Friday, May 26

Immigration Bill -- Now its off to Conference...

Whatever it is that passed in the Senate yesterday is NOT what will be law. Thank God! But it is yet to be seen what comes out of conference. One thing I know HAS to stay there is a good solid fence--physical and electronic. The question of the year is--at what cost?

Like all good politicians, this bill has turned into an entitlement giveaway and in its present state, it is full of large holes! Spend, spend, spend--even if we don't have enough to go around. But, what else is new? And never mind about the details of how we are going to enforce the specifics of the law...

The Senate approved a wide-ranging overhaul of immigration laws Thursday, voting 62-36 to bolster security at the Mexican border and to grant many illegal immigrants a path toward citizenship.

But the inclusion of that path sets the stage for a battle with the House of Representatives, which passed a stricter bill in December.

Several senators said after the vote that President Bush's participation in the political maneuvering will be key to crafting a compromise.

"I believe we can do it," Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, told reporters. "I believe the president will put a very heavy shoulder to the wheel."

The way they split who is eligible for what is what has me most concerned about this bill--it is just asking for abuse. What sort of proof do they require? From what I have heard, its a lot easier to fake than a Social Security card--and we know illegals can easily get those!

Under the Senate bill, he said, those who have been in the country two to five years would enter a temporary-worker program, while those inside longer would be eligible for legal status or citizenship after an 11-year probationary period. They would first have to meet other criteria, including learning English, and paying a penalty and back taxes.

Under the Senate legislation, illegal immigrants in the United States less than two years would be returned to their home countries.

CNN provided this rundown of its provisions:
Security

  • Authorizes enhanced border security measures, including the addition of a 370-mile, triple-layer fence along the border.
  • Authorizes President Bush's plan to send 6,000 National Guardsmen to the U.S.-Mexican border.
  • Bars those convicted of felonies or three misdemeanors from becoming legal residents or citizens.
  • Punishes employers who hire illegal immigrants with a fine up to $20,000 and three years in prison after an electronic verification system is established.

    Guest workers

  • Creates a guest-worker program that would allow workers to work in the country for three years and be eligible for a three-year extension. The number of temporary-worker visas would be limited to 200,000 per year.

    Legalization

    Establishes a three-tiered path-to-citizenship program, which divides the 11 million to 12 million illegal workers in the United States into three groups:

  • Illegal immigrants here for more than five years could gain their citizenship after working for six years, learning English and paying a penalty and back taxes.

  • Illegal immigrants here from two to five years would have to return to an entry point and apply for a guest-worker program.

  • Workers here less than two years would have to return to their countries of origin.

    Language

  • Declares English the "national" language of the United States.
  • Also declares English the "common and unifying" language of the United States.
  • Tags: Politics, MEXICO, Bush, Illegal immigration, border, News,