April 12, 2006

A BIG FENCE BUT BIGGER HEARTS:

Immigrant Bill Fallout May Hurt House GOP: Strict Provisions Are Uniting Critics (Jonathan Weisman, April 12, 2006, Washington Post)

In the wake of this week's massive demonstrations, many House Republicans are worried that a tough anti-illegal-immigration bill they thought would please their political base has earned them little benefit while becoming a lightning rod for the fast-growing national movement for immigrant rights.

House Republicans rushed through legislation just before Christmas that would build hundreds of miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, require that businesses verify the legality of all employees' status through a national database, fortify border patrols, and declare illegal immigrants and those who help them to be felons. After more lenient legislation failed in the Senate last week, the House-passed version burst into the public consciousness this week, as hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country turned out to denounce the bill.


Alien felony proviso dropped (Charles Hurt, April 12, 2006, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)
Any immigration legislation passed by Congress this year will not include the inflammatory provisions approved by the House last year that make it a felony to be in the United States illegally, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill said yesterday.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said in a joint statement that "it remains our intent to produce a strong border security bill that will not make unlawful presence in the United States a felony." The commitment removes a primary concern held by many Democrats who say that the yearlong imprisonment carried by a felony conviction is too harsh.

House Republicans also said yesterday they are committed to rewriting a section of their immigration bill that caused an uproar among religious and humanitarian leaders who say the law could be used to prosecute them if they unwittingly give food or shelter to someone who turns out to be an illegal alien.


They could have their border-protection breast beating if they'd just include an amnesty, but they can't get on the wrong moral side of an issue and win.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 12, 2006 7:53 AM
Comments

I'm probably middle of the road on this issue as I regard the NRO "kick em all out" position unreasonable but also the "let them all come in" position of the Dems.

Amnesty is a non-starter. It is not just the wahoos on the right but common folk (even here in liberal MA) who think that efforts should be made to take steps to significantly reduce illegal immigration. The protests over the past few days, with illegal immigrants marching down the streets demanding rights and benefits they are not entitled to as non-citizens, is creating a backlash.

As for the 12MM or so already here you cannot talk about letting them stay unless you show to the American people that there won't be another 12MM in another 5-10 years.

Posted by: AWW at April 12, 2006 8:28 AM

AWW:

There's going to be an amnesty--we just won't call it that. Reagan didn't call his amnesty either.

Posted by: oj at April 12, 2006 8:32 AM

This is so much ado about not much. Even Tancredo stated he wasn't in favor of the felony proviso.

Posted by: Brad S at April 12, 2006 8:43 AM

OJ - you are probably right that there will be some amnesty as the Dems/RINOs will require it to support any bill. Also as people realize you can't physically deport 12MM or so people. But the American people want laws obeyed and don't want to say ok now and then be faced with the same situation in 10 years as no efforts are made to prevent future problems.

Reagan didn't call it amnesty but it is now widely regarded as being such so people are much more wary this time around.

Posted by: AWW at April 12, 2006 9:07 AM

AWW:

No, there'll be an amnesty because the vast majority of the public wants it and there's no realistic alternative. Who are you going to hire to ethnically cleanse America?

Posted by: oj at April 12, 2006 9:20 AM

"vast majority of the public wants it" - Evidence? Most polls show people heavily against illegal immigration.

"ethically cleanse America" - the American people want the rules already on the books regarding immigration to be followed. Talk to someone who has immigrated here legally (i.e. filled out all the forms, done the meetings, paid the $, etc) and they are the most against the illegals. Equating just wanting laws to be followed with ethnic cleansing lowers the level of debate.

Posted by: AWW at April 12, 2006 9:31 AM

[N]early two-thirds -- 63 percent -- also say the government should allow illegal immigrants to remain and become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over time.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060411/NEWS06/604110449/1012

That's amnesty, no matter what name you give it to deceive yourself.

Posted by: oj at April 12, 2006 9:38 AM

AWW,

And why should I be surprised at the legals being against amnesty the most? If I had to go through the onerous paperwork they had to go through, I'd be hopping mad at anything or anyone trying to do a shortcut.

Unless the legal immigrants want to step up to the plate and advocate a simpler method of processing immigration papers, I can't their jealously seriously on this issue.

Posted by: Brad S at April 12, 2006 10:16 AM

The Dems want the status quo of illegals coming and going, voting for them with no controls at all. They don't want ID cards for those illegals already here because it would interfere with their nice little game of voter fraud.

ID cards with imbedded information about us is an idea whose time has come. We had voter fraud in our little town, if you can imagine it! A local developer got his crews to vote here even though they are largely transients who work on projects and then move on to the next. He gave them the afternoon off to vote and they showed up at the polls in large number to register via the new register-when-you-vote program. All they needed was a picture ID and voila a measure favored by developers which our fellow citizens were overwhelmingly against, passed with votes to spare.

Everyone knew about it, but no one lifted a finger.

Posted by: erp at April 12, 2006 10:34 AM

AWW - You're thinking about this wrong. It's not about Democrats and RINO's. There has always been a very big faction in the Republican party in favor of open borders (think Wall Street Journal), and there are many Democrats who don't want amnesty either (think Labor).

This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue that divides both parties, and you need to seek allies accordingly. Blaming it on the Democrats will simple allow the GOP leaders to pull another fast one on you.

Americans don't want a inquisition to ferret out illegals and have mass deportations. What we want is border enforcement so no more illegals come in. If that's satisfied, those we can be magnanimous to those already here. But if we don't get the border security we want, then this amnesty will simply make people angrier and radicalize people. American's wish to be generous on one hand depends very much that the laws are enforced on the other.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 12, 2006 1:01 PM

Chris - I agree with your last paragraph and think that hits it on the head. The problem is that many politicians and pundits are not serious or only paying lip service to increased border security (virtual fence anyone?) which is why the no amnesty crowd is getting a strong hearing.

Posted by: AWW at April 12, 2006 1:05 PM

Chris,

The latest big dog out of Labor, SEIU, is very much in favor of amnesty. And Andrew Stern is seeking more power every day, now that he's freed from the AFL-CIO shackles.

Posted by: Brad S at April 12, 2006 2:53 PM
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