Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, June 29, 2007

Immigration Bill - Kick the Ball Charlie Brown

At least we did fall for Lucy's tricks this time.

As of this morning anyway, Europe’s last fascist dictator and the comprehensive immigration reform compromise have at least one thing in common. Like Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the immigration bill is still dead.
Already once risen from the grave, the immigration reform is likely to reemerge again. And it should, but not in its current form. And the process needs to be cleaner, more honest and more transparent. And proponents should have better arguments than to accuse opponents of racism.
For all of the good points that the bill contained - and there were many - too much of the compromise required that conservatives to trust the honesty and sincerity of Democrats. But haven’t we kicked at that football long enough? At least Charlie Brown learned to be suspicious of Lucy.
The New York Times gave the game away when the immigration reform last perished in the Senate three weeks ago. Pointing to what the editorial board considered punitive portions of the bill, such as the hurdles that must be crossed to gain citizenship and the restrictions on the number of family members that as the suddenly legal aliens may sponsor for entry into the US, the Times declared that those provisions could simply be stripped out by a future congress and the next president, whom the Times assumes will be a Democrat. The $5000 fine that the recently deceased legislation mandated must be paid by any illegal alien wishing for citizenship could simply be reduced to nothing. The restrictions upon the number of family members that a newly legalized alien may sponsor for citizenship could just as easily be overturned. However, the legalization of the 12-20 million illegal aliens already in this country could never be undone.
Translation: Kick the football Charlie Brown.
There is certainly adequate reason to distrust Democrats on this issue. Last year the Congress passed and the president signed a law directing the construction of a border fence. It lasted barely two weeks into the new year. Among the first acts of the new Democratic congressional majority was to strip funding for construction.
Lucy yanked the football away again.
As offensive as any particular clause in the legislation might have been, the attempt to ram it through without any serious debate was even worse. Several senators who had staked out strong positions one way or the other were eventually forced to admit that they had not read the law and were often surprised when interviewers confronted them with specifics that they did not know were included.
Even the White House, which had pushed hard for passage, could not answer whether or not someone who had committed serious crimes, such as identity theft, would be prevented from gaining legal status or even citizenship. When asked directly on the Dennis Miller Show, White House press secretary Tony Snow first said that any illegal alien who had used a stolen identity could not gain legal status, but then backtracked and admitted that he really didn’t know.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham unwittingly, or perhaps considering the source, witlessly, revealed a potential election strategy. He complained that the enforcement provisions were the best that the Republicans could get from a Democrat majority and that, to get even that, they had to give ground on the amnesty issue.
Well, bless my soul! It turns out that the overwhelming majority of the American people favor enforcement and oppose amnesty. So, why not make that a campaign issue in 2008? The American people overwhelmingly support the border fence that the Democrats defunded. Make them pay a political price by re-introducing the legislation over and over again.
Realistically, we will have to consider some form of legalization for the illegal aliens already in the country. It would be frankly impossible to track down and deport 20 million illegal aliens and even if we could, it would be devastating to an economy that already suffers from labor shortages. But, granting legal status as guest workers should be more than adequate compensation to someone who has spent his tenure in the United States as a chronic lawbreaker. Citizenship should be a prize reserved for those with a demonstrated reverence for our country and its laws.
The next immigration reform should be done in the open with all the debate and scrutiny that such consequential legislation deserves. Sunlight should shine on any deliberations of such consequence.
pe rest of the post here

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