A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 17, 2007

Immigration Compromise Bill to Hit the Floor; S*** to Hit the Fan

From the Washington Post.

Sen. John Kyl (R-Az) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Ma), and I KNOW some just had an involuntary twitch at just viewing the Bay State’s Senior Senator’s name, along with negotiators from the Administration have cobbled a proposal towards illegal immigration reform. This compromise will likley hit the floor next week, and something may hit the fan much sooner. Like most compromises, this one will be guaranteed to upset more than a few people. The fur will fly, and I must confess a bit of unreasonable glee at the process to unfold before our very eyes!

Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement yesterday on a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that would offer virtually all of the nation’s 12 million undocumented workers a route to legal status while shifting migration preferences away from the extended families of citizens toward more skilled and educated workers.

Under the tentative deal, undocumented workers who crossed into the country before Jan. 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.

I guess this is the amnesty part.

To satisfy Republicans, those provisions would come in force only after the federal government implements tough new border controls and a crackdown on employers that hire illegal immigrants. Republicans are demanding 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, 370 miles of additional border fencing and an effective, electronic employee-verification system for the workplace.

Oh, I have a feeling that most Republicans will be “quite satisfied” with this bill! I can see the cringing already, and I must admit that I am cracking my knuckles with glee over the political free for all this will create in the primary process! But guess what, many Democrats are also less than happy.

The agreement would effectively bring an immigration overhaul to the Senate floor next week, but its passage is far from assured. The framework has the support of the White House and the chief negotiators, Kennedy and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). But immigration rights groups and some key Senate Democrats remain leery, especially of changing a preference system that has favored family members for more than 40 years.

“When they say, ‘We’re all in agreement, we have a deal,’ certainly I don’t feel that way,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

The new proposal would augment that system with a merit-based program that would award points based on education levels, work experience and English proficiency, as well as family ties. Automatic family unifications would remain but would be limited to spouses and children under 21. The adult children and siblings of U.S. residents would probably need other credentials, such as skills and education, to qualify for an immigrant visa.

To Republicans, the new system would make the nation more economically competitive while opening access to a wider array of migrants. “I think you’ll find the point system to be pretty well balanced,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.).

But to immigration groups, the proposal is a radical break from existing U.S. law, and without changes, they could withhold their support from the final bill.

“We want to see an immigration reform debate on the Senate floor. We want to see this move forward. But we are wildly uncomfortable with a lot of what we’re hearing,” said Cecilia Muñoz, chief lobbyist for the National Council of La Raza.

I confess, that my post is a bit glib on a very serious subject.  I personally believe there is too much amnesty in this bill and not enough protection, but, whose fault is that?  It is the fault of the Congress which was under the control of the GOP with a GOP President to get meaningful legislation accomplished when they held the majorities.  Last year’s bill is looking pretty good right now to many, and I think that the GOP forgot that in a Federal Republic “compromise is needed for effective governance”.  The GOP “could” have compromised from a position of strength, but now they get the icky end of the lollypop.  It’s their own fault if they don’t like this bill.



  1. This bill is a serious joke.

    “undocumented workers who crossed into the country before Jan. 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.”

    Yeah, until 2015, when they pass similar legislation again for the next 20 million illegal workers who have learned from this episode that breaking the law can be rewarding.

    I have little belief that they will ever enforce serious border controls. The gutless folks in Washington are too afraid of world opinion to act. It remains me of the death penalty debate, where so often DP supporters are told by liberal anti-DP advocates that those who would qualify for the DP could be held in jail for life. Such a promise is worthless since most liberal anti-DP advocates I’ve argued with this over have never met a murderer who they couldn’t find a reason to believe was “reformed”- and therefore could be released, since holding a reformed man in jail is wrong.

    This is the worst of both worlds. The Republicans deserve it, but we the people do not.

    BTW think on this section of the bill…

    “he 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”

    Let’s review those numbers. Each illegal immigrant could bring their wife, children, and possible parents to the U.S.

    So 1 illegal immigrant + 1 wife + 2 kids (a very conservative estimate for good Catholic/working poor households) + 4 in-laws.

    That means for each 1 illegal we have in the nation now we would be inviting in 7 others. But, to account for those who aren’t married, those whose parents have already died, lets cut the number 7 to 4.

    So now we have 12 million illegal immigrants. We are now inviting them back with 48 million family members. This could get out of hand like a college party where everyone whose invited invites someone else and pretty soon the house if full of people the owners don’t know. And we all know how that turns out- a trashed house.

    The libertarian in me doesn’t mind them crossing the border. It is that fact that their crossing the border entitles them to uber amounts of federal and state goodies (at taxpayer) expense that disgusts me.

    Comment by totaltransformation — May 17, 2007 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  2. I agree with you about how the Republicans blew it. Now the Democrats under Ted Kennedy are about to screw the middle class of this country with this amnesty bill. When will Washington get it that they are supposed to represent the wishes of the American people not the wishes of the pro-illegal immigrant lobbyists.


    Comment by BCP — May 17, 2007 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

  3. To say “the Republicans” blew it, is just silly. There is no such thing as “the Republicans”. The liberal wing of the party hates the conservatives as much or more than they do the Democrats.

    Several republicans peeled off from their party last year to join with the Democrats in a very Democrat friendly bill in the Senate. The GOP House nixed this deal, understandably.

    Also, your glee with the parties probems is mispaced. They are joining hands here to screw the American people. The Democrats are doing it because they figure they will get voters out of it, eventually, when the new citizens come on line. The Republicans are on board because they want to drive down wages. (The Democrats would probaly be privatly happy with that one also.)

    The big loser, as always, is we the people. If we are not smart enough to stop this nonsense then we deserve what we get.

    Comment by James — May 17, 2007 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  4. The “glee” was satirical.

    I don’t know about the voters – there’s a 13 year wait for a current illegal to get citizenship.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — May 17, 2007 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

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