the illegal immigrants get amnesty (the new probationary "z-visa") the day the bill is signed, before any "triggers" are met. We want to keep out criminals, but the government has only one day for a background check.


We want immigrants to speak English. But Sen. Jeff Sessions says "Illegal aliens are not required to demonstrate any proficiency in English for more than a decade after they are granted amnesty." Those on probation don't have to learn at all -- they just have to be on a "waiting list" for English classes.

... This bill grants amnesty to everybody who's been here since January, and doesn't even require them to pay back taxes. Worse, they have two years to come forward; so many more can sneak in and get amnesty by lying on the form.


Illegal immigrants don't even go to the back of the line! Once people who legally applied before 2005 are processed, those here illegally get to cut in front of those legally waiting the past two years. Those who applied and waited their turn are stuck behind those who are here illegally. The bill rewards lawbreakers over those who followed the law.


There's no reason to rush an immigration bill. The main enforcement provisions (fence, more agents, and more detention facilities) are already law, and just need to be enforced. The illegal immigrants have survived 20 years "in the shadows";they'll last a while longer. This bill is a failure -- we need to kill it and start over.

There was a lot more, follow the link to the Potomac News website to read the entire column in context.

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