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Felony clause stays on table in House bill
Houston Chronicle ^ | April 11, 2006 | GEBE MARTINEZ

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.

gebe.martinez@chron.com


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:
GOP leaders defend decision on penalties

I believe what the GOP does on this is going to determine if some conservatives even go vote any more.

1 posted on 04/11/2006 6:45:41 AM PDT by Dubya
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To: Dubya

Call Congress (202) 224-3121 and tell them you want the felony provisions in any final bill.


2 posted on 04/11/2006 6:47:21 AM PDT by TBP
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To: Dubya
I am glad the felony clause stayed in Dubya. I have refined my own plan for addressing illegal immigration and am forwarding it on to my reps:
1) Enforce the current laws.

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.
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.
3 posted on 04/11/2006 6:48:53 AM PDT by Jeff Head (www.dragonsfuryseries.com)
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To: Dubya

I'd prefer current law enforced. A felony law that isn't enforced is just more "feel-good legislation".


4 posted on 04/11/2006 6:49:49 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: Dubya
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.

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.

5 posted on 04/11/2006 6:51:34 AM PDT by Always Right
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To: Dubya

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.


6 posted on 04/11/2006 6:53:02 AM PDT by cdrw (Freedom and responsibility are inseparable)
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To: TBP
Call Congress (202) 224-3121 and tell them you want the felony provisions in any final bill.

What are you, a Democrat strategist?

7 posted on 04/11/2006 6:53:29 AM PDT by Always Right
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To: Always Right

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.


8 posted on 04/11/2006 6:58:22 AM PDT by TBP
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To: Dubya
The illegal invasion of the USA during war time should be a unenforced misdemeanor?

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"

imo

9 posted on 04/11/2006 6:59:32 AM PDT by joesnuffy (This 'Guest Worker Program' Is To Border Security as 'Campaign Finance Reform' Is To Free Speech)
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To: Jeff Head

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?



10 posted on 04/11/2006 7:00:56 AM PDT by i_dont_chat (I defend the right to offend!)
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To: Dubya

How much will it cost to process them as felons? Just return them to Mexico.


11 posted on 04/11/2006 7:01:57 AM PDT by dfwgator (Florida Gators - 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions)
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To: Dubya

The Rats put the felony clause in the bill as a poison pill, as has been amply documented on this site.


12 posted on 04/11/2006 7:11:58 AM PDT by lfod1776
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To: Jeff Head
Plan sounds pretty good.

I would add a sponsorship program (maybe there is one in existence already) that would allow employers to sponsor foreign workers. Their numbers would be regulated, the employer would have to register the workers, pay payroll taxes, pay them minimum wage ... indemnify the government, state and federal, against social services costs incurred by the worker or his family (employer has to pay the hospital bill for the guy if he doesn't provide health insurance).

I would also add that we need to eliminate this nonsense about any baby being born within US borders automatically becoming a US citizen. Citizenship in this country could be obtained after proving oneself a productive member of our society for several years. It need not be granted to foreign nationals at birth.

Employers in labor intensive businesses are competing against each other by using under-the-table workers. They are effectively subsidized by illegal tax avoidance and by government assistance programs that make it viable for the illegal to survive on below market wages. US citizens could be used for the same thing but these are things that "Americans won't do"! Once your competitor down the street starts undercutting you on contracts you have two choices a)go out of business or b)start hiring under-the-table workers just like your competition. It's a viscous cycle and it's a direct threat to our sovereignty. I would let them import workers so long as they keep US citizens on an equal footing. If we eliminate the cost advantage of illegals then the employers won't want to hire them and maybe my kids could actually get a job in the trades that sustained my family when they immigrated to this country 100+ years ago.

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?

13 posted on 04/11/2006 7:12:53 AM PDT by cdrw (Freedom and responsibility are inseparable)
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To: Always Right

191 Democrats ...


Yeah - Where is the headline "DEMOCRATS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT FELONY IMMIGRANTS"


14 posted on 04/11/2006 7:17:18 AM PDT by cdrw (Freedom and responsibility are inseparable)
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To: Dubya

I guess, the botton line here is....who runs the country, a mob of Mexicans, or Congress....


15 posted on 04/11/2006 7:52:53 AM PDT by thinking
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To: i_dont_chat

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.


16 posted on 04/11/2006 7:56:55 AM PDT by Jeff Head (www.dragonsfuryseries.com)
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To: TBP

Thanks for the phone #


17 posted on 04/11/2006 8:04:37 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: Jeff Head

That is very good Jeff. Some great ideas there. I hope the politicians pick up on them.


18 posted on 04/11/2006 8:05:38 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: thinking

I'm hoping it is we who still run the country.


19 posted on 04/11/2006 8:05:49 AM PDT by upchuck (Wikipedia.com - the most unbelievable web site in the world.)
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To: Always Right
191 DEMOCRATICS voted to make it a felony

Good for them.^)

20 posted on 04/11/2006 8:06:40 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: cdrw

I hope this will change and the laws will be enforced.


21 posted on 04/11/2006 8:07:36 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: joesnuffy
Our leaders will sell our collective soul to stay 'in power'

It sure seems that way.

22 posted on 04/11/2006 8:09:39 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: Jeff Head
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.

You know, this would be a great use for the military bases we've closed up. They have the housing and other facilities you'd need.

23 posted on 04/11/2006 8:10:23 AM PDT by TBP
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To: dfwgator
How much will it cost to process them as felons?

Will it cost any more to have a law with teeth in it than its costing us right now?

24 posted on 04/11/2006 8:11:48 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: Jeff Head
Build a serious two layer fence across the southern border

The whole border, with gates at appropriate crossings, heavily manned. The inner fence, perhaps, electrified with barbed wire on top.

Maybe a moat?

25 posted on 04/11/2006 8:11:56 AM PDT by TBP
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To: Dubya
I believe what the GOP does on this is going to determine if some conservatives even go vote any more.

Exactly because what is the use. They do not do what they are elected to do. Votes and campaign contributions are the only things they really care about. Doing what is right for the country and it's CITIZENS is put on the back burner until election time, then they run on what was promised and never accomplished.

26 posted on 04/11/2006 8:12:07 AM PDT by Dustbunny (The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist)
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To: TBP
Maybe a moat?

And sharks with frikin' laser beams on the top of their heads. ;)

27 posted on 04/11/2006 8:13:06 AM PDT by dfwgator (Florida Gators - 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions)
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To: Dustbunny
Exactly because what is the use. They do not do what they are elected to do. Votes and campaign contributions are the only things they really care about. Doing what is right for the country and it's CITIZENS is put on the back burner until election time, then they run on what was promised and never accomplished.

It sure seems that way.

28 posted on 04/11/2006 8:15:03 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: Dubya

The aggravating part to me is that they ARE felons. As soon as they take a job here as an illegal, they are felons. If they take work off the books they are committing income tax evasion. If they take a job on the books they are using fraudulent documents (green card, social security card, driver’s license etc.).

Often as not, the ones working on the books are claiming large numbers of deductions and have little or no tax withheld and change employers and social security numbers after tax season. Ask my brother; He found out he was working nine jobs in five states one year at the same time when he got audited.


29 posted on 04/11/2006 8:16:27 AM PDT by El Laton Caliente (NRA Member & GUNSNET.NET Moderator)
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To: All

I need to go take care of some things. Will be back later. Thanks everyone for your input. This is a serious problem and we can help correct it right here at FR.


30 posted on 04/11/2006 8:16:39 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: rhombus
I'd prefer current law enforced. A felony law that isn't enforced is just more "feel-good legislation"
Worse than that. A felony law that is not enforced breeds contempt for the rule of law, and leads to a culture that has no respect for the law.
31 posted on 04/11/2006 8:18:05 AM PDT by CLRGuy (If crypto is security, then trees are houses.)
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To: lfod1776
I know the felony requirement was meant as a poison pill, but since it is in the House bill I believe the GOP can use it if the Senate will pass an enforcement bill, (fence, more feet on the ground, investigation/prosecution or employers) and then during the conference committee the Felony can be given away or removed from the final version. I doubt the GOP can be this savvy, or Chuckie Schumer may outflank us again, (how sad is it when Chuckie can out think the Republicans in Washington) but it can give the impression we are compromising and the beauty is we didn't even put it in. I think we should make sure illegal entry is a Class A Misdemeanor and if you re-offend kick it up to a State or 3rd class felony, I believe being deported sets you to the back of the line for 10 years.

I have said and will say, if nothing is done on the employer side, with 11+ million already here nothing significant will change.
32 posted on 04/11/2006 8:19:32 AM PDT by thinkthenpost
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To: Dubya

Glad to do it.

You know, one new expenditure I'd happily authorize is an 800 number for Congress.


33 posted on 04/11/2006 8:41:40 AM PDT by TBP
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To: Dubya

We did our part, sent FAX's via Grassfire.


34 posted on 04/11/2006 11:15:39 AM PDT by Dustbunny (The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist)
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To: Dubya
I am afraid that the felony provision will not see the light of day until an illegal flies a jet into the WH.

Seriously.


BUMP

35 posted on 04/11/2006 11:20:07 AM PDT by capitalist229 (Keep Democrats out of our pockets and Republicans out of our bedrooms.)
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To: All
Contact Your Government
36 posted on 04/11/2006 11:35:46 AM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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