Skip to comments.Bills Could Grant Legality To 10 Million Immigrants
Posted on 05/12/2005 8:46:37 AM PDT by Scenic Sounds
Sweeping measures face an uphill fight
WASHINGTON Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate will introduce legislation today that could grant legal status to an estimated 10 million to 12 million illegal immigrants now in the United States.
The bills, which would dwarf previous programs to provide legal status to foreign workers, would give illegal immigrants work permits and the opportunity to apply for permanent residence and eventually citizenship once they pay a fine and fees.
The legislation is certain to raise the temperature of a national debate already simmering over the Minuteman Project's volunteer border patrols and just-passed legislation to deny driver licenses to undocumented immigrants.
The legislation is expected to face an uphill fight in Congress. But it would be a landmark event if enacted.
Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz., will introduce the bill in the Senate. In the House, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., will team with Arizona Republicans Jeff Flake and Jim Kolbe to introduce the measure.
The sponsors have scheduled a news conference today to kick off a publicity campaign. It will be coordinated with immigrant advocates and church groups as well as business and farming organizations that want to stabilize their work forces.
Flake said the bills seek to bring immigration law in line with job markets that have become increasingly dependent on illegal immigrants because legal workers aren't filling the jobs.
"The bottom line is we're going to have a need for foreign workers in the foreseeable future," Flake said.
He said Congress has not provided federal officials with the tools to enforce the law because it doesn't want to cut off the flow of workers.
"We can make it legal through some mechanism or we can keep it illegal and keep on pretending we are going to enforce it," he said.
While details are still being negotiated, according to the Denver Post, major provisions include:
After a criminal background check and medical examination, most of the illegal immigrants now in the country would be allowed to apply for a new visa legalizing their status. They would have to pay $2,000 in fines and processing fees for having entered the country illegally. After six years, these workers and their families could apply for permanent residency.
A guest-worker program would allow employers to bring in 400,000 foreign workers in its first year. After that, the cap would be adjusted annually based on demand. The cap could change no more than a fixed percentage a year, sources said, and those workers could eventually apply to permanently reside in the United States.
A new system would be designed to require employers to electronically verify whether their workers are in the country legally and eligible to work. Fines for employers caught hiring illegal workers would double.
"Once a program is in place for employers to get workers, there's no excuse for them not to cooperate," Flake said. "You get a good program and you enforce the heck out of it."
But Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said the program must provide enough foreign workers to meet labor needs and enough enforcement to win the support of a public increasingly skeptical about the government's ability to manage immigration.
"Any proposal will rise or fall on whether the legal channels are wide enough and the enforcement effective enough," Sharry said. "In the past it was, 'Let's keep legal channels small, but let's not enforce them too much.' "
The bills' advocates hope that the $2,000 fine will soften the angry reaction that has accompanied past amnesties, such as the sweeping 1986 measure that gave legal status to 2.7 million immigrants, most of them Mexican.
Almost 20 years later, the illegal immigrant population is expanding by nearly 500,000 people a year, according to Pew Hispanic Center demographer Jeffrey Passell.
In 1986, amnesty meant a green card for immigrants who were eligible, either because they had lived in the United States several years or in a major concession to California farmers because they had worked 90 days in the fields.
A fight to update that definition has already broken out.
"An amnesty is an unconditional pardon for a breach of law," Flake said.
"That's semantics," said Jack Martin of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which wants to clamp down on illegal immigration. "Any program that gives legal status to people who entered the country illegally or have stayed here illegally after being admitted is an amnesty."
Both sides will eagerly await reaction from President Bush, who last year proposed a program to provide temporary legal status for undocumented workers already here and to match "willing workers" from around the world with "willing employers."
Although the president said he rejected amnesty, he left open the possibility that some of the workers could get in line for a green card. That coveted document confers permanent residence status and the eventual opportunity to apply for citizenship.
Yesterday, White House spokeswoman Maria Tamburri responded carefully to a question about the Kennedy-McCain bill.
"The president will work with Congress on enacting legislation that is consistent with the principles he announced last year," she said.
Mark Krikorian, who directs the Center for Immigration Studies, said the White House was stunned at many conservatives' furious reaction at Bush's proposal.
Krikorian, whose organization favors restrictive immigration policies, predicted that Bush will wait to gauge public reaction to the legislation before announcing his position on it.
"There is already a match burning because of the Minuteman program," he said, referring to the volunteer patrols in Arizona near the Mexican border. "They should be afraid that this would throw gas on the fire."
The President wants to hear from us about all this. ;-)
McCain must be ejected from the GOP and the Senate. This has gone too far.
Sensenbrenner will never let it pass the House Judiciary Committee.
I'm so glad to see our Enlightened Elites know what's best for us peasants and serfs. God forbid that we should carry on with the illusion of a republic by the people for the people, instead of the reality Oligarchy that we live in by the elites for the elites on the backs of the serfs.
There is no way that the INS, or whatver it's calling itself these days, can effectively handle the processing of 10 million-odd people in a timely manner.
The agency is hard-pressed to even cope with what it has to do right now, today. Injecting so many more people into the system overnight is not going to help.
If it passes, the govt will be so busy absorbing these criminals and the IRS will be so flooded with work, it will expand freedom for everyone else. And when 15 or 20 million formerly-illegals are not paying taxes on income, it will eventually lead to the destruction of the IRS.
The only way I will accept as legal is to return them from whence they came.
The only illegals that should even be considered for legal status are the ones serving on the front lines. Prove how much they want to be an American. Citizenship through service ala Heinlein, otherwise do the paperwork.
Once they do have rights, the employers are going to want a fresh crop of illegals.
This ain't gonna fly, Orville.
...the White House was stunned at many conservatives' furious reaction at Bush's proposal...
We're in the hands of idiots.
And this will stop illegal imigration how??
Impeachment and recall of many of the elected in Washington would be in order [since tar and feather recommendations get pulled by the moderators].
Thanks for breaking our laws! Wanna become a citizen?
AMNESTY FOR THE 10 MILLION HERE JUST MAKES IT HARDER TO DEAL WITH THE NEXT 10 MILLION WHO WILL COME BY THE END OF THE YEAR TO GET THE GOODIES AND GET IN ON THE NEXT AMNESTY!!!
Guys, the illegals here are incidental to the main problem: WE MUST REGAIN CONTROL OF THE BORDER!!
Actually, this is a positive step, you can't crush the beast unless it sticks it's ugly head out of the hole.
I think it's already too late for these guys to slip their legislative amnesty crap through, I think this really is throwing gas on the fire. I am fine with the legal Hispanic community, even helped start a Spanish language TV station, but the illegals are a BIG problem (you just have to watch the nightly news here in Vegas to see the crimes being committed).
Illegality begats illegality, and once you start debating the amnesty stuff this becomes pretty clear, it's the same as throwing most of our workplace and identification laws out the window.
Did I miss something? After a bunch of sensical approaches to the illegal alien problem, I could not find anything saying that they will deport anyone? Why can't Americans also have a protection saying that these people cannot vote until they are permanent citizens?
Mike Rogers' office will be getting a call from me on my drive home.
"How many of us got our start in business by washing dishes,"
I started at $1.25 working in a burger joint, and believe me, $1.25 was nothing even then. Cleaned restrooms at a local motel. Washed dishes a couple of places. Learned a TON.
Perhaps reparations are in order here too. McCain, Bush, and Boxer would no doubt approve of handing out $30,000 to every illegal immigrant currently in the US. No reason or logic here, just those people need help and money and we have it.
The single biggest fact that won't go away. We can't kick all of them out of the country nor can they remain forever illegal. Any solution will inevitably involve some kind of legalization. We really need to think of the bigger picture. Maybe we can turn the billions of dollars sent back to Mexico from a drain into leverage. One thing for sure, this is a tough issue.
Just speculating here. Allow them to live and work here, which is easy since they'll be living and working here anyway. But they can never become citizens with voting rights and access to government benefits without going through the proper channels. Link this with a requirement for a national id card. Penalize employers who hire illegals. I'm beginning to think Bush's basic idea may be the only way to go.
It doesn't necessarily have to. If it passes the Senate, they can send it over to the House and bring it straight to the floor, bypassing Sesenbrenner's committee, if the House leadership were to allow that to occur.
America First Party
Several bullet points on both illegal & legal immigration in their platform.
America First Party
Independant American Party
I found no mention of immigration or illegal aliens in their platform.
Independant American Party
The American Party
From their platform: "We are opposed to all illegal aliens and, therefore, support laws and enforcement to deport them."
The American Party
AMNESTY IS TREASON!!!
And the hits just keep on coming!
Huge mistake. Our elected officals are determined to destroy this country. We have enough criminals - we don't need to import millions more. And those millions have millions of relatives who whill swarm this country.
"After a criminal background check and medical examination, most of the illegal immigrants now in the country would be allowed to apply for a new visa legalizing their status. They would have to pay $2,000 in fines and processing fees for having entered the country illegally. After six years, these workers and their families could apply for permanent residency. "
The $2000 is just for the visa. They still have to wait 6 years just to be able to applyl for permanent residency.
The major problem I see with the Constitution and American Independent parties (from reading some of their platorms/position statements) is their weazelly views of foreign relations (ie., War on Terror). They seem to advocate an isolationist view of the US in the world. That won't happen.
Their domestic platforms seem conservative, overall. They just don't have a realistic outlook on international affairs.
I would say that the legal citizens and those legally in this country currently collaborating and/or working on behalf to allow illegal aliens legal status or attempting to circumnavigate Federal Immigration Laws, as well as politicians and judges who fail to act to secure our boarders, deport the illegals, and enforce our laws should be found of conspiracy to break federal law, which in effect, conspiracy to break the law, is a felony. The conspiracy theory can easily be tied to those wanting to improve the bottom line of businesses using cheap labor.
The difference between the Kennedy McCain bill and what the president wants (per FNC) is that Kennedy MccCain's guest program inclues convertability of the worker visa to a permanent visa.
This is just an effort to add more democrats.
McCain is an IDIOT. This kills his presidential bid. Seriously he has been played and played for a first class fool. He is too blind to realise that hitlary has just effectivly checkmatted him on immigration.
Absolutely HELL NO.
This is unreal.
FIRST build a real security fence, and THEN come talk to us about other options.
But the whores that be instead want to sell out our country to the highest bidder. It's long past time to kick these Traitorous idiots out.
Our political leaders are all whores, so they figure we'll shut up like whores if the illegals just pay $2,000 for citizenship. (This is MUCH less than what legal immigrants pay in all of their fees.)
It's long past time to kick these Traitorous idiots out.
Quisling: A word Norwegians are not very proud of having given to the world: it derives from Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), a Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. He established his name as a synonym for "traitor", someone who collaborates with the invaders of his country, especially by serving in a puppet government. Quisling was found guilty of high treason in 1945, and was executed by firing squad on the 24th October 1945.