Sunday, May 20, 2007

The New Immigration Bill

Robin's Commentary--

There’s been a lot talk about the new proposed immigration bill on the talk show circuit, and it's been interesting listening to the different opinions from hosts like Lars Larson who is against the bill, to Bill O'Reilly who's in favor of the new bill.

Both sides bring up some good arguments for and against the measure. Therefore, I decided to do little bit of cruising on the White House web site and see what they have to say about it.
" Strengthening The Assimilation Of New Immigrants: The proposal declares that English is the language of the United States and calls on the United States Government to preserve and enhance it, as well as enacting accelerated English requirements for many immigrants. In addition, the DHS Office of Citizenship will be expanded to include coordinating assimilation efforts in its mission, and the Education Secretary will make an English instruction program freely available over the Internet. "(a)

I can almost guarantee you that that one will be challenged especially by the ACLU and other immigrant groups. It would not surprise me one bit to see that one eliminated through negotiation of the bill.

" There is a cutoff date for Z visas for people who are undocumented… you're going to have to prove that you're in the country prior to January 1, 2007... try to pretend that I was here prior to January 1, 2007... would be the absolute dumbest thing to do if you ever want to have a prayer of getting any type of benefit under the temporary work program." Said Secretary Chertoff , "we catch a very significant number of people who crossed the border illegally. We now fingerprint them. If you cross the border, we catch you, we fingerprint you, you will never get into this program, because that fingerprint, dated tomorrow or dated a week from now or dated a month from now is going to be conclusive proof that you were not in this country as of the cutoff date; that you broke the law after the cutoff date. And that will take you out of the program for life."(b)

I am glad to see that they address the argument learning from Ronald Reagan's amnesty bill that in theory should prevent a huge influx of people rushing over here to apply for the Z visa. However, I can see a black market developing for the documentation required to show proof that you were here before January 1, 2007.

" If you don't do that, (referring to illegal aliens refusing to participate in the program) you have the same person doing the work, not paying the taxes, maybe stealing someone's identity, and you are perpetuating a system where that person can be victimized," Said Secretary Chertoff , " and we're going to have more raids and more of what we have now. So is it harshly punitive? No. We're not treating this as a capital offense. "(b)

"We're not treating this as a capital offense." Then what would it be treated as? It is already simply a MISDEMEANOR to cross the borders anyways. It is also a FELONY to be deported and reenter the country. The problem is that the law is not taken seriously as proven by how many illegal aliens repeatedly returned to the US after being deported.

" First and foremost, it means that my agents who go out and enforce the law can spend their time looking for drug dealers and gang bangers, instead of maids who are working in hotels. I only have so many agents. I suggest you ask the American people, would you rather have the agent track down a gang banger and a drug dealer, or a maid? I think pretty much all of them will say, let's go get the gang banger and the drug dealer. Said Secretary Chertoff "(b)

Sure, I would like law-enforcement to go after the drug dealers’ whether they're illegal are not illegal or not. However, isn't this still selective enforcement?
" 3. MYTH: The government will not and cannot meet its promise to crack down on the hiring of illegal workers.
· FACT: Before the Z visa and temporary worker programs go into effect, an Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) must be in place and ready to prevent unauthorized workers from obtaining jobs in the United States.
· FACT: Employers will be required to verify the work eligibility of all employees using the EEVS, and all workers will be required to present stronger and more readily verifiable identification documents. Tough new anti-fraud measures will be implemented to restrict fraud and identity theft.
· FACT: Employers who hire illegal workers will face stiff new criminal and civil penalties. For example, the maximum criminal penalty for a pattern or practice of hiring illegals will increase 25-fold, from $3,000 per alien to $75,000 per alien."

That’s all good and well in theory. We already have a law on the books regarding employers, it's called the INS I-9, and you're already supposed to provide proof that you are "legally" eligible to work in the United States.

The problem is that it is not enforced because we do not have the resources and money for enforcement, and that cities and states (at least Oregon) restrict the police from being allowed to query somebody about their immigration status which I can easily see both sides of the argument.
One side being that we do not want to have a society where the police randomly stop someone on the street and ask to see your papers. However, that would be a legitimate question if you have already been charged with an offense.

So, what happens if illegal aliens and employers refused to cooperate? In addition, there is already a large number of both, so why should they?

This proposal in my opinion will only work if the illegal aliens come forward and register to be in the system and if the government can actually develop the resources and the cooperation of local and state governments to follow through.

Sources cited =
{(a) Fact Sheet: Border Security and Immigration Reform -- Administration And Bipartisan Group Of Senators Reach Bipartisan Agreement On Comprehensive Immigration Reform}--

{(b) Press Briefing on Immigration Reform }--

{(c) Fact Sheet: Border Security and Immigration Reform (Myth/Facts)}--


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