Thursday, May 17, 2007

This Is Reform?

At RedState, here and here, my esteemed colleague Rob Bluey reports that once again a so-called immigration "reform" deal is imminent.

Little is publicly known about the latest "reform" effort. What is known suggests that it will do little to discourage illegal aliens from crossing the Mexican border.

The Washington Times reports the administration, trying to win an immigration agreement with Democrats, is backing away from safeguards designed to target businesses that hire illegal aliens and to prevent a repeat of the rampant fraud that resulted from the 1986 amnesty.

According to the Associated Press and the NewYork Times, the current proposal adopts a point system to reduce the number of family members of illegal aliens that would otherwise be permitted after the illegal aliens are legalized.

The Washington Post reports the tentative deal, allows illegal aliens, who crossed into the country before January 1 would be offered a temporary-residency permit while they await a new "Z Visa" that would allow them to live and work lawfully here:

The head of an illegal-immigrant household would have eight years to return to his or her home country to apply for permanent legal residence for members of the household, but each Z Visa itself would be renewable indefinitely, as long as the holder passes a criminal background check, remains fully employed and pays a $5,000 fine, plus a paperwork-processing fee.

A separate, temporary-worker program would be established for 400,000 migrants a year. Each temporary work visa would be good for two years and could be renewed up to three times, as long as the worker leaves the country for a year between renewals.
Those provisions would be effective only after the federal government implements tough new border controls and a crackdown on employers that hire illegal immigrants, including 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, 370 miles of additional border fencing and an effective, electronic employee-verification system for the workplace.

From the Wall Street Journal we learn it will take about 13 years for illegal aliens, who qualify and have survive the screening process, to become a citizens. The Journal also warns that tougher employer verification rules that will very well impact American citizens when we change jobs.

You are sure to recall that last year a great immigration reform compromise was announced only to fall victim to New York Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer's belief that the failure to get an immigration reform bill would help the Democrats regain power in the midterm elections.

That compromise dealt with the 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. by proposing to treat illegal aliens differently based upon the length of time they have been in the U.S.:

Those who have lived in the country at least five years would be put on a path toward guaranteed citizenship, provided that they remained employed, paid fines and back taxes, and learned English, a senior Republican aide said. The aide said this group accounted for about 7 million of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants believed to be living here.

Those who have lived here for two to five years, said to number about three million, would have to leave the country briefly before reporting to an American port of entry, where they would be classified as temporary workers. They would be allowed to apply for citizenship but would have no guarantee of obtaining it. Those who did not would have to leave after participating in the temporary worker program for six years.

The remaining one million or so, those who have lived in the country less than two years, would be required to leave. They could apply for temporary worker status but would not be guaranteed it.
I supported last year's compromise. My main objection to all previous proposals to give legal status to illegal aliens was that it would just encourage more illegal aliens as did the amnesty authorized by the 1986 Immigration Reform Act.

The new proposal doesn't seem to contain anything to discourage the ongoing flood of illegals crossing the border. To the contrary, If enacted into law this proposal will ensure that an ever greater number of illegal aliens will continue to sneak across the border. And why not, we continue to encourage the tidal wave of illegal aliens flooding the country. By allowing those that disregard the nation's immigration laws to remain here and pursue citizenship. This latest proposal sends a simple message - get into the United States anyway you can because eventually you will legalized.

That message will be heard loud and clear just as it was with the adoption of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ("IRCA"). That "immigration reform" legalized 4 million illegal aliens. IRCA has been a monumental failure. Twenty years later there 12 million illegal aliens to legalize. If amnesty is now given to these millions, then we should only expect that twenty years from now we will have to consider granting amnesty to 36 million more illegal aliens.

I have commended President Bush and his willingness to try and reform immigration since he announced his initiative in January 2004. True reform might well include some path to citizenship, but it must be seen to discourage the flood tide of illegals constantly crossing the border.

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