Saturday, June 16, 2007

Reviving the Immigration Bill

Although like most conservatives, I am against the current immigration bill recently set aside in the Senate, I do accept the notion that our border-control and immigration system is broken and needs fixing. Whether the system is not working mostly because exising laws are deficient, whether current funding is inadequate or whether the problem is a lack of desire to enforce existing laws is not completely clear, but probably a mix of the three is closest to the truth. As a conservative and as a former business-owner, I know that government is, on most matters, inefficient, ineffective (except for unintended consequences), corrupt, bureaucratic, stifling and filled with employees whose main concern is not to get in trouble or do very much work. Any time a new system or a changed system is designed for government execution, these realities must be taken into consideration, and "keep it simple, stupid" is a good principle to follow.

For now, I'm willing to accept the hypothesis that the federal government is hampered by inadequate laws and insufficient funding to do its main job in this area, which is: 1. Stop illegal immigration, 2. Provide the workers and skills we need to keep moving forward, 3. Provide and control the temporary workers employers need seasonally, and 4. Deal with illegals now here with some compassion, but slowly, carefully, and with regard to those who obeyed the rules.

I'm also willing to accept with an open mind further attempts to modify and revive this bill, SO LONG AS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS STOPPED, AND WE KNOW IT'S STOPPED BEFORE ANY OTHER PROVISIONS KICK IN.

Senate Leaders Agree to Revive Immigration Bill
New York Times

WASHINGTON, June 14 — Senate Democratic and Republican leaders announced on Thursday that they had agreed on a way to revive a comprehensive immigration bill that was pulled off the Senate floor seven days ago.

The majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, and the minority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said they expected the bill to return to the floor before the Fourth of July recess.

In a joint statement, Mr. Reid and Mr. McConnell said: “We met this evening with several of the senators involved in the immigration bill negotiations. Based on that discussion, the immigration bill will return to the Senate floor after completion of the energy bill.”

The immigration bill, ardently sought by President Bush, would make the biggest changes in immigration law and policy in more than 20 years.

It would increase border security, crack down on companies that employ illegal immigrants, establish a guest worker program and offer legal status to most of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

The agreement does not guarantee that the bill will be approved by the Senate or become law.

Supporters of the bipartisan bill predict that some conservative Republicans will try to block a vote on final passage, because of concerns about the legalization program.

Predicting “procedural barriers,” Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership team, said, “Three or four senators will try to block every amendment.”

The House has held many hearings on immigration this year. House Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have expressed concerns about major provisions of the Senate bill, including one that would give less weight to family ties in deciding who can immigrate to the United States.

A White House spokesman, Scott M. Stanzel, said, “We are encouraged by the announcement from Senate leaders that comprehensive immigration reform will be brought back up for consideration.”

The bill stalled on June 7, when supporters garnered just 45 of the 60 votes needed to end debate. Republican senators said that they had not been allowed to offer enough amendments.

Under the agreement reached on Thursday, the Senate will consider about 22 amendments, half from Republicans and half from Democrats.

Earlier in the day, trying to start the bill moving again in the Senate, Mr. Bush called for an immediate burst of $4.4 billion in spending to show that the government was committed to “securing this border once and for all.”

Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, described the call for $4.4 billion as “a good start.” But Mr. Isakson said Mr. Bush needed to do more to secure the border and to show that he was serious about enforcing immigration laws

Comments by Republican senators on Thursday suggested that they were feeling the heat from conservative critics of the bill, who object to provisions offering legal status. The Republican whip, Trent Lott of Mississippi, who supports the bill, said: “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”

At some point, Mr. Lott said, Senate Republican leaders may try to rein in “younger guys who are huffing and puffing against the bill.”

Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, welcomed the president’s support for more spending on border security, but said, “There’s no reason why we should be forced to tie amnesty to it.”

Mr. Bush said the $4.4 billion would “come from the fines and penalties that we collect from those who have come to our country illegally” and apply for legal status.

Representative Duncan Hunter of California, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, scorned such linkage.

“The idea that we will have border security only if it’s paid for by illegal immigrants is unacceptable,” Mr. Hunter said.

Matthew A. Towery, a political analyst in Atlanta who was once a campaign chairman for Newt Gingrich and is now chief executive of a polling firm, Insider Advantage, said: “Having George W. Bush come out and speak in favor of the immigration bill does not do any good for Republican senators. He just irritates the conservative base of the Republican Party, which has abandoned him on this issue.”

A new proposal floated on Thursday in an effort to deter the hiring of illegal immigrants would put biometric identifiers into Social Security cards. That change would make the cards more difficult to forge and counterfeit, Mr. Schumer said.

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At 7:28 PM, Blogger Winghunter said...

Numbers USA, The Heritage Foundation, Michelle Malkin and Senator Jeff Sessions ALL bring us several dozen valid reasons why this bill MUST have been "compromised" only to fail...for reasons that come to mind all too quickly.

In less than a year and a half we will have someone there that will represent us...Send this bill packing and vote for Fred Thompson.


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