A Week In Review: The U.S. Senate Tackles Immigration Reform…But There`s A Flag On The Field, Folks
This past week I saw hard work, healthy debate,
concerted effort and lots of progress…everywhere in the
world save for the United States Senate.
have said it before: If more people watched
C-SPAN instead of QVC, every member of Congress
would be unemployed by Christmas in what I imagine would
look something like a nuclear election holocaust.
BB Side Note: Except for Senators Saxby Chambliss
Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and
Hilary Clinton (D-NY).
Sessions (cutie pies) would survive because unlike
their colleagues, they appear neither retarded nor
confused about the
country for which they work. As for the other two,
Cockroaches and Nuclear Holocaust.
As it stands, the Senate bill (S.2611) looks something
- Illegal immigrants
who have been in the U.S. for more than five years
can stay and eventually become permanent legal
residents and/or citizens—they have to pay a fine,
learn English and pay back taxes.
- Illegal immigrants
who have been here between two and five years have
to leave (only to a port of entry) and apply for
legal entry, which DHS must grant them unless
it can prove that they do not qualify.
(Good luck with that one.)
- Provides for
roughly 200,000 new temporary guest worker visas per
year…every year. These
“temporary guest workers” are entitled to apply for
permanent legal residence after working here for
four years, and they don`t
count against the legal immigration caps.
- Provides guest
worker visas for 1.5 million people
in the field of agriculture—these recipients are
also eligible for legal permanent residency.
- Builds a 370-mile
fence along the Mexican border with another 500
miles of vehicle barriers.
- Illegal immigrants
who have been
convicted of a felony or three
misdemeanors would be deported immediately,
unless their crime was immigration-related.
- Authorizes the
hiring of 1,000 additional border patrol agents (for
a total of 3,000) and adds 14,000 agents by the year
2011 which more than doubles the current number of
agents. (Currently 10,000 for the whole country.)
- Creates more
detention facilities and requires
employers to verify employment eligibility of
new hires via an electronic monitoring system.
- Establishes a
penalty of $20,000 and possible jail time for
employers who hire illegal immigrants.
From what I have seen, there are a few (innumerable)
problems with the existing legislation.
- Illegal immigrants convicted of a felony or
three misdemeanors are not allowed to stay in the
U.S. but there is a giant loophole in that
provision. There are
exceptions for "hardship cases" and those who
were unaware that a
deportation order had been issued in their case.
Hardship is not clearly defined and everybody will claim
ignorance of prior deportation notices—this is a
worthless amendment (or "
as the Senators called it).
- Those who have been in the country more than
five years could be somewhat motivated to apply for residency
although I doubt they will—it is probably in their best
interest to not apply.
don`t pay taxes, they receive free medical care and
a free education for their children without
consequence—why should they fix what isn`t broke?
- Those who have been here more than two but less
than five years have absolutely no reason to leave
the country and apply for legal entry—they will see
it as too great a risk and again, they haven`t had
any consequences so far so why rock the boat?
- Those here less than two years aren`t going
anywhere and everybody knows it.
But these are by far the biggest flaws:
- There is nothing in this bill that requires illegal
immigrants to exercise any of these options.
- There is nothing in this bill that establishes a
consequence for those who do not.
Seriously, what is the point of all this?
Can it really be called immigration reform if the only
reform is to
increase the number of visas
extended to foreign nationals?
And what are the illegal immigrants, their lobbyists and
Mexican politicians saying about all of this?
According to Kathleen Walker Vice President of the
American Immigration Lawyers Association, there
isn`t any incentive for illegal immigrants to follow the
"For those who feel
they have nothing in their home country and have lived
underground for years, how is that an incentive for them
to come forward?" [
Immigrants Fear Guest Worker Program
by Juan A. Lozano and Anabelle Garay, Associated Press, May 21, 2006]
favorite statement (so far) was made by Hector Flores,
President of League of United Latin American Citizens (
Mr. Flores opposes the Sessions amendment which provides
funding for a fence on the border. (
“We are calling upon the
Senate to revisit this amendment which is an affront to
immigrant communities and will create a permanent scar
in the relationship between the United States and our
southern neighbors. Building
a `Berlin` style wall between ourselves and our
neighbor is un-American, undemocratic, and unacceptable
in a free society.”
That`s a good one! Our fence will scar the relationship
between our nations—not the arrogant, criminal behavior
exhibited by illegal immigrants—but our
The fact remains, nobody outside of the Senate is
pleased with this bill as written. Personally, I haven`t
found anything worthwhile except for the deportation of
illegal aliens who have resided here less than two
note: Of course, given the
massive fake documents industry,
it may be that no such persons will be found to exist.]
Now if they could just extend that group to include all
On Monday the Senate debate will resume and Majority
Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has pledged to pass a bill by
If the political discourse continues the present track,
a bill may find its way out of the Senate—but
immigration reform will not.
VDARE.com will continue our live blogging of the Senate
all week so tune in for updates…if you can stomach it.
Bryanna Bevens [email
her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff
for a member of the California State Assembly.