Comprehensive immigration reform or just more amnesty?
Lots of talk today about the awful legislation proposed in the senate regarding our mess of an immigration policy. Let's start by looking at the key players.
Sen Ted Kennedy - Champion of this legislation from the left. He has a history of involvement at past attempts to deal with immigration. Mark Krikorian of NRO's Corner compiled quotes from Kennedy after past garbage legislation.
1965: "The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs."And we should believe him this time, WHY?
1986: "This amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1 to 1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this."
2007: "Now it is time for action. 2007 is the year we must fix our broken system."
John McCain, Senator and erstwhile presidential candidate - Done. Most conservatives have been disenchanted with McCain for years because of his media pandering on Sunday mornings, his awful anti-First Amendment McCain-Feingold bill, etc. Well, if McCain's cake needed icing this is it. One blogger, CDR Salamander, titled his post about this legislation: "McCain is dead to me." I would say McCain's presidential chances will end with this legislation, but I didn't think he had a chance before. McCain knew it wouldn't be popular so he got his fellow Arizona senator, Jon Kyl to lend his name to the legislation. The last attempt was titled McCain-Kennedy leading to comparisons to McCain-Feingold.
My biggest disappointment with this legislation was seeing Sen. Jon Kyl being a party to writing this legislation. I can understand wanting to give input rather than letting the liberals write the legislation, but at the end if the final product is unsatisfactory walk away rather than lending your own credibility to it. Kyl has always struck me as a good man and he should know nothing good can come of dealing with Kennedy.
President Bush and a couple of his cabinet members have applauded this effort. I'd be disappointed except for the fact that the president has made it clear for some time now that he is in favor of amnesty for people who enter our country illegally.
What is the problem with the legislation? First problem is we don't have the details to debate. As Sen. Jim DeMint says:
"I hope we don't take a thousand page bill written in secret and try to ram it through the Senate in a few days. This is a very important issue for America and we need time to debate it."
"But the little we do know about the bill is troubling. According to reports, the bill contains a new 'Z Visa' that allows those who entered our country illegally to stay here permanently without ever returning home. This rewards people who broke the law with permanent legal status, and puts them ahead of millions of law-abiding immigrants waiting to come to America. I don't care how you try to spin it, this is amnesty."
Advocates claim it isn't amnesty because the crooks (yes, we call people who break the law crooks) will have to pay a $5,000 fine. Two problems with that claim. One, who actually believes that people who snuck into our country to do jobs at less than minimum wage and send money back to family back home have a spare $5,000 to pay the fine. Second problem is I have no doubt that this would be challenged in court and five of nine justices will find a reason to declare the fine unconstitutional. Regardless, the whole business of a fine is just a red herring to fool the easily fooled.
In a post aptly titled "GOP Caves on Immigration," Mickey Kaus at Slate.com touched one one of the biggest mistakes:
The GOP's lead Senate negotiator, Sen. Jon Kyl, appears to have caved on the crucial issue of legalization (for existing illegal immigrants) in exchange for a promise of tougher enforcement to prevent another, future wave of illegals.
Unfortunately, the legalization in the Senate's compromise would be immediate--see below. The "enforcement" part would follow.
Recognizing that this plan won't be favorable, Mitt Romney was the first presidential candidate to denounce it as another go at amnesty.
Not-yet-a-candidate, Fred Thompson ridicules the proposed legislation in more sarcastic terms.
No matter how much lipstick Washington tries to slap onto this legislative pig, it’s not going to win any beauty contests. In fact, given Congress’s track record, the bill will probably get a lot uglier — at least from the public’s point of view. And agreeing to policies before actually seeing what the policies are is a heck of a way to do business.
The only thing I've seen positive about this plan is this headline: Mexicans Fear Immigration Plan Moving Through Congress.
Big Lizards has an in depth post which examines the proposal titled Grand Outline of Provisions of "the Compromise" Definitely worth reading.
The best thing I can say about this is it has not been voted on yet. Call your senators and tell them what you think.