Bipartisan Deal Struck on Shaky Immigration Bill

By The News May 18, 2007

Since a House immigration bill was introduced in Dec. 2005 proposing that 700 miles of double-layered fencing be built along the U.S.-Mexico border, that border patrol agents be increased from 12,000, and that the Diversity Lottery Program be eliminated, the immigration debate has taken many turns. But the debate took a dive Thursday as Republican and Democratic Senators announced an agreement on the latest immigration bill that doesn’t strike a strong enough victory for the left or the right, the New York Times reported:

If the bill becomes law, it would result in the biggest changes in immigration law and policy in more than 20 years. That would provide President Bush with a political lift and a tangible accomplishment for his second term. It would also be a legislative achievement for the new Democratic leaders in Congress, though they said they would seek changes in the measure.

However, the immigration bill is right-leaning if anything. And it’s the progressives who’ll lose out here. According to the Times, the bill will: –Erect 370 miles of fencing, in addition to a couple hundred miles of motor vehicle barriers, and also, add more radar and camera towers than there are states –Employ an additional 18,000 border agents and allow the detention of "up to 27,500 aliens per day" and to end the "catch and release" policy –Require companies to verify new employees within 18 months and all employees within 3 years The bill also features a conditional set of actions. So if the above benchmarks are met, then the policy will: –Roll-out its guest-worker program, allowing annually 400,000 to 600,000 temporary workers into the U.S. who can work for two years after which they can renew their workers’ permit but only after spending one year outside the U.S. –Allow an illegal immigrant to work and apply for a four-year, renewable visa and to apply for a green card granted, the person returns home to submit the green card application It’s clear. This bill is big blunder and in fact, multiplies the hurdles to citizenship. Under-girding it will also be a point-system that determines immigrant’s status based on a person’s education, English fluency, and market value. So the chasm between low-wage laboring immigrants and privileged groups will widen. Families will remain torn apart as the bill demotes the role of family unification in gaining legal status. And, a steady stream of indentured service into the U.S. via the guest-worker program will continue making many immigrant’s pursuit of happiness, an American dream deferred.