Skip to comments.Felony clause stays on table in House bill
Posted on 04/11/2006 6:45:41 AM PDT by Dubya
WASHINGTON - When the U.S. House passed a bill last December making it a felony to be in the country illegally, the "get-tough" message became the flash point that has drawn millions of protesters into the streets.
With the Senate failing last week to finish a bill that would have rejected some of the harshest language in the House version, Republicans are expressing regret that the punitive House measure stands as the most recent congressional action on immigration.
"There are demonstrations all over America, and the House bill is the only bill out there," complained Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. His comprehensive border enforcement and worker visa program bill served as the framework for the Senate bill that was derailed in a partisan procedural fight.
House GOP leaders defend their decision to limit their bill to border enforcement and harsher penalties against illegal immigrants and those who hire them or give them aid. Many House Republicans also oppose President Bush's call for temporary work visas until the borders are made more secure and illegal immigration is curbed.
Penalties defended House sponsors wanted to erect new legal barriers to illegal immigration. In a recent letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, three House leaders defended the proposed penalties for those who give aid or counseling to illegal immigrants as a way to crack down on human and drug smuggling.
"We need to have the tools to be able to prosecute and put in jail the coyotes," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., referring to people who smuggle Mexicans and others into the United States.
Critics argue that anti-smuggling laws already are comprehensive and that Sensenbrenner was intent on cutting off humanitarian assistance to illegal immigrants.
"I would call on him to be honest and say that's what's happening," said Jeanne Butterfield, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Concedes 'overkill' While not giving in on that point, Sensenbrenner conceded that a provision making illegal immigrants felons was "overkill." But he blamed Democrats for blocking his efforts to lessen the penalty.
After the bill was sent from committee to the full House for a vote, the Bush administration realized the felony aspect could lead to an unprecedented demand for jury trials for illegal immigrants, swamping federal courts and detention facilities.
If the felony penalty becomes law, it would make an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants subject to arrest and jailing for up to a year for "unlawful presence" in the United States.
The White House asked Sensenbrenner to reduce the proposed violation to a misdemeanor, with a six-month jail term. But a vote to cut the penalty failed at the hands of law-and-order Republicans, as well as Democrats, who wanted to show that the GOP was being mean-spirited.
The Senate version would make the violation a misdemeanor.
I believe what the GOP does on this is going to determine if some conservatives even go vote any more.
Call Congress (202) 224-3121 and tell them you want the felony provisions in any final bill.
1) Enforce the current laws.This plan offers no form of reward or amnesty and clearly sets forth both a positive and a negative incentive for these people to leave and begin obeying our laws. Something like this MUST be done soon.
2) Come down on any company hiring illegals aliens immdiately and dry up the draw. Fine them, make them pay for the deportation of any illegals they have hired, and put the woners or managers who knowingly do this on some sort of probation, where a repeat offense causes the crime to be permanently on ther record and the only way tokeep it off is to not repeat for 5-10 years.
3) Begin rounding up, arresting and incarcerating for a short period in work camps near the border (working the able bodied hard at helping build the fence), any illegals we can find, then expel them.
4) Build a serious two layer fence across the southern border, allowing for normal crossings for legal immigration and valid green card holders. If we seriously did these four things, we wouldn't need to worry about catching them all, most would leave on their own.
5) After executing the above program for 90 days, offer the remaining illegals the following:a) If you voluntarily report at a border station or any INS office, you will be immediately deported, but, after we take a DNA sample, if you pass a background check while we do so, we will consider your immigration requst favorably if you get in line with everyone else and apply through the standard methods.
b) If you fail to report voluntarily and we have to catch you, or if you enter illegally again, then we will use your DNA to enusre that you are NEVER considered for immigration to the United States, then you will be incarcerated for 90 days abd expelled. If you are ever caught again, you will spend 20 years incarcerated, on work gangs before being expelled.
I'd prefer current law enforced. A felony law that isn't enforced is just more "feel-good legislation".
Hmmm, nowhere in the story does it say 191 DEMOCRATICS voted to make it a felony, while only 65 GOP members did. It was the DEMOCRATS who put the felony clause in, and it is the DEMOCRATS who are keeping it in.
I agree regarding future votes. I would also say this : we can make illegal presence a capital crime if we want to and it wont matter. The border can and should be sealed. Law is useless without enforcement and I have ZERO expectation that any felony provision would be enforced. We can and should make the law but ... it's kinda like buying gas when you know there's a hole in your tank.
What are you, a Democrat strategist?
I think it's important to cracjk down on those who help people break our laws, especially laws where national security is concerned.
Borders, language, culture.
The Muslim terrorists,the chi coms,the Cubans,Venezuelans,the shining path,Marasalvatrucha MS-13 & MS-18,the Columbian drug cartels,the assorted Mexican Mafia prison gangs,their compatriots already here,the rapists,drug mules,agricultural part time drug dealers,the murderers,home invasion specialists,car jackers,pedophiles,child pornographers,kidnappers,(take a breath) and all other assorted violent nasty repeat felons will be happy to here that the USA is wide open and they will enjoy the protection of both the Republican and Democrat parties...
And that Homieland Security just got even more power to enforce even more laws...(against who?) to protect 'we the people'
Our leaders will sell our collective soul to stay 'in power'
"National Security" is newspeak for "Politican Job Security"
I would like someone to answer this question.
As our immigration law stands TODAY, is it a felony to cross the border into the USA?
If it is NOT a felony today -- why make it a felony?
This doesn't make sense. Our government doesn't enforce the law as it is -- and then passes a more STRICT law -- which it won't enforce anyway? This is like waving a red cape in the face of a mad bull. It is not necessary.
Simply put -- take out the "felony" penalty and leave it a misdemeanor or whatever it is now.
Just ENFORCE the law.
Okay, can anybody tell me if it is a felony NOW?
How much will it cost to process them as felons? Just return them to Mexico.
The Rats put the felony clause in the bill as a poison pill, as has been amply documented on this site.
And the anchor-baby thing ... The children of illegal immigrants are costing us a fortune and they're going to vote our borders wide open. How many of those people marching in the streets do you suppose are US citizen children of illegal aliens who are marching to decriminalize their parents?
191 Democrats ...
Yeah - Where is the headline "DEMOCRATS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT FELONY IMMIGRANTS"
I guess, the botton line here is....who runs the country, a mob of Mexicans, or Congress....
Making it a felony would give it a lot more teeth and reason to be inforced. Whatever the illegality, we need to enforce it, period.
Thanks for the phone #
That is very good Jeff. Some great ideas there. I hope the politicians pick up on them.
I'm hoping it is we who still run the country.
Good for them.^)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.