April 6, 2006

70-30 NATION:

Congress Nears Deal on Illegal Immigrants (DAVID ESPO, 4/06/06, AP)

Senate Republicans and Democrats closed in on a last-minute compromise Thursday on legislation opening the way to legal status and eventual citizenship for many of the 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he had been assured President Bush supports the measure, and would publicly say so later in the day.

As outlined, the measure would provide for enhanced border security, regulate the future flow of immigrants into the United States and offer legalized status to the millions of men, women and children in the country unlawfully.

"We've had a huge breakthrough" overnight, said Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.

Senate Republicans Agree on Immigration Bill: Wide Bipartisan Support Would Break Logjam (Jonathan Weisman, 4/06/06, Washington Post)
Senate Republicans reached agreement last night on a compromise immigration measure that they believe will garner enough bipartisan support to break through a parliamentary impasse that has stymied progress on a high-stakes border security bill for two weeks.

Under the agreement, the Senate would allow undocumented workers a path to lawful employment and citizenship if they could prove -- through work stubs, utility bills or other documents -- that they have been in the country for five years. To attain citizenship, those immigrants would have to pay a $2,000 penalty, back taxes, learn English, undergo a criminal background check and remain working for 11 years.

Those who have been here a shorter time would have to return to one of 16 designated ports of entry, such as El Paso, Tex., and apply for a new form of temporary work visa for low-skilled and unskilled workers. An additional provision still under consideration would disqualify illegal immigrants who have been in the country less than two years.

In a surprise move last night, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) went to the floor with a parliamentary motion to send the compromise to the Senate Judiciary Committee for ratification, then scheduled a vote for tomorrow to cut off debate on that motion.

Immigration reform that is primarily attributed to George W. Bush and John McCain could lock up the Latino vote permanently.

Meanwhile, peel off some black support with vouchers and the realignment that was George Bush and Karlk Rove's primary political mission is completed, Program on Vouchers Draws Minority Support (DIANA JEAN SCHEMO, 4/06/06, NY Times)

As a student at Shaw Junior High School here, Amie Fuwa strained to shut out the distractions of friends cutting up. She struggled through math, and used photocopies or the library when textbooks were scarce.

Now Amie, 14, a child of immigrants from Nigeria and the Dominican Republic, attends Archbishop Carroll High School, a Catholic school near a verdant hill of churches nicknamed the Little Vatican. When algebra confounds Amie, her teacher stays with her after school to help, and a mentor keeps her on course.

"It's a lot of people behind my back now," Amie said.

Before, she said, she "felt like it didn't really matter to different people I know, like my teachers, if I failed."

Amie is one of about 1,700 low-income, mostly minority students in Washington who at taxpayer expense are attending 58 private and parochial schools through the nation's first federal voucher program, now in its second year.

Last year, parents appeared lukewarm toward the program, which was put in place by Congressional Republicans as a five-year pilot program, But this year, it is attracting more participation, illustrating how school-choice programs are winning over minority parents, traditionally a Democratic constituency. [...]

School-choice programs have fervent opponents, and here, public school officials worry that the voucher program will diminish the importance of the neighborhood school, though the program serves only a relative few of the district's 58,000 students. National critics of school choice like Reg Weaver, president of the country's largest teachers' union, the National Education Association, accused voucher supporters of "exploiting the frustration of these minority parents to push for a political agenda" intended to undermine public schools. [...]

In the mostly minority Dayton, Ohio, school district, for example, 28 percent of schoolchildren have opted out of public schools in favor of charter schools, which are publicly financed but privately operated.

In Houston, 12 percent have done the same; in Oakland, Calif., 9 percent of public school children attend charter schools. In New York City, 12,000 children, 1.2 percent of the school population, attend charter schools, but the number of such schools is capped.

In Washington, in addition to those children opting for private schools, many others are flocking to charter schools, which have siphoned off about 25 percent of children, and $37 million in revenue this year alone.

The Washington program is being watched closely because when Congress must tackle reauthorizing President Bush's signature education law, No Child Left Behind, in 2007, the program could become a model for Republican efforts to extend vouchers nationally. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Wednesday in an appearance in New York City that the Bush administration wanted "to help spread this experiment."

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 6, 2006 12:54 PM

According to the GOP/Conservative sites this will destroy the GOP in the November '06 elections. I think they are overdoing it a bit but making it easier for illegals to become citizens than the people who are going through the proper channels won't sit well with the public.

Posted by: AWW at April 6, 2006 1:13 PM


Yes, it should be made easier universally.

Posted by: oj at April 6, 2006 1:17 PM

AWW: The general public knows that you can't make 10+ million people here illegally leave the country. So you deal with them the best you can, and increase methods of limiting future illegal entry (or claim to). This is an issue that adults are perfectly pragmatic about. The Dem base (big labor--Hollywood & Harvard only think they're the base) is far more anti-immigrant than the Republican base (the religious--libertarians & NR only think they're the base).

Posted by: b at April 6, 2006 1:35 PM

If the deal includes a fence, however expensive and useless it may or may not be, then the bulk of the anti-immigration types will be happy enough.

I half wonder if this wasn't part of the plan, because if this plan came out of the Judiciary Committee with a fence included, they wouldn't have been happy regardless. But after being threatened with no fence, I think they'll take what they can get.

Posted by: Timothy at April 6, 2006 2:01 PM

Cue the voice of Rove:

"My plan is working very nicely. Bwahhhhaaa."

Posted by: Brad S at April 6, 2006 3:43 PM

Ask the Israelis how well their fence works.

Posted by: Gideon at April 6, 2006 5:40 PM

People complain: we want secure borders

Politicians answer: ok, we'll provide amnesty to illegal aliens

People complain: That has nothing to do with our complaint. We want our immigration laws followed because we like our laws

Politicians answer: we'll change the laws then so the behavior you don't like becomes legal

This will anger people only further. Their concerns are valid and ignoring it will radicalize people. Our politicians are only sowing the wind.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 6, 2006 7:28 PM

45 - 35 - 20 nation, just like in '92. thanks george.

Posted by: toe at April 6, 2006 9:32 PM


Check the polls--people want amnesty and control of the borders.

Posted by: oj at April 7, 2006 12:47 AM

And therefore legislation that provides amnesty and no better control of the borders is a win?

Also note that the Democratic Party is against witholding citizenship from criminal immigrants who have committed other felonies while in the USA.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 7, 2006 10:44 AM


All that's important is the illusion of border control.

Posted by: oj at April 7, 2006 10:51 AM

Mr. Judd;

As for the second part, about denying amnesty to illegal immigrants who have been convicted of other felonies while in the USA: would you support that or not?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 7, 2006 2:41 PM

please cite a poll that shows majority support for ammensty of illegals.

Posted by: toe at April 7, 2006 3:43 PM

Reg Weaver, president of the country's largest teachers' union, the National Education Association, accused voucher supporters of "exploiting the frustration of these minority parents to push for a political agenda" [...]

Um, why precisely are they frustrated, Mr. Weaver?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 7, 2006 3:48 PM

The Senate is more cowardly than even OJ might think - the bill(s) got 38 votes, and then 36 today.

Nobody wants to put his stamp on anything to do with immigration. They will talk, and they will posture (or outright lie, like Harry Reid has been doing about his proposals from 1993/4), but they won't vote.

There are probably 70 John Kerrys in the Senate when it comes to immigration (I was against it before I voted for it, but then I went on TV to oppose it, only to support it when my landscape service bill went up).

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 7, 2006 8:36 PM