Thursday, May 17, 2007

Senate Committee Drafts a Compromise Immigration Bill

Feces? Meet Fan.

When a bipartisan committee of senators composed, among others, of Ted Kennedy (D - Mass.), and Lindsey Graham (R - SC) come up with a compromise bill on illegal alien immigration, one that involves a program of granting 12 million undocumented immigrants a “Z visa”, a hue and cry is going to erupt from the right wing – well all except from members of the right wing who hire undocumented immigrants.

“Not fair,” they’ll say. “We are rewarding criminals for their criminal acts.” “They broke the law and now they’re getting away with it”.

But what are you going to do. Arrest and deport 12 million people? Separate children born in the US from their parents? Drive the house building industry into the ground? Drive up the price of lettuce and tomatoes.

Get real.

And that is exactly what the Senate committee finally got. Real.

This is reality based legislation that needs to be supported. It’s not perfect for everyone but it’s better than the idiotic and inhumane proposals of the far right.

The $5,000 fine is too steep, I think. It costs about $300 to pay legal immigration document fees. That’s a difference of 1666%. Most people who work as unskilled laborers can’t pay that much. That prohibitive cost will keep many from even applying.

Building an additional 370 miles of fencing at the border is a futile act and a complete waste of time, money and material, but if it is a sop for Republican sensibilities, then let’s build it. Did the Maginot Line keep the Germans from invading France? Nope. The Germans just went around it. Crafty Krauts.

Beefing up staffing – adding 18,000 Border Patrol agents – heck, why not. It gets people jobs and government benefits which aren’t bad as benefits go – just ask any teacher in Fort Bend ISD. But will adding 18,000 warm bodies to patrol our borders actually help ease the illegal crossings? Doubtful.

Immigration groups remain leery of the proposed bill. They say that the temporary worker part of the program will encourage illegal border crossings” as temporary workers go underground once their work permits expire.”. Unions are having trouble with the program as well, because the temporary worker program will bring in additional unskilled workers who will drive down wages for low skill work.

So yeah, this bill has its scars and blemishes. Compromise bills that touch the nerves of a lot of people are usually acne-prone. But legislators can’t all be dermatologists, or vice-versa.

And that’s a good thing.

1 comment:

Montag said...

In fact, "illegals" have become so ingrained in our economy that they're now an Economic Indicator. When border apprehensions go down this means that fewer are trying to enter the U.S., not that the Border Patrol is finally doing its job. They start tapering off because the jobs they need aren't there because of the leading edge of an economic downturn. When economists identify such a keep-away they can predict that within a year this job loss will trickle up to the better-paying jobs held by U.S. citizens. So now economists factor in border apprehensions in their economic forecasts--because when the "illegals" stop coming, be afraid, be very afraid!