Why The Gutierrez Amnesty Bill Is So Bad—And Why It Might Pass Anyway


Twenty-five
million Americans

are out of work.
New Census figures show that

one out of every six
“American”
workers is foreign-born.
It`s obviously the perfect
time to gut enforcement, give amnesty to illegals
aliens, and import millions additional legal immigrants!

At least it
is for Rep.
Luis
Gutierrez
(D-IL) and

Solomon Ortiz
(D-TX) who just

introduced
HR 4321: the Comprehensive Immigration
Reform for America`s Security and Prosperity Act of
2009—or

CIR ASAP“,

as they like to call it.

I haven`t
had a chance to read the

whole bill
, which is 645 of pages, but Guitierrez`s
office sent out a 12 page detailed summary. It is worth
noting that these bills always include hidden clauses
that will provide loopholes to the minimal enforcement
and preconditions for amnesty as well as millions of
dollars in

subsidies to La Raza
and

ACORN
that are not listed in the summary, so the
bill is no doubt worse than what I am about to lay out.
But don`t worry, what`s in the summary is alarming
enough. Potentially, the bill—


Reduces Border
Security
:
CIR ASAP`s section on border security
makes no mention of creating physical barriers or adding
additional agents. Quite the opposite, it explicitly
“prohibits
military involvement in non-emergency border
enforcement”
and establishes
“the US-Mexico Border Enforcement Commission and a Border Communities
Liaison Office to foster and institutionalize community
consultation.”

These will
be nothing but a new avenue for the Mexican government
and majority-Hispanic towns in the US to obstruct border
enforcement.


Abolishes all
local and state level immigration enforcement:

CIR ASAP repeals the successful

287 (g)
program that allows states to partner with
federal officials to crack down on criminal aliens. It
also "preempts
any state or

local law
that discriminates against an

individual based on immigration status
or imposes
sanctions on any individual or entity based on the
immigration status of its clients, employees, or

tenants
—effectively nullifying successful and
popular laws in states like Oklahoma, Georgia, and
Arizona and localities like

Prince William County, Virginia.


Weakens Federal
Enforcement
:
In addition to completely banning any state level
enforcement, the bill will bar any immigration raids at

churches
,

schools
, and designated
“community”
locations. It also practically prohibits any detention
of illegal aliens if it will


“separate families.”

Additionally, it creates an ICE Ombudsman—as if it is
not easy enough for the
ACLU
or

MALDEF
to complain and for

illegals to avoid deportation.


Ends E-Verify:
The bill creates a
“new”
employment verification system, that
“shall be the
technological basis for a secure cross-agency,
cross-platform electronic system that is a
cost-effective, efficient, fully integrated means to
share immigration and Social Security information
necessary to confirm the employment eligibility of all
individuals seeking employment while protecting
individual privacy.”

We already
have that. It`s called

E-Verify.
The only possible reason to create a new
system is to make it ineffective.


Amnesty for
Everyone, No Strings Attached
:
CIR ASAP makes no pretenses of limiting the number of
people who would be eligible for amnesty. It applies to
everyone who is

present in the U.S.
the day the bill is signed. So,
even more so than other bills that purport to only apply
to people here for a certain number of years, it will
encourage illegal immigration while it is being debated.

An October
Zogby

survey
of Mexicans found that
“56 percent,
thought giving legal status to illegal immigrants in the
United States would make it more likely that people they
know would go to the United States illegally. Just 17
percent thought it would make Mexicans less likely to go
illegally.”
[Public
Opinion in Mexico on U.S. Immigration: Zogby Poll
Examines Attitudes
,
by Steve Camarota, Center
for Immigration Studies, October 2009.]

The only
requirements for the CIR ASAP amnesty is that the
illegal have a job or be in school, pass a criminal
background check, and pay 500 dollars, and supposedly
learn English. Of course, they`ll be plenty of loopholes
for them to avoid even these flimsy conditions.


Increases Legal
Immigration:
The bill
"permits the
recapture of unused employment based visas"
from
1992-2008. The
“recapture”
scheme is premised on the idea that if
the number of visas issued in a certain category was
below the cap anytime in the last 16 years, we should
take these. Besides the fact that the caps are not meant
to be minimums, we already
“recapture” them every year when

unused work visas get transferred to the family
reunification category
and vice versa.

When the usual suspects

floated this idea around in 2008,
the State
Department estimated it would lead to an increase of

550,000 foreign workers annually
—as if the 1.5
million we have is not enough.

There is a
lot of talk about reducing the
“back log”
for green cards in the CIR ASAP summary. While some of
this back log is actually bureaucratic, for the most
part it is simply people on the waiting list because the
million we issue each year still does not accommodate
the 36% of all Mexicans who said they would move to the
US if they had the opportunity. So reducing the
“back log”
will dramatically increase legal immigration until (and
if) the “back
log”
is cleared. Incidentally, there is a proposed
$500 dollar fee to expedite removal from the backlog,
which is the same as the

proposed fine for amnesty.

Additionally, there is vague language about
strengthening the family reunification. A close reading
of the bill will certainly find significant increases to
that category as well.

The bill
gets a little interesting when it creates a
"Commission on
Immigration and Labor Markets"
to make
recommendations to Congress about the proper levels of
employment based immigrations. Depending on who is in
power when they appoint this commission, it could make
good or bad recommendations, and Congress could choose
to enact or ignore them. I`m sure it will be stacked to
make the Commission argue for more visas. Nonetheless,
this does show that the writers of this bill are not
automatically conceding long term increases in
work-based immigration. Their concern is to get
more Hispanics,
not

workers
as such. I`ll return to this later.

Until these
recommendations are made and implemented, however, the
bill will create 100,000 new visas every year to
“prevent
unauthorized migration”
—given specifically to
countries that send high levels of illegal immigration
via lottery, until this new system is enacted. The three
top countries sending illegal immigrants are

Mexico,


El Salvador
, and

Guatemala
. So virtually all of these new visas will
go to Hispanics.

The bill
further increases legal immigration specifically to
Hispanics by increasing maximum percentage of employment
and family visas issued to specific countries by 42%.
This specifically benefits countries such as Mexico that
use up all of their allotted visas.

The only
potentially good thing in the bill is that it includes
some reforms to the H1B, H2B, and L1 visas. These are no
doubt concessions to the
labor unions
who, at least in theory, worry about
exposing their members to more completion. (More on that
soon.)

Notwithstanding this incredibly thin silver lining, this
CIR ASAP amnesty is much worse than the ones proposed in
2006 and 2007. At least those amnesties pretended to
increase border security, step up interior enforcement,
and make preconditions for legalization. CIR ASAP
explicitly goes in the opposite direction.

Should we be
worried?

I recently
spoke with a former Republican Congressman who helped
lead the fight against amnesty in 2006 about its
prospects in 2010. He was

pessimistic
, arguing that as long as the Democrats
could get a few Republicans on board, this would make
the legislation
“bipartisan”
and give cover to all the Democrats who
voted for it.

Personally,
I am more optimistic about holding onto the Blue Dog
Democrats. Right now this is a purely Democratic bill.
Of the 91 co-sponsors not one is a Republican. Even the
members of the Republican Hispanic Conference and folks
like Jeff Flake are not signed on.

The unity of
the Republicans against the Obama agenda is no doubt
part of the reason. But it is very clear that this
amnesty is designed to cater to unions and the Hispanic
lobby rather than to Republican business interests. Thus
Tamar
Jacoby`s
Immigration Works USA [a 


"national federation of employers working to advance
better immigration law."
] complained that the
bill

“provides no answer for one of the three essential questions at the
heart of immigration reform
[the other two being

enforcement
and

amnesty
]: how
to provide a legal supply of the foreign labor we`ll
need in the future to help the economy recover and grow.
And some provisions, including the proposed changes to
existing worker-visa programs, could hinder
U.S.

economic growth.”
[CIR
ASAP – Only Part of the Fix That`s Needed,

Immigration Works USA, December 16, 2009]

Similarly,
the Chamber of Commerce whined about CIR ASAP in a press
release:

“We look forward to reviewing the actual legislation, but we are
concerned with the bill`s approach for temporary and
seasonal worker programs outlined in the draft summary
released today. Allowing an additional 100,000
unemployed immigrants a year to enter the country
permanently through a lottery, as proposed in this bill,
disregards the current needs of the economy. Immigration
should be a demand-based system that permits

employers to hire, as needed
, when the economy
recovers fully, igniting job growth.”
[U.S.
Chamber Criticizes Immigration Reform Legislation
,

Chamber of Commerce, December 15, 2009]

Assuming the
amnesty makes it onto the table, there will be a fight
between the labor unions and business lobbies. The
former will not be able to justify the legislation in
this economy if it explicitly increases especially

 temporary
workers,
which the unions have always been
preoccupied with, probably because they are so hard to
unionize. While the latter should be happy with the
increases in total legal immigration, they are
financially dependent on lobbies focused on certain
types of temporary visas. No matter how many total visas
are added, the
H2B
Workforce Coalition
will not support a bill that
cuts

H2B visas
. This inevitable schism could potentially
sink the bill.

Funny things
happen to legislation. For example, I am still not sure
whether or not Congress will pass

Obamacare
, but I—like most political observers—was
confident it would sail through earlier in the year.

In June,
polls

showed
that the 65% of all Americans believed that
providing healthcare for
“every single

American
should be the goal of health care
reform, but 80% opposed giving health care to illegal
aliens, and it was a deal breaker for 70% of Americans.

That the
Democrats received such a fierce fight for something
that Americans support in theory suggests that something
that Americans are instinctively against will be
extremely difficult to pass during an election year.

Besides the
Hispanic Caucus, very few Democrats seem particularly
eager to pass amnesty. Neither Speaker
Nancy Pelosi
(D-CA), Assistant Speaker Chris Van
Hollen (D-MD), Majority Leader

Steny Hoyer
(D-MD), Majority Whip Jim Clyburn
(D-SC), nor Caucus Chair John Larson (D-CT) signed on as
co-sponsors. Barack Obama hasn`t peeped a word about it.
This could change quickly, but it seems almost
inconceivable that they`d want to be supporting amnesty
during an election year with 10% unemployment.

That being
said, many Democrats
seem to have swallowed
the same
“crucial Hispanic Swing vote”


Kool-Aid
as the

Republicans
. They give an inordinate amount of
influence to the 20-member Hispanic Caucus. (In
contrast, there are 100+ members in the

Tancredo
founded Immigration Reform Caucus). So it`s
not impossible that the Democrats might in the end
decide to push the bill.

The best way
to fight amnesty is not to bother with the specifics of
this proposal, but instead go on the offensive by
calling for increased enforcement and a

moratorium
on legal immigration.

Indeed, if
Republicans are smart they would make illegal
immigration a major part of their attacks on the health
care plan. Pointing out the loopholes is important, but
they should also note that amnesty is around the
corner—making any restriction of benefits to illegal
aliens moot. Republicans should demand that all the
Democrats who

claim
that they don`t want to
give
government health care to illegal aliens
state on
the record that they oppose amnesty.

Unfortunately, Republicans are

stupid
. So immigration patriots out in Americaland
need to start this offensive for them.

"Washington Watcher" [email
him
] is an anonymous source Inside The
Beltway.