President Barack Obama has advanced plans to push another part of his agenda in the coming months - what amounts to amnesty and citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal aliens now residing here in America:
Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — which might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.
The president and Democrats will also oppose measures that do not allow immigrants who gain legal status to become American citizens one day, the officials said.
Even while Mr. Obama has been focused on fiscal negotiations and gun control, overhauling immigration remains a priority for him this year, White House officials said. Top officials there have been quietly working on a broad proposal. Mr. Obama and lawmakers from both parties believe that the early months of his second term offer the best prospects for passing substantial legislation on the issue.
Mr. Obama is expected to lay out his plan in the coming weeks, perhaps in his State of the Union address early next month, administration officials said.
I assume this amnesty will include the 6-700,000 illegal aliens who already have deportation orders whom ICE is either unable or unwilling to find.
First of all, while this is labeled as 'comprehensive' it really isn't. It is aimed strictly at Latinos who will be reliable Democrat voters.That's why there's the insistence of a path to citizenship, to be implemented as rapidly as possible. There are people from Europe and Asia and the Caribbean who have paid immigration lawyers thousands of dollars and waited years to become citizens, and this proposed legislation simply labels them suckers for obeying the law.Ditto for anyone who fell in love with a foreign national, married them and attempted to get them into America.To such people, the rhetoric from the usual suspects about 'fairness' and 'compassion' rings maddeningly hollow.
Second, this kind of amnesty legislation is, frankly, racist. It de facto favors one kind of demographic over all others, strictly for political reasons. It does not address the nation's needs, which is what immigration is supposed to be about, but merely the ethnicity of the favored group and their proximity to being able to walk across the border.
And third, unless this 'comprehensive' proposal involves securing our borders, future enforcement and the deportation of those who break our immigration laws (and I can almost guarantee you it won't), it isn't comprehensive at all. Just like the amnesty President Reagan okayed a generation and a half ago at the urging of Teddy Kennedy, it will merely open the floodgates for subsequent waves of illegal immigration and the establishment of a permanent underclass, bidding down the price of labor.
Even worse, President Obama's plan reportedly includes a provision for a federally funded Guest Worker program. Is there any reason whatsoever that such a program can't be implemented now, using the carrots of legalized status of a sort, humane wages and protection and the stick of immediate deportation without appeal for failing to register? Of course there is. The Democrats want these people voting. And soon,if they're not voting already.
The usual rhetoric from Democrats about how this isn't amnesty because legalizing the status of illegal aliens will include measures like fines, the payment of back taxes and other, unnamed conditions is sheer hot air. Paying a fine was proposed before and both illegal aliens and their lobbying groups rejected it outright, because the mindset at work here is that immigration is a right for them, not a privilege extended by a sovereign nation. Who pays a fine for exercising what they've been told is their rights? Nor are many of them going to admit to income from the cash economy or wages that were paid under the table that can be taxed retroactively.Would you?
What would a practical and compassionate plan for dealing with the wholesale illegal migration of the last few decades look like?
The first step has to be enforcement, both of our border and of our current immigration laws. Border enforcement is a national security issue, not an immigration issue. And rigidly enforcing our existing immigration laws that three presidents in a row have essentially ignored is essential to ensure that new immigrants are treated fairly and don't have to engage in a race to the bottom on wages and working conditions competing with the next waves of illegal migrants.
The next step is to recognize some basic truths.While many of the illegal migrants are exactly the sort of hard working, decent people we should welcome into our American family, some are not.While most of them came here for the economic opportunity and liberty unavailable at home, others came here to take advantage of our social welfare infrastructure, to commit crimes, or simply as a convenient place to earn money to send out of America.
Before we talk about legalizing anyone's status, We need to do what every civilized western country except America has done - to eliminate country quotas and clumsy diversity and 'lottery' visas and instead create a 'points' system applying equally to all foreign nations based on the country's needs and other criteria to determine how many of the estimated 11 million illegal migrants we can absorb, and how many we can not.
Every illegal migrant should then be given 60 days to register with ICE, after which they would receive a temporary ID that gives them status to stay in America while their ultimate status is being determined.It would also allow them to have taxes withheld and to receive the protection of existing minimum wage laws and OSHA regulations. The ID should be something that has to be renewed every 60 days, and failing to do so, or failing to register in the first place would be grounds for immediate deportation without appeal. Anyone employing an illegal migrant without this ID would be punished with a fine of at least $10,000 for the first violation and increasing increments for subsequent ones.
The points system would feature criteria like existing skills or education, employment status, criminal record, health status, at least some basic knowledge of English and whether there were family members or employers willing to sign on as guarantors to ensure that the new migrant did not become a public charge for a period of time to be determined.
That last detail would allow family members or friends to assist a new migrant in staying in America, something I think most familia would eagerly embrace, as would employers with a valued and trusted employee.If not, it would be a useful thing to consider when listening to some of the rhetoric put out by the president and the pro-Amnesty lobby.
You'll notice I did not include time spent as a resident in America as a criterion. That's because it's difficult to actually prove how long many illegal migrants have actually been residents,paperwork and affidavits are easily forged or fraudulently obtained and because it actually should have no bearing on whether someone is allowed legal status. There's already an existing program to bestow U.S. citizenship on a non-citizen who has served or wants to serve in our military. And someone who was brought here as a child and who has lived in America since childhood, is attending a university or has lived and worked in America for a number of years has an existing record that can be assessed and should have made progress on most or at least some of the other criteria.
Sorting out who's here, determining their status and decided who stays and who has to go is going to be a huge and difficult job, but it's a consequence of the avoidance of tackling that task earlier when it should have been a priority. The alternatives, both undesirable, involve blanket amnesty ala' President Obama or the rejection and deportation of all illegal migrants, a destructive and harmful process.
To those who claim it is inhumane to deport anyone who came here illegally, I'll merely repeat an obvious truth, one that ought to be evident to anyone observing the financial crisis going on in Europe right now: you can either have an immigration society or a welfare state, but not both. America's last surge of immigration (almost entirely legal and thoroughly vetted, by the way) took place when there was very little of the welfare state that emerged with the New Deal and the Great Society. Things are different today.
As for penalties, fines and back taxes, there really should only be one, and Senator Marco Rubio, the child of Cuban immigrants himself includes it as part of his own plan on immigration.Those who came here illegally and are allowed to stay should be sent to the back of the line behind all legal immigrants to apply to become permanent residents, without any special, fast tracked path to citizenship.
I can hear President Obama and his minions screaming like wounded peahens from here.
Aside from the issue of fairness to those who played by the rules and went through the ordeal and expense of immigrating legally, this also has another benefit. It allows the now legal migrants additional and needed time to assimilate into America's society and culture.
We have done precious little to address this, largely because certain politicians and activists like the idea of a balkanized, disenfranchised group of voters who can be manipulated based on appeals to ethnic solidarity and the fact they have limited knowledge of English rather than their actual best interests.
A comprehensive new program of civics courses, ESL programs and tutoring in American history and our Constitution directed at immigrants would work wonders in solving this problem, increasing the ties of the new immigrants to their new native land, allowing them to improve their personal circumstances and turning a significant portion of what President Obama and the Democrats see as a captive potential voting bloc into an informed electorate that understands why they and so many others came here to embrace the American Dream in the first place.