We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This site has a useful overview of three of the so-called "immigration reform" bills currently floating around Capitol Hill. Two of them, as can be seen through taking even the briefest glance at their provisions, are little more than blanket amnesties that contain clauses which would also vastly increase our rate of legal immigration, already the highest in the world by a wide margin.
The Sheila Jackson Lee-sponsored bill is beneath contempt- Vincente Fox himself, if given the chance to write such a bill, would not have been so bold: "Eliminates minor crimes as a basis for deportation"? So just what exactly would an illegal immigrant have to do under this bill to get himself deported? "Eliminates authority of state and local agencies to carry out immigration functions and allows them to prohibit local enforcement of immigration law." There's really no need to go on any further here, folks.
As for the second bill, the warning signs should already be seen just by glancing at the names of the co-sponsors: Ted Kennedy, the author of the infamous 1965 law which inaugurated our current era of mass, uncontrolled immigration, and John McCain, who has lately come out in support of the rights of illegal aliens rather than his own Arizona constituents. Instead of simply giving away permanent residency to illegals, the bill would fine them $2,000 to obtain it, essentially putting American citizenship up for sale. Sickening as that prospect is, the bill contains another provision that would arguably have an even greater long term impact: the removal of immigrants admitted under "family reunification" from the current immigration cap.
Now, the issue of family reunification and its effect on immigration patterns is best left for another post, but it suffices to say that approximately two-thirds of all approximately 1,000,000 legal immigrants admitted each year are brought in simply because they already have relatives within the country (rather than, say, for their labor skills, educational attainment, etc.). If such people were no longer counted towards the cap, the result would plainly be a massive increase in legal immigration- perhaps as much as a doubling of the yearly rate, if not much more. This provision represents a highly disingenuous attempt to effect a dramatic change in immigration levels without even having to state such explicitly. Of course, a similar level of deception was employed in the 1965 Kennedy bill, which the Senator promised "will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society." Which, in time, it precisely did.
The third bill, sponsored by senators John Cornyn and Jon Kyl, from Texas and Arizona respectively, is the only one that even attempts to show any respect for the rule of law or the popular will of an overwhelming majority of Americans. While ostensibly cracking down on illegal immigration by requiring that illegals leave the country within five years, the bill leaves the door open with a proposed "guest-worker" program that would create as many new problems as it would solve (not to mention the logistical challenges in enforcing the tangle of security provisions and requirements). The employer sanctions it calls for are exactly what is needed, but the government has shown itself to be extraordinarily reluctant to enforce such sanctions in the past, even when required by law. The bill also authorizes state and local officials to enforce federal immigration law- a crucial step, for sure, but as long as the nation's major cities continue to throw the welcome mat out to illegals this can only be a partial solution.
Meanwhile, Bush has been consorting with his allies in big business and agriculture in order to force an amnesty of one sort or another by the end of the year, the LA Times recently reported. Why Bush is so obsessed with an issue that occupied perhaps no more than 10 minutes of his public time and a single question in a third debate during the campaign is difficult to discern, but it is clear that things are at last coming to a head. I can't offer any predictions of the outcome just yet, but thank God ordinary Americans have an advocate like Tom Tancredo to rely on in the fight.