April 23, 2024

Immigration Reform? No…

…things are just fine the way they are.  Or so Senate Republicans seem to think.  What I’d like to know is on earth were they high on?  Do they really think that they’re somehow going to be able to get a better bill through Congress after the next election?  Please, let’s not be as dense as that.

Immigration reform has two requirements – securing the border and handling our current crop of illegals.  Neither is easy but both are essential.  I cannot understand how Republicans who claim to support law and order can withhold their support for this long-overdue reform.

There are times when it’s imperative to act, to do something, even if it turns out to be wrong.  Immigration reform is one such issue and the time to act is now.  Or it was.  And Republicans failed us, just as they failed us in Iraq.

Are future illegals going to wait in Mexico to see what the U.S. Congress does when they finally get off their turgid butts?  Of course not.  They’re going to get over the so-called border while the getting is good.

The art of compromise that is no one is entirely happy with the result:  it always looks like garbage from one angle or another.  The Dallas Morning News printed an op-ed from Repub apostate Jack Kemp, Jeb Bush, Bill Paxson, and others saying:

As with any political compromise, improvements can be made. But the basic framework is one that conservatives should support. Indeed, for conservatives who opposed last year’s immigration bill, this package represents a step forward.

The immigration system is in desperate need of repair. Any attempt to fix it must start with three givens: the need to regain control of our borders, the need to deal rationally with 12 million illegal immigrants already playing an integral role in our economy, and the need to restructure our immigration system so that we maintain our competitive strength in the global economy.

The Senate package addresses all three needs in a manner that advances conservative values.

It will make America safer and restore the rule of law. Indeed, it will make sure that the law is enforced first, before any other provisions of the legislation take effect. A key improvement over last year’s bill, the package is built around a set of enforcement benchmarks that must be met before a single guest worker is hired or illegal immigrant legalized.

All of this is true.  In my mind it’s nothing short of betrayal for Republicans to kill this bill because they can’t accept that the illegals already here – for all intents and purposes invited by Clinton and W. – are staying whether they like it or not.

They think that the word “amnesty” is some sort of political football that they can carry for a big gain in 2008’s game.  They are wrong.  Joe Sixpack knows that the immigration system in America is a joke.  Joe knows that illegals are working cheaper and harder than he does and he doesn’t like it.  Joe expects someone to do something and deservedly so.

Even gullible old Mr. Sixpack doesn’t believe for a moment that 12 million illegal aliens who have been living in America for years are going home.  As Jason Steck so eloquently put it:

There are 12 million illegal immigrants already here — that is a fact that cannot be dealt with by indulging in cultural stereotypes or mandates for English as a national language.  The reasons that they are here are similarly practical — their search for jobs is matched by a labor shortage in the American economy that will only get worse in the next 20 years.

Some form of “amnesty” is frankly inevitable.  We can’t kick 12 million people out and any punishment that is too harsh will simply encourage them to remain illegal immigrants.

Yes, there were some issues with the bill, including a pronounced shortfall in enforcement mechanisms.  But we have to start somewhere.  This was as good a place as any.

Let’s hope – and I never thought I would say this – that Ted Kennedy is right when he says “This issue is not going to go away” and that he will keep pushing it.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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2 thoughts on “Immigration Reform? No…

  1. No, this was not a good place to start. We would be better off with enforcing our current laws (which Senator Hutchison was against for some odd reason), then granting every illegal that “prove” that they were in the US prior to Jan 2007 (all it takes is a utility bill or a sworn statement by a relative), and they get immediate and permanent “temporary” work status.

    Not to mention that when an amendment was brought forth to prevent felons from getting these visas, it was voted down.

    The basic assumptions that this bill brought forth were wrong. We need to enforce the border (which this bill didn’t do). We need to allow for more immigrants to legally enter the US (which this bill sort of did, but greatly favored Mexicans and low skill workers). We need to validate who can work in the US legally (which this bill alleged to do, and might have succeeded). We need to enforce work laws in the US (which this bill didn’t do). We need to deal with the current 12-22 million (which this bill did by legalizing them).

    It wasn’t the best, it was just about the worst we could get. The one day background check was a joke. If we can’t process the demand for passports for US citizens wanted to travel abroad this summer, how could we do background checks in 24 hours on 12-22 million illegals. And when we fail (because you know that we will), they get their Z visa anyway. So, all those Zetas and other gang members just got legalized because we didn’t bother to wait to verify if they were actually criminals.

    Can we get a legitimate bill through Congress? I doubt it. And the American people (Joe Sixpack) will remember that. They will remember that Congress has, once again, abrogated its responsibility. Heck, the GOP certainly could have done something when they were in power…but half the GOP wants cheap indentured servants, and half of the Democrats want new voters they can lure with government entitlements. Neither group cares what is best for the US.

  2. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

    Neither group cares what is best for the US.

    That, I’m afraid, is the case. Worse, by not participating now, Republicans probably have forfeited their place in the debate, period.

    That’s just plain stupid, IMO. Unless their end game is to let the Dems do whatever they want, play politics with the resulting shambles, and win back the majority that way. That would also be stupid. And cowardly.

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