Ten Reasons The Amnesty/Immigration Surge Bill Is Appalling



[Previously by "An Economist":


George Will Can`t Count—Deportation No Problema]

I have examined the

proposed new immigration law
and have read many
critiques and defenses of it. The following points are
an attempt to answer some of the key questions
surrounding the new bill. So far, the White House has
enjoyed some success in

spreading myths
about the new bill. Most of these
myths are deflated by

examining the literal language of the bill
or
considering how it will actually work in practice. As a
quick summary, this is a pure Amnesty bill with nothing
else of substance in it. The points:

1.
Amnesty
—Amazingly there still seems to be some
debate about

whether this bill is an Amnesty bill
. Let there be
no equivocation. This is

Instant Amnesty, pure and simple
for essentially
every illegal alien in the US and every illegal who gets
in for the next year or two. Indeed, the drafters of
this legislation make it very clear that Amnesty is the
primary (really only) goal of this bill. The very first
sentence (I am not kidding) states that the Instant
Amnesty is not subject to any "triggers" or other
delays. Section 601(h) which defines the Amnesty makes
it clear that there are no fines, penalties, etc.
associated with the Instant Amnesty. That`s right, none
at all.

To be precise 601(h) gives each and
every illegal alien (with fraudulent documentation, that
means all of them) immediate and free "probationary
status"
entitling them to live and work in the US.
At some point, "probationary status" expires and
the now-legal alien has to convert to

"Z-nonimmigrant"
status and pay a fine of $1000
(only $500 for illegal family members, see 601(e)(6)(B).
However, does anyone really believe that these fines are
going to be collected? Or that illegals who don`t
convert are going to be deported?

After granting Amnesty for free,
are Teddy Kennedy, John McCain, or George Bush going to
deny the illegals the next step "on the path to
citizenship"
? Wouldn`t that be unfair? Forcing
people back into the shadows? Breaking up families? Note
that Senator Martinez has already proposed removing the
fines. The stark unreality of this (other than the
Amnesty) is nicely contained in the following language
from the bill.

"Departure
from the United States
- Any alien whose period of
authorized admission or probationary benefits is
terminated under paragraph (1), as well as the alien`s
Z-2 or Z-3 nonimmigrant dependents, shall depart the
United States immediately"

Does anyone believe that after 40
years of virtually no immigration enforcement, future
illegal aliens (who were previously legal) are going to
pack up and go home because an obscure phrase in a 347
page bill?

Whether the rather hypothetical,
eventual $1000 (or less) fine makes this bill less of an
Amnesty each reader will have to decide. Do we really
sell our borders for $1000? Can I steal a car or hold up
a liquor store and pay a $1000 fine?

Note that it is not quite clear if
the $500/$1000 fines are due immediately when the
initial application for "probationary status" is
filed (and granted in 24 hours) or later when processing
of Z nonimmigrant applications is completed. A recent
NYT
article asserted the latter, which was my
initial understanding. However, I can`t verify this from
the text of the law. In any case, they can be paid in
installments….

2. More
Amnesty
—Aside from the Instant Amnesty, there is a
deeper point. This bill rewards illegal behavior with
"the fruits of the crime
." If I steal a car,
an Amnesty might keep me out of jail. However, do I get
to retain the car? If I kidnap and rape a woman, an
Amnesty might keep me out of prison for life. However,
does the law hand her back to me? If I cheat on my
taxes, Amnesty might enable me to avoid penalties and
interest. However, I still have to pay any amount due.
By contrast, this bill rewards each and every illegal
alien with permanent US residence.

So in some sense, it really isn`t
Amnesty, but more Amnesty++ or Amnesty with the

lottery jackpot thrown in
. Other folks have used
Amnesty + Christmas to describe the rewards provided to
illegal aliens under this bill.

Even the $1000/$500 fines (assuming
they are ever collected) are a farce. Obviously, illegal
aliens have earned far more than $1000/$500 working in
the US and imposed considerably greater costs on
American society. To put this in perspective, if I steal
$10,000 and then have to return $1,000, is that really a
fine or just a partial repayment of my ill-gotten gains?

3. Even
More Amnesty
—This bill also grants Amnesty to every

corporate exploiter of illegal aliens
. The details
(and there are plenty) really don`t matter. If you
profited from breaking our laws and exploiting illegals,
your ill-gotten gains are home free. Clearly, this will
encourage corporations to fully enforce our immigration
laws in the future…

4. Gang
Membership
—This nation is now plagued by extremely
violent (they
mutilate their victims
) illegal alien gangs. How
would this bill address this quite serious problem? By
giving illegal alien gang members legal US residence and
a "path to citizenship". Not exactly a plus,
given that all illegal alien gang members are subject to
deportation now, and a few are actually deported (most
are protected by

sanctuary policies
). See

Rewarding Lawbreakers
[NY Post, May 21, 2007]by

Kris Kobach
(John Ashcroft`s

chief advisor on immigration law
)


"Deporting illegal-alien gang members has been a top ICE
priority. This bill would end that: Under it, a gang
member qualifies for the Z-visa privileges as long as he
simply signs a "renunciation of gang affiliation." He
can keep his tattoos."

Now, under the terms of the bill
gang members who have committed serious crimes will not
be eligible for Amnesty. Is this helpful? No,

under existing law they are already deportable.

Indeed, the bill makes the gang problem considerably
worse. How? The community networks that support these
gang members will only expand via the Amnesty further
embedding these criminals in our nation even if they
don`t get Amnesty. Worse, many will marry (if

only on paper
) and bear children (even if they
contribute nothing to them) and use these marriages and
children to

avoid deportation.

Worse, the bill gives the US
government just 24 hours to determine if an illegal
alien is eligible or not. This means that
most gang members
will get an ID card entitling them
to remain in the US. The bill does allow these cards to
be cancelled if subsequent evidence shows that the
illegal alien is ineligible for Amnesty. However, the US
government has no way to retrieve the cards handed out
to

MS-13 members
. Worse, vast numbers of
gang criminals
will fall through the cracks of the
system simply because the US government simply has no
way to check the 12-20 million Amnesty requests that
will flood the system.

There is nothing in this bill that
will actually prevent illegal alien gang members from
applying for Amnesty using fake IDs (massively
available via the underground economy
). Of course,
these applications may be detected via a fingerprint
check. However, if the fingerprint check fails or the
government doesn`t have the fingerprints on file, the
gang member is home free. Even if the fingerprint check
works, there are no substantive consequences; the gang
member simply continues to enjoy the 3 million square
mile sanctuary known as the United States.

Senator Cornyn has proposed to

deny Amnesty to all gang members.
While this is a
nice idea, it is unlikely to work. If a gang member
hasn`t been convicted of a serious crime, how exactly is
the US government going to prove that an illegal alien
is a gang member?

Tattoo analysis
? Actually, that would work, but
isn`t very likely. Is the US government really going to
even try to detect gang members amidst 12-20 million
Amnesty requests. Since the bill provides for many
layers of appeal, is it really possible for the
government to deny Amnesty to any illegal alien gang
member? And again, even if all of the appeals fail, the
gang member simply remains here in the US as an illegal
alien.

5.
Terrorism
—Clearly our nation is threatened by
illegal alien terrorists as the recent

Fort Dix plot showed
. Of course, terrorists have
been exploiting our absurdly lax immigration laws for
years. The Center for Immigration Studies found no fewer
than 94 terrorists who exploited our immigration system
from the early 1990s onward (see

Immigration and Terrorism Moving Beyond the 9/11 Staff
report on Terrorist Travel
 September 2005 By Janice L. Kephart).
Since the CIS report was issued in 2005, it missed the

latest batch of wannabe killers.

Sadly, the immigration bill would
reward most (almost all?) illegal alien terrorists with
legal US residence and a "path to citizenship".
Not exactly a plus for the American people. Indeed, this
bill is huge step backwards in the War on Terror. This
isn`t exactly a hypothetical point. Terrorists have
repeatedly benefited from Amnesty programs (see the CIS
report above) in the past.

Now, under the terms of the bill,
illegal alien terrorists will not be eligible for
Amnesty. Is this helpful? No, under existing law they
are already deportable. However, the real problem is
that US government doesn`t have a database of every
terrorist in the US or worldwide. As a practical matter,
the only illegal aliens who will be denied Amnesty will
be those for whom the government has their fingerprints
on file. Clearly, in some cases a fingerprint match will
identify a terrorist. What will happen at that point?
The terrorist will most likely resume his life as an
illegal alien.

Indeed, in one critical respect the
Amnesty bill cripple the War on Terror at home. Right
now, if the US government detects an illegal alien
terrorist, the government is quite free to remove the
terrorist by enforcing immigration law (and this is
actually done if the illegal is Arab/Muslim). The
government doesn`t have to prove that bad guy is
terrorist, illegal alien status is more than enough to
enable deportation. This rather useful power would be
lost under the Amnesty bill. Of course, the government
can still try to prove that the illegal is a terrorist.
However, this is rather hard and leads to endless
appeals that amount to "it
ain`t over until the illegal wins
"
. Worse, the
government may have to disclose evidence (wiretaps,
informants, etc.) that pertain to ongoing
investigations.

Will this bill make it easier for
an illegal alien terrorist to operate in the US? Yes,
the community networks that support illegal alien
terrorists will only expand via the Amnesty further
embedding these criminals in our nation even if they
don`t get Amnesty. Note that chain migration from
countries involved in terrorism would continue (and
indeed accelerate) under this bill.

Once again, there is nothing in
this bill to prevent illegal alien terrorists from
applying for Amnesty using fake IDs… Or exploiting the
24 hour deadline for an ID card…Or falling through the
cracks as the government rubber stamps 12-20 million
Amnesty requests… Note that the same government
bureaucracy that

gave Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi visas
six
months

after 9-11

will be responsible for making sure that terrorists gain
Amnesty under the new law. Sort of gives you a warm and
fuzzy feeling.

6.
Compromise
—This bill has been repeated touted as a
"compromise". Is this true? Yes, in the same way
that the

Molotov-Ribbentrop
Pact was a "compromise"
for the peoples of Europe. Stated differently, the Cheap
Labor, Pro-Amnesty Republicans got together with the
Pro-Amnesty, Cheap Labor Democrats to draft their dream
immigration bill (and throw a few crumbs to the American
people). There is no evidence that any Democrats (Dorgan,
Nelson, etc.) or Republicans (Grassley, Sessions, etc.)
who oppose Amnesty and cheap labor immigration were even
allowed to participate in the discussions. By contrast,
Ted Kennedy has stated that race oriented ("La
Raza Unida"
) Hispanic groups were given a veto
over the bills provisions…

The bill is amazingly weak on
border security (much weaker than current law) and
contains a questionable plan for verifying employment.
Several crucial enforcement issues aren`t even mentioned
in the bill. These include Visa Entry/Exit matching
(mandated by Congress back in 1996 and still not
implemented), interior enforcement (dealing with
illegals who get past the border), sanctuary policies
(still allowed), using local law enforcement (using
traffic stops to identify illegals, allowing local
police to turn illegals over to the government),
birth-right citizenship, etc.

In all fairness, a few provisions
do seem to be some type of compromise. For example, the
rather modest shift towards a merit oriented immigration
system was a concession on the part of the Democrats as
was the "guest worker" plan. The "guest
worker"
plan has now been reduced by the Bingham
amendment, although one suspects that this was really
part of the original deal (the Bingaman amendment easily
passed last year as well).

7.
Comprehensive
—This bill has been repeatedly sold as
"comprehensive". Is it? No, and the backers don`t
believe it for a moment. Indeed, they know better. If
they really believed that this bill was comprehensive,
they would have delayed the Amnesty until the border was
actually secure (say a 90% reduction in illegal entry)
and employer sanctions were known to be working.
Instead, the bill calls for Instant Amnesty, and a
promise that eventually we will have an employment
verification system. The bill doesn`t even pretend to
secure the border and indeed, may well weaken border
security. Of course, it also fails to address Visa
Entry/Exit matching, interior enforcement, sanctuary
policies, local law enforcement support, birth-right
citizenship, etc.

Stated differently, can any really
claim that a bill that provides near 100% Instant
Amnesty and fences only 19% of the border someday,
maybe, is really comprehensive?

8.
Triggers
—The bill contains both border security and
Employment Eligibility Verification Systems (EEVS)
triggers. The border security provisions include 370
miles of single-layer fence (versus the 854 miles of
fence already mandated by law) and hiring more border
patrol agents (5000 – 6000 new agents for a total of
18,000). The EEVS will in theory prevent illegal aliens
from getting jobs in the US in the future.

The proponents of this bill claim
that the triggers must be in place before the Amnesty
occurs. They are either lying or fundamentally ignorant.
The absolute first words of the bill are

Secure
Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act
of 2007


SEC. 1. EFFECTIVE DATE TRIGGERS.

(a) With the exception of the probationary benefits
conferred by Section 601(h)

Section 601(h) is the Instant
Amnesty. It is specifically exempted from any triggers.
I leave it to the reader to decide if Bush is lying or
fundamentally ignorant.

An even deeper point is that the
triggers don`t actually do anything. They are
bureaucratic fluff, not testable mandates for actual
border security and employment verification. If massive
illegal immigration continues, that`s OK under the terms
of the law. If the EEVS fails to stop illegal hiring,
that`s not a problem either. A serious bill would
include triggers based on actual results, not
appearances.

The triggers do materially impact
one aspect of this bill–the "guest worker" plan
can not go into effect until the triggers are in place.
Indeed, the Washington Post has already denounced
the triggers because

"In
other words, the department`s failure to satisfy the
legislation`s so-called triggers could mean an ongoing
influx of illegal immigrants and more deaths in the
desert or, if the new fencing is effective, a critical
shortage of low-skilled labor in

construction
, landscaping, hospitality and other
industries."
[Trigger-Happy,
May 19, 2007]

This quote should demonstrate the
depths of cheap labor thinking in Washington.

9.
Border Security
—Will this bill secure the border?
Clearly not, and none of its advocates think it will.
Worse, many (most? all?) of them don`t want to secure
the border. Obviously, 370 miles of fence can not secure
a 1,951 mile border. Nor will the cameras, vehicle
barriers, and

4 UAVs
suffice. Indeed, in many respects this bill
will materially weaken border security.  

Existing

legislation calls for 854 miles of fence
. To date,
the Bush administration has dragged its heels on
appropriating funds and even with funds in hand
(apparently $1 billion), building the fence. Apparently
only 2 miles of fence have been completed so far. When
Congress mandated the 854 mile fence, the clear intent
was to build a double-layer fence. A

double-layer fence
allows the border patrol to
easily apprehend illegals between the fences. A
single-layer fence (while still valuable if well built)
allows them to escape into the desert.

It should be clear that the Bush
administration intends to build 370 miles of fence and
stop. Since 370 miles of fence are needed for the
"guest worker"
plan, some fencing is very likely to
be built. However, barring a sea change in the White
House, the rest of the fence will be abandoned. John
McCain expressed the attitude of the pro-Amnesty groups
with his statement

"I
think the fence is least effective. But I`ll build the
goddamned fence if they want it"
[Prisoner
of Conscience,
 Vanity Fair, February 2007]

Of course, John McCain does
understand that fences work, and work quite well. He
strongly supports Israel`s fence. See "McCain:
Fence is important to Israel`s security
,
By
Ellis Shuman, Israel Insider, August 18, 2003.

A reasonable counterpoint is that
without the "guest worker" triggers, essentially
no fencing at all would be built. True enough. However,
this also demonstrates how little Bush cares about a
secure border.

The bill requires that 18,000
border patrol agents be in place before the "guest
worker"
plan starts. As a consequence, these agents
will probably be hired. However, the value of these
agents can be easily overstated. Say 16,000 agents work
on the southern border. That works out to 8 agents per
mile. However, no more than 25% of the border patrol is
on duty at any time (they sleep too). This means that
even with the new agents, we will have 2 agents per mile
on our Southern border… And very little fencing to act
as a force multiplier.

A deeper point is that the Amnesty
will inevitably attract legions of new illegals. The


"Following the Amnesty Trail"
article made
it abundantly clear that the promise of Amnesty attracts
illegals. The reality should work even better. Any
country that wants secure borders must make it clear by
word and deed that there is no reward for violating its
laws. The Amnesty bill is the exact opposite.

To secure the border we do need
more border patrol agents. Indeed, the Amnesty bill
provides for 14,000 new agents ("subject to the
availability of appropriations"
). However, we also
need a "comprehensive" fence and other measures.
The keys are interior enforcement, employer sanctions,
and actual penalties for illegal entry.

Right now the border patrol
operates works on an "it ain`t over until the illegal
gets in"
basis. In other words, illegal aliens are
allowed to try to get past the border any number of
times. Once they do, they are home free because the
border patrol is forbidden to detain illegals away from
the border (they

aren`t allowed to chase them,
either) and the rest
of the US acts as a 3 million square mile sanctuary.

This doesn`t work. We must have a
system where illegals are identified and removed from
anywhere and everywhere in the US. Notably, La Migra
(the INS) used to deport illegals anywhere in the US.
This policy was phased out in favor of tighter border
enforcement.

Of course, we need employer
sanctions. However, actual penalties for illegals are
needed as well. In theory, illegals can be criminally
prosecuted for multiple attempted entries into the US.
In practice, they are not. Some have been arrested 20
times. Some have been arrested and deported several
times in one day. However, they are de facto
never punished for violating our laws and borders. One
reasonable approach would be to impose a lifetime ban
from the US for the first offence, and jail time for
subsequent offences. Actually, I favor jail time for all
non-Western Hemisphere illegals for even the first
offence. Far too many are coming from "countries
supporting terrorism
."

10.
Shadows
—Perhaps the most common rationale for
Amnesty is that "we need to bring these people out of
the Shadows"
. However, to state the obvious, what
shadows? George Will wrote an article about this titled


Out of What `Shadows`
? [Newsweek, June 4,
2007]. He notes

"This
rhetoric reached comic absurdity when

CNN interviewed Chuy Arias of Los Angeles
. He said
on camera that he has been here illegally for 12 years.
Referring to him, with the delicacy that serves a
political agenda, as an "undocumented worker," today`s
synonym for "illegal immigrant," CNN`s reporter said
Arias was eager to "come out of the shadows."

So,
Arias can simultaneously be "in the shadows" and
discussing his illegal status on worldwide television.
Who knew?"

Of course, hundreds of thousands of
illegals have marched in

"immigrant`s rights"
demonstrations
without any apparent fear
of being arrested and deported. In real life, they know
that state and local sanctuary policies

protect them
and that they are very likely to remain
in the US even if they commit serious crimes—including
felonies.

The idea that illegal aliens have a

right to legal status in the US is clearly absurd.

No one has the right to

invade a foreign country
and claim a right to stay
there. Of course, this kind of thinking has been
embraced by much of the multi-cultural left and the
globalist corporate right. However, virtually no one in
mainstream political life dares to embrace this ideology
(even though it is obvious that Bush and many other do
in fact think this way).

As a consequence, the

"Shadows" argument

is stated as "we need to know who these people are."
However, this argument is deeply flawed. First, the bad
folks already known to the government (via fingerprints
or other biometrics) will stay in the Shadows and will
be ever harder to remove as the community networks that
support immigration (legal and illegal) relentlessly
expand. Second, the bad folks who aren`t known to the
government will now have a federally issued ID giving
them an unrestricted right to work and travel in the US.

In many (most?) cases, this ID will
have been obtained using

fraudulent identity documents
bearing no relation to
the person using them. The US government will have given
them a clean cover ID, shielding them from prior crimes
and enabling them to commit more crimes anywhere in the
US. By contrast, under current law criminal illegal
aliens can be deported based solely on their illegal
status.

Of course, most illegal aliens have
not committed any crimes other then illegal entry,
illegal residence, and (usually) identify fraud. Is
bringing these folks "out of the Shadows"
helpful? Yes and no. The government will get
fingerprints and pictures for each person obtaining
"probationary status"
. If and when these folks
commit serious crimes, that include fingerprint
evidence, the expanded fingerprint database will be
helpful in identify them. How frequently this will occur
is not clear. For example, DC sniper Lee Malvo was
identified

using a fingerprint left at an Alabama liquor store
murder scene
. Of course, he was also

an illegal alien
who should have never been released
into the US, and yet was, which tell you something about
the realities of immigration enforcement, past, present,
and future.

What are the downsides of bringing
people "out of the shadows?" Of course,
Amnesty will only encourage massive future illegal
immigration and make it considerably harder to remove
bad folks once they have legal status. However, there
are other problems as well. Once legal, aliens will
inevitably

increase their burden on public services
and expand
chain migration. The advocates of the bill claim
otherwise. However, decades of immigration history prove
that they are either dishonest or ignorant.

However, there is a more serious
point. The advocates of Amnesty claim that federal
agents should be "chasing terrorists and criminals,
not

maids and busboys
"
. There is some truth to this.
However, by overwhelming every federal agency for years
to come, the Amnesty bill will impair, not enhance the
ability of the government to go after the worst of the
illegals (and legal immigrants). Indeed, many argue that
the INS (now ICE, USCIS, and the Border Patrol) has
never recovered from the

impact of the 1986 IRCA Amnesty.
The new Amnesty
will be between 4 and 7 times larger than the last one.
The bill also expands (yes, expands) chain migration for
the next 8 years. Together these policies will cripple
the immigration bureaucracy for years to come and make
it harder to "chase terrorists and criminals".

Some have argued that Amnesty will
facilitate assimilation. However, the reality is almost
certainly the reverse. Assimilation works best where the
number of immigrants is small, they are skilled, and the
receiving society is highly demanding (as the US was 100
years ago). Indeed, by

stopping mass immigration after WWI,
the US greatly
facilitated the assimilation of the immigrants who came
around 1900. The proposed Amnesty would undermine
assimilation many ways. First, it will trigger a new
massive wave of legal and illegal immigrants, almost all
of them poorly positioned (by language and skills) to
succeed in American life. Second, the Amnesty sends an
unmistakable message of weakness to immigrants. Amnesty
amounts to surrender in the face of invasion. We declare
out nation to be too weak to defend its borders, too
weak to enforce its laws, too corrupt to prevent the
cheap labor lobby from  flouting our laws. Such a nation
does not have the power to inspire or command
assimilation.

What is the alternative? Of course,
we could just leave them in the Shadows. George Will,

Peggy Noonan, and even Linda Chavez
have all pointed
this out. Given that they came here to

live in the Shadows,
they certainly cannot demand
anything better. However, the immigration reform
movement has long outlined plans for gradually
repatriating the illegal alien population via law
enforcement. "Attrition via enforcement" both
minimizes the population that needs to be assimilated
and sends clear message of strength to those who remain.

[E-mail
"An Economist"
]