Reclaiming America: What`s In That H.R. 4437 Christmas Present? And Will The Senate Grinches Steal It?

also Donald A. Collins:
HR 4437—A CLEAR Victory, If We
Can Keep It

With just four shopping days left before Christmas,
there`s a question on every immigration patriot`s lips:
will America ever get to unwrap its H.R. 4437
Christmas presents? . . . or will the Senate Grinches
steal them first

The House of Representatives
delivered the biggest sack full of immigration law
enforcement goodies America has seen in ten years, by
approving a heavily-amended version of H.R. 4437 on
Friday, December 16.

Even without the

border fence,
it was an unexpected early Christmas

About the successfully hard-fought provision for
building a fence along the entire southern border, Rep.
Tom Tancredo said it best: "What would be the best
Christmas present to the American people is pictures of
concrete being poured."
Criticizes U.S. Immigration Bill Focusing Mostly on
Border Security
," by
Ioan Grillo, Associated Press, December 16, 2005.]

The House passed H.R. 4437 in
record time—just nine business days from start to

The "Border Protection,
Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of
was introduced [PDF]
on December 6 by Rep.

James Sensenbrenner
, Jr. (R-Wisconsin), Chairman of
the House Committee on the Judiciary. The committee
approved it two days later. The House debated a fistful
of amendments to the bill on December 15 and 16 before
calling it quits on a final version.

But I have just one question here:
what exactly is in this bill?

The immigration reform group

Numbers USA
made an heroic effort covering the H.R.
4437 debate last week on an up-to-the-minute

web page
. But without the actual text of the
amendments, we

average citizens
had no way of knowing whether the
executive summaries of the bill actually amend the
Immigration Act as promised, or whether the bill is just
a lot of

hot air. (The text finally became

available today
—Monday, December 19—and I`ll be
commenting on it soon.)

How was the man in the street expected to know what

elected representatives
are really voting

The reality is that we weren`t supposed to know. We`re
just supposed to take the Congressional staffers`
summaries at face value, read the

newspaper headlines
and feel good (or bad, as the
case may be).

Anyone capable of reading the Immigration Act and
connecting the dots—and finding out what the bill really
says—need not apply. Congress to citizens so inclined:
away kid, you bother me

But even without the full text of H.R. 4437, I could
tell you what`s NOT in the bill. I`ll even do it
blindfolded, if you like:

To find out what the EOIR is (Hint: the Department of
Justice`s dreaded Executive Office for Immigration
Review) and why its head should be chopped off instead
being soothed, read my

absolutely definitive essay

Basically, it`s the

bone in the throat
of our


Furthermore, I can tell you one flaw that IS in the

  • As

    last week, H.R. 4437 actually undercuts

    1996 expedited removal authority
    already on the
    new bill only allows the summary removal of illegal
    aliens found within 100 miles of a land border
    within 14 days
    of entry. . . the same standard
    already implemented in

    limited regulations
    by the Department of
    Homeland Security.

The "border crackdown" hype
of H.R. 4437 conceals its destruction of the
summary removal authority already on the
books. H.R. 4437 institutionalizes the "get 100 miles
past the border and you`re home free"
game once and
for all.

What will become of H.R. 4437 now?

A reader sent this gloomy forecast via e-mail:

final straw that broke the camel`s back may emerge
from…ready…the White House.

weeks ago, representatives from the White House and the
Republican National Committee met with the chiefs of
staff of all Republican House members. The staffers were
told that the Sensenbrenner bill, which has 35
co-sponsors, will not pass muster in the Senate, which
comes as no surprise. Indeed, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.)
told me that the Hunter/Goode bill, which would build a

fence along the Mexican border
, `has no support in
the Senate.`

Sensenbrenner bill will probably be emasculated in the
upper chamber and, in all likelihood, die in the
Conference Committee. At that point—probably in late
winter of 2006—the

White House
, claiming that they `tried` to get the
Sensenbrenner bill passed, will introduce its own

guest worker/amnesty
bill. I can say that this
information was passed on by a Republican staffer whose
trustworthiness is beyond cavil.

"As I
write this (Dec. 16) the House is considering scores of
amendments to strengthen or debilitate Sensenbrenner`s
well-intentioned, but incomplete effort. But for those
who think we have reached the Promised Land, I offer two
words of advice: think again."

So here we have H.R. 4437—a pig in a poke because of
those mysterious amendments—probably on its way to being
butchered by the Senate.

But the bill is still the best immigration law
enforcement package to come out of the House of
Representatives in ten years.

Step by hard-fought step,

immigration patriots
are on their way to reclaiming

Juan Mann [email
him] is
an attorney and the proprietor of
He writes a weekly column for
contributes to Michelle Malkin`s

Immigration BLOG