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Real Cost of Bush's Immigration Plan Staggering ^ | Jan 12, 2004, | CHRISTIAN BOURGE

Posted on 01/12/2004 1:41:35 PM PST by fatso

Real Cost of Bush's Immigration Plan Staggering

The massive cost of President Bush's proposed changes to the nation's immigration system is an important aspect of the debate over recognizing illegal workers that has been largely ignored in the debate over the proposal this week. The U.S. General Accounting Office released findings Thursday that show the federal agency that oversees immigration applications has a massive backlog and is inadequately funded to meet existing, much less increased demand.

Although it is widely known that the Immigration and Naturalization Service long had problems processing immigration applications in a timely manner, when the agency was split up and application processing resources redirected into the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the problem was supposed to be addressed.

Bush's proposal is aimed squarely at illegal aliens from Mexico working and living in the United States.

It would allow existing illegal workers to apply for a three-year work visa that can be renewed to six years with the possibility to apply for permanent residency status. In addition, foreign workers will be able to apply for visas to take jobs in the United States that would be posted on a government-run database.

The news that the CIS is having significant problems meeting demand is important because it underscores a major problem with Bush's proposed reforms beyond the debate over the efficacy of the plan.

It remains unclear how the massive costs of implementation and monitoring will be paid for as the federal budget deficit promises to reach a record of more than half a trillion dollars in 2004.

In a Jan. 5 letter to the top members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, GAO reports that from fiscal 2001 through 2003, the agency's operating costs exceeded the fees collected from applicants by almost $460 million.

The GAO review of immigration application fees and processing was required by law under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

The audit agency also reports that CIA has not met the goal, set in March 2002, of a 6-month processing time for immigration applications and that the agency has no system to track the status of individual applications as they move through the process.

CIS has not even performed an analysis of the steps needed to reduce processing times.

But most important is the fact that despite a funding increase of $80 million annually starting in 2002, the number of pending applications had increased by 59 percent, or more than more than 2.3 million to around 6.2 million by Sept. 30, 2003, the end of the fiscal year.

In addition, the full costs of the agency's operations cannot be determined because analyses of the costs to process incoming and pending applications as well as administrative and overhead costs have yet to be completed.

Although Bush has proposed that immigration recognition include a fee and a penalty, this makes it impossible to see if those fees will cover the increased costs to the agency.

Some critics contend the program would not result in a massive influx of applications from illegal workers or Mexicans seeking work north of their border, they can already, after all, get jobs here without paying a federal penalty.

But imagine the problems an influx of new applications would create in a system incapable of handling the current flow of applications.

The Congressional Budget Office reported Wednesday that the federal budget deficit reached $126 billion in the first three months of fiscal 2004, placing the deficit on track to top $500 billion this year.

This along with promises made by Bush this week to increase federal spending on education and promises by congressional Republicans for more tax breaks for industry, just how would a new immigration program fit into the mix?

I surely don't know and I doubt the Bush administration's Office of Management and Budget or GOP political Svengali Karl Rove knows either and doubt at this point they really care.

In the end, it probably won't matter because the Bush administration probably doesn't really plan on getting the proposal enacted this year.

Given the controversy surrounding the issue, it is unclear that such legislation could even gain congressional approval.

Although Senate Majority leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has indicated that he will push for passage of the plan, congressional aides from both parties are privately dismissive of its chances given that it is an election year and the contentiousness a floor debate would engender.

It is estimated that around 60 percent of the 8 million to 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States come from Mexico, making the issue very important to the Latino electorate.

With the announcement coming as election year politicking goes into full swing, the Bush proposal is clearly an attempt to appeal to this demographic.

They are seen as key to winning several top states like Arizona and Florida, both of which Bush barely won in 2000.

However, there are some risks. Bush's move could alienate some in his conservative base who would be opposed to the idea and keep them home Election Day, but this is not likely if the plan fails to move forward.

Even if the bill fails and does not give the White House the help it clearly hopes for with Hispanics, polls are already showing Bush performing well with Latinos.

In a poll of 500 Hispanics conducted for the Pew Hispanic Center in early January and released Thursday, more than half of the Hispanic respondents said they think Bush is doing a good job with 37 percent indicating they would like to see the president re-elected.

Bush received 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2000, compared to 62 percent for the Democratic candidate for president, Vice President Al Gore.

Latinos traditionally skew Democratic in their voting, but only 47 percent of those polled said they would prefer a Democrat win the election. The margin of error in the polls was 4 percent.

The capture of Saddam Hussein is seen as having given Bush a boost among Hispanics.

In polls taken for Pew in early December, less than half of those polled said Bush was doing a good job with a fourth indicating they would vote for in him November.

Whether Bush is successful in creating a new class of legal immigrant workers or not, so far the president seems already on the way to getting the votes he needs among this portion of the electorate.

If Hispanics by his sincerity about implementing immigration reforms he can't pay for without taking budget moves that will likely plunging the country deeper into debt, then he surely will.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: aliens; amnesty; bush; immigration; oas
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1 posted on 01/12/2004 1:41:35 PM PST by fatso
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To: fatso

Americans oppose increase in immigration


Most Americans adamantly oppose both increasing the amount of legal immigration to the United States and legalizing those immigrants now here illegally, the two key elements in President Bush's immigration overhaul proposal.

On no other foreign policy issue do average Americans disagree more with government and business leaders and other "elites" than on immigration.

"The number of people who want immigration increased is very small," said Steven A. Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies. "If 55 or 60 percent of the public wants less immigration, a third wants it the same and 7 percent wants it more — [Mr. Bush] is going for that 7 percent."

The issue cuts across party lines, but already yesterday opponents in Congress were lining up.

Mr. Bush proposed allowing illegal aliens already in the United States and foreign residents to apply for legal work status here, as long as an employer has certified he would employ the person and no U.S. worker is readily available.

The president also proposed increasing the level of overall legal immigration, and though he didn't specifically guarantee that the guest workers would get legal permanent residence, members of Congress said they expect the two will have to be tied together somehow.

But a Gallup poll from June found only 13 percent of Americans thought immigration should be increased, while 47 percent said it should be reduced and 37 percent said it should be kept at its present level.

Opposition has remained high for several years. A Zogby poll from 2002 found that 58 percent of Americans wanted to reduce immigration, 65 percent disagreed with amnesty and 68 percent felt the United States should deploy military troops to the border to curb illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of Americans believe present immigration levels are a "critical threat to the vital interests of the United States." But when the poll asked the same question of government officials, business leaders and journalists, only 14 percent thought so.

When asked whether immigration levels should be kept the same, increased or reduced, 55 percent of Americans opted for a reduction, while 18 percent of the poll's sample of "elites" thought so, according to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Also, proposals that are seen as soft on illegal immigrants have come back to bite politicians before.

Just last year, California Gov. Gray Davis was hurt in his bid to stave off a recall when he signed a bill to let illegal immigrants obtain state driver's licenses. The new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, pushed a repeal of that provision through the legislature.

An exit poll commissioned by the Federation for American Immigration Reform showed that 30 percent of California voters said they were somewhat or much more likely to vote against Mr. Davis because he signed the law. Only 8 percent of voters were somewhat or much more likely to support him because of it.

"How did Davis get it so wrong?" Mr. Camarota said. "The reason is, he and people like George Bush live in an echo chamber of elites, where the received wisdom on immigration is all the same."

"But once you get out of the Beltway, or leave the offices of the Chamber of Commerce, the number of people in the U.S. who think it's a good idea to give legal status to illegal aliens, or more generally to increase immigration, is very small," Mr. Camarota said.

Still, guest-worker proponents say that if they get a chance to explain their plans, they can win over the public.

"The difference here is some people see this being portrayed by the Pat Buchanans of the world as launching a new wave of immigration, whereas we see it more as acknowledging the wave that has already happened," said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, who is sponsoring one of the leading guest-worker proposals pending in Congress.

His proposal, which he is sponsoring along with two fellow Arizona Republicans — Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jim Kolbe — would allow an illegal alien to pay a fine and apply for legal work status and after completing two terms, they could apply for permanent legal residence.

Mr. Flake pointed to a poll of Arizona voters that found after Mr. Flake's proposal was explained, it garnered 59 percent support. The poll was conducted by KAET-TV and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

And Don Stewart, spokesman for Sen. John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who has his own guest-worker program pending in the Senate, said he expects the public perception to change now that the president has put something specific on the table.

"People have been polling in the abstract, now they're polling on something specific, and the numbers will change accordingly," Mr. Stewart said. Mr. Bush's guest-worker proposal closely tracks the bill Mr. Cornyn is sponsoring in the Senate.

Even proponents like Mr. Kolbe said they don't expect to pass their bill this year.

"It's probably likely we will not see legislative action before 2005," he said.

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican and an opponent of the proposals, said sufficient opposition exists among rank-and-file Republicans on key committees that Mr. Bush would have to make a serious effort to convince Congress to act.

"I think it'll take a push from leadership, and it just depends on whether the president can put enough leverage on the speaker and on [House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay," Mr. King said.

Mr. King said whatever happens, he and other Republicans will fight it.

"I can tell you it will be a gloves-off fight all the way through," he said. Mr. DeLay last night said he supports a guest-worker program to grow the economy and enhance security, but said he remains "skeptical that [Mr. Bush´s plan] constitutes sound public policy."

"I applaud President Bush for his leadership and courage in addressing this complex and difficult issue, but I have heartfelt concerns about allowing illegal immigrants into a U.S. guest-worker program because it seems to reward illegal behavior," he said.

2 posted on 01/12/2004 1:47:09 PM PST by fatso
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To: fatso

Even more reasons why the amnesty proposal stinks.
3 posted on 01/12/2004 1:47:59 PM PST by k2blader (ˇVote Bush, Amexicanos y Amexicanas!)
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To: fatso
gov't authorities plan on leveling off the american population at 500,000,000.

what's that tell you?
4 posted on 01/12/2004 1:49:32 PM PST by no_problema
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To: fatso
It may never be enacted---but---you can expect to see a surge in illegal crossings, now that the news has made the Mexican papers.
5 posted on 01/12/2004 1:53:36 PM PST by Mamzelle
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To: no_problema
Immigrants blamed for crime
Ads say increases due to foreigners

Barbara Yost and Daniel González
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 10, 2004 12:00 AM

Ads blaming illegal immigration for higher crime rates began airing this week in the Valley in an effort to sway public opinion before Arizona's Feb. 3 Democratic presidential primary.

Listen to the radio ad, courtesy KFYI Radio

Some Hispanic leaders call the ads racist and are considering some kind of counterattack, while conservative groups believe the media spots are needed to decrease immigration and therefore reduce crime and an influx of immigrant labor.

One ad began airing on television and radio stations in the Phoenix market on Monday and will continue through the month. It cites an increase in homicide and home invasion rates and states, "Police say it's caused by illegal immigration."

Edmundo Hidalgo, chief operating officer for Valley-based Chicanos por la Causa, said his organization is discussing waging a campaign to counter the anti-immigration message, though he praised the quality of the ads.

"They're very well done," he said. "I understand why they're running them. This is an election year. The ads will appeal to a certain segment of the community. People will remember the sound bites."

He said he takes issue with the "content and truthfulness" of the message and said Chicanos por la Causa is planning a strategy to tell the other side of the immigration issue.

The Phoenix ad is part of a national media campaign to galvanize public support against any program that would make it easier for immigrants to work in the United States and any form of amnesty for undocumented immigrants already living here, said Roy Beck, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition United for a Secure America. Beck said the coalition is made up of several national groups that favor reducing immigration and population growth, including Americans for Better Immigration, Federation for Americans for Immigration Reform, Americans for Immigration Control and Pop.Stop.

The ads also began airing the same week President Bush outlined his plans for an overhaul in the nation's immigration system by creating a temporary-worker program that would give undocumented immigrants already here and foreigners the opportunity to apply for temporary work visas.

Although the Bush plan does not include a specific amnesty program, the commercial cites several amnesty programs proposed in the past. In some cities, the ads address other issues. In Iowa, where Democratic caucuses will be held Jan. 19, the campaign challenges the entry of more immigrant workers into the United States.

"In my eyes, it's real tunnel vision on those people's part," said Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, whose district includes central and southwest Phoenix. "We have a president bringing immigration out of the dark. . . . I think they're very racist."

Ben Miranda, Democratic state representative from south Phoenix, said the local add "offends me; I would like to see someone step forward and paint the other side." Miranda points out that the hotel, tourist, restaurant and construction industries depend on immigrant labor. Reducing immigration, he said, would "wreck the economy."

Steve Chucri, president and chief executive of the Arizona Restaurant and Hospitality Association, agrees that a decrease in immigrant labor "would have a major impact on the restaurant industry."

"They fill all kinds of jobs," he said.

Rusty Childress, treasurer of Protect Arizona Now, an organization that favors reducing Arizona's appeal to undocumented immigrants, said the ads speak to his sentiments.

"I like the message," he said, insisting that America's borders are no more secure today than they were after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Although conceding that Mexican nationals have not been tied to terrorism, he said that about 60 countries have been represented in border apprehensions.

Kathy McKee, state director of Protect Arizona Now, said she knew the ads were about to be aired and supports the campaign.

"I'm glad somebody with money has put that into advertising," she said. "I was very pleased. . . . The American public has been asleep while the government was condoning and supporting illegal acts (such as allowing non-citizens to vote and allowing welfare fraud)."

McKee and Childress deny the ads are racist. Said Childress, "It's not about race, it's about crime."

Detective Tony Morales, public information officer for the Phoenix Police Department, said that crime statistics cited in the Phoenix ad are probably accurate: homicides up 45 percent and home invasions up 41 percent.

The ad was produced by Davis and Co. in Washington, D.C., and similar ads soon will appear in at least 10 other cities, said Brantley Davis, executive vice president.

"You're going to be seeing these spots a lot," Davis said. "This is not $5,000 and that's it."
6 posted on 01/12/2004 2:05:51 PM PST by fatso
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To: k2blader; fatso
MCCAIN-FEINGOLD LAW LEAVES WASHINGTON A DESERTED SMOKING RUIN-Campaign Finance Reform thread-day 33 (with some opening humor)

7 posted on 01/12/2004 2:08:08 PM PST by The_Eaglet (Conservative chat on IRC:
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To: fatso
Let's not talk big numbers, let's talk small numbers. The cost of public education for a child in California is $7,000, the highest in the nation. If an illegal alien has just three children (I'll use a conservative number) in public schools, there's $21,000 right off the bat. Now what is the liklihood that that illegal alien pays $21,000 in taxes in return for the benefit?

We are getting killed over here in California as a result of these policies.

8 posted on 01/12/2004 2:09:32 PM PST by truthkeeper
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To: fatso
"The U.S. General Accounting Office released findings Thursday that show the federal agency that oversees immigration applications has a massive backlog and is inadequately funded to meet existing, much less increased demand."

How does this help the WAR on Terror?

How will giving the limited resouces of the INS ( ICE) even more to do make my nation safer?

9 posted on 01/12/2004 2:11:39 PM PST by Kay Soze (“The Bush immigration plan is heavily dependent on enforcement agencies we don't have”- WFBuckley)
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To: truthkeeper
Does this make any sense? All these added costs to lower the price of a head of lettuce!
10 posted on 01/12/2004 2:12:07 PM PST by leprechaun9
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To: leprechaun9
Personally, I'd give up lettuce forever in exchange for a massive tightening of our borders.
11 posted on 01/12/2004 2:16:15 PM PST by truthkeeper
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To: truthkeeper
Now what is the liklihood that that illegal alien pays $21,000 in taxes in return for the benefit?

What is the liklihood that that he will pay anything at all? In fact, he will probably get an EITC payment for being here.

Are you aware that you can list dependents who are living in Mexico as dependents on your federal tax return?

Oh yeah! They're gonna pay taxes allright! In your dreams!

12 posted on 01/12/2004 2:27:59 PM PST by navyblue
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To: truthkeeper
As it stands now, illegal aliens can only see their families if they sneak them into the United States with them or after them. If they are here as a guest worker under Bush's plan, aren't they allowed to travel back and forth freely to Mexico? Much less incentive to bring families here and that is presuming they would receive permission anyways.
13 posted on 01/12/2004 2:31:18 PM PST by Tamzee (EARTH FIRST!!! We'll stripmine the other planets later...)
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To: Tamsey
If they are here as a guest worker under Bush's plan, aren't they allowed to travel back and forth freely to Mexico?

I don't know.

14 posted on 01/12/2004 2:44:39 PM PST by truthkeeper
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To: truthkeeper
I checked it out and the guest worker status lets them go back and forth freely to Mexico....
15 posted on 01/12/2004 2:57:57 PM PST by Tamzee (EARTH FIRST!!! We'll stripmine the other planets later...)
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To: fatso
Howard Kaloogian said he's the only major GOP candidate for US Senate in California's March primary who doesn't support President Bush's immigration proposal (although I know he supports Bush's tax cuts, defense, and stuff like that).

I haven't heard from the other major candidates (Jones, Marin, Casey) about the "not an amnesty" amnesty. Jones supported Prop 187 ten years ago, but I don't know where he stands on the new Save our State initiative that's circulating. He's the only other candidate I've heard on the radio. Marin is from Mexico, and rumors are that she's soft on illegal immigration, although I've never read anything for sure. Casey is a former Democrat.

Gov. Schwarzenegger is on air with Roger at 4PM (AM-600 in So Cal).

16 posted on 01/12/2004 3:35:43 PM PST by heleny (No on propositions 55, 56, 57, 58)
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To: Tamsey
As it stands now, illegal aliens can only see their families if they sneak them into the United States with them or after them.

Not all illegal aliens sneak into the US. They are illegal because of their unapproved presence. It's easier for them to enter (and re-enter) legally on nonimmigrant short-term visas, such as tourist visas, and then simply overstay their visas. The US does not check who leaves the country.

17 posted on 01/12/2004 3:39:53 PM PST by heleny (No on propositions 55, 56, 57, 58)
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To: HiJinx; janetgreen; FITZ; gubamyster; SandRat; WRhine; joesnuffy; B4Ranch; moehoward; ...
18 posted on 01/12/2004 3:47:26 PM PST by Missouri
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To: truthkeeper
The cost of public education for a child in California is $7,000, the highest in the nation.

Not quite. According to the Pacific Research Institute, total spending for k-12 education in California is over $11,000 per child.

19 posted on 01/12/2004 5:01:54 PM PST by Carry_Okie (And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.)
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To: fatso
W just through that idea out there to thwart the libs during an election year... now the libs have to speak out against the grain regarding immigration
20 posted on 01/12/2004 5:05:11 PM PST by InvisibleChurch (FreeperSonal ad : What is the best stamp collecting site?)
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