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View From Lodi, CA: Senate Sellout Not A Done Deal
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May 18, 2007, 05:00 AM
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President George Bush,   both directly and indirectly through his aides, made an all-out effort to convince Congress about the merits of his so-called comprehensive immigration reform package.

Little wonder that Bush sent his staff up to the Hill to persuade the Senate that now is the hour for illegal alien amnesty. Bush also pushed for additional guest workers   who eagerly wait in the wings  to perform "jobs Americans won`t do."

Immigration reform—-Bush`s version of it, that is—-is all that the president has left to polish his tarnished image after two dismal terms.

Even though the Senate struck an accord on Thursday, Bush still faces an uphill—-and possibly losing—- battle.

A yea vote on the controversial Senate bill would give amnesty to the nearly 20 million illegal aliens, although they would have to jump through various hoops  like paying fines and returning briefly to their native country. Bush has heartily supported the bill every step of the way.

But Americans from both political parties remain highly skeptical of Bush and his promises.

Few believe that, after seven years of neglect, Bush will dedicate himself to border security…a crucial element in the Senate agreement.

Americans are tired of promises. They want to see the border secured for years before they even consider amnesty.

Open borders have had painful consequences for the average American. According to the Office of Homeland Security, more than 636,000 fugitive aliens live in the U.S.—-more than twice the number than on September 11, 2001. 

These aliens remain free in the country to perpetrate their crimes on the unsuspecting. [US Tackles Backlog Of `Fugitive Aliens,` N.C. Aizenman, the Washington Post, May 7, 2007]

Bush sugar coats his amnesty/guest worker plan by emphasizing that in fact it is not an "amnesty" but rather "earned legalization" wherein residents who have been in the U.S. for a certain period can aspire to a green card   and ultimately citizenship.

But the public has heard this rhetoric before.   And now, twenty years after the Ronald Reagan amnesty, Bush`s empty words are falling on deaf ears.

A close analysis of the facts shows why Americans have had a belly-full.

One of the biggest questions, especially in California, is where will the farmers  get workers to pick the crops? This was asked over and again all summer long by our doomsayer Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

And farm lobbyists like the Coalition for Immigration Reform also predict disaster without a guest worker program.

Craig Regelbrugge, [Send him mail] the co-chairman of ACIR said farms in the Southwest and on the West Coast suffered worker shortages as high as 30 percent as enforcement efforts of existing immigration laws were stepped up.

Said Regelbrugge: "Agriculture is teetering and vulnerable. The facts on the ground are startling." [Businesses lobbying for brain, brawn, By Jim Snyder, TheHill.com, May 14, 2007]

Really? Where do you as a consumer see evidence of that? When on your trips to the supermarket have you seen a shortage of any fruit or vegetable?

Even citrus, which said to have been devastated by the winter freeze, is widely available. On a recent trip to the Sacramento Farmers Market buyers, I saw navel oranges offered for sale for 40 cents a pound.

According to Capitol Hill insiders, the bill that the Senate hopes to vote on next week will be approximately 1,000 pages long. Pro-amnesty lobbyists and their lawyers—-and not your elected representatives—- have written the draft.

That the bill totals 1,000 pages is no accident. The authors are counting on the Senators to not read a word of it so that more giveaways will be approved.

Nevertheless, even if it gets past the Senate, the bill will be a tough sell in the House.

Luckily, there are still enough legislators who realize that there`s plenty of danger lurking in all those pages.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.