Wednesday, January 30, 2013

U.S. Senate's Immigration Reform Package Promotes Amnesty For Up To 11 Million Illegal Immigrants Under The Guise Of "Path To Citizenship"

So far during the week of January 28th, 2013, comprehensive immigration reform packages have been introduced by the U.S. Senate and President Barack Obama. Both are similar, and both promote amnesty for illegal immigrants under the guise of a "path to citizenship". Most media sources claim there are up to 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. The U.S. House is expected to release their own immigration reform package. This post addresses the Senate package.

The Gang of Eight: These are the eight senators identified as the primary orchestrators. They include Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

The Program: The Senate's five-page immigration reform package is available HERE. It rests upon four legislative pillars:

-- Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;

-- Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;

-- Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,

-- Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

Creating a path to citizenship for illegals is a form of amnesty. Although illegals who have committed crimes or who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal status and subject to deportation, the package allows for other illegals to register with the government, which will include passing a background check and paying a fine and back taxes in order to earn probationary legal status, which will allow them to live and work legally in the United States. Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.

Any way you slice it or dice it, it's a general amnesty, because it allows them to go to the back of the line rather than remove them from the line altogether. This is why, although Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), a genuine conservative, helped draft parts of the plan, he has denounced it publicly. While Senator Lee supports enhanced border security, stronger visa enforcement, effective employment verification measures, and humane treatment of those lacking legal status, he said "These guidelines contemplate a policy that will grant special benefits to illegal immigrants based on their unlawful presence in the country. Reforms to our complex and dysfunctional immigration system should not in any way favor those who came here illegally over the millions of applicants who seek to come here lawfully."

No serious person is suggesting mass roundups and deportation of all 11 million illegal immigrants at once. What we suggest is deportation by attrition -- as we detect them in the course of normal activities, such as seeking employment or getting drivers licenses, we don't send them to the back of the line, but instead remove them from the line and send them back to their home countries. These people did more than commit a "civil trespass" -- they broke into our country, which is no different than someone breaking into your home. If we punish people who break into our homes, how can we not punish people for breaking into our country? Furthermore, if illegal immigrants are considered the movers, shakers, and risk-takers from their home countries, is it really fair for us to be continually sucking foreign countries dry of their entrepreneurial talent?

The Senate's immigration package doesn't even address two major sources of abuse -- birthright citizenship and the resultant proliferation of anchor babies, along with chain migration, where one immigrant gets a foothold and then opens the floodgates for an entire extended family. Birthright citizenship must be modified or abolished, and chain migration must be stopped.

But there are two controversial aspects of the package worthy of public support:

-- Illegal immigrants who entered the United States with their families before their 18th birthday. These people did not knowingly choose to violate our immigration laws. Many of them know little or nothing about their country of origin, to include the home country's language. It would be cruel and unfair to deport them to a land which may be unfamiliar to them; they would be economically and socially dysfunctional. We can and should create a path to citizenship for these people.

-- Agricultural workers. Many agricultural growers say they cannot find adequate numbers of Americans to harvest their crops. They are dependent upon foreign workers. Due to the utmost importance in our nation maintaining the safety of its food supply, agricultural workers who commit to the long term stability of our nation’s agricultural industries should be treated differently than other immigrants because of the critical role they play in ensuring that Americans have sufficient agricultural products to sell and consume. Those of these individuals who are illegal should earn a path to citizenship through a different process under a new agricultural worker program. However, this needs to be organized similar to the old bracero program in use in California during the 1950s and '60s -- the worker comes in during the harvest, leaves his family at home, harvests the products, and then returns to his home country after harvesting is completed.

How much would the Senate package cost American taxpayers? In U.S. News & World Report, Rosemary Jenks estimates that amnesty could cost U.S. taxpayers $30 billion a year in premium healthcare credits alone, noting that immigrants and illegal aliens are much more likely to live in poverty than U.S.-born citizens and thus more likely to rely on government assistance programs. Jenks adds that the Senate proposal would not stop future illegal immigration, and claims that it prioritizes legalization for those who have abused our immigration laws over mandatory E-Verify to protect the citizens and legal immigrant workers harmed by those abuses. In her purview, Jenks concludes the Senate proposal would expand, not reform, our failed immigration system; corporate CEOs would enjoy a labor market perpetually in their favor and their shareholders may profit.

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