nothing to crow about
by J.C Phillips
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) hailed the immigration reform bill recently passed by the United States Senate as "the most far-reaching immigration reform in our history." Whether it is good public policy or reform that is good for America is, of course, a question for another time and for other folk to answer.
Unlike the House bill that focused more on border security and enforcement of current immigration law, the Senate bill gives a nod towards security then concerns itself with providing a “path to citizenship” for the 11.5 million illegal immigrants currently residing within our borders. For what it’s worth, I was under the impression that we already had a path to citizenship. It is called a green card, which is given to permanent LEGAL residents. After a period of five years legal, permanent residents of the United States are eligible to take a test demonstrating an ability to read and write in English along with some knowledge of American history and government. Citizen hopefuls are then sworn in with an oath of allegiance to the United States of America.
The path suggested by the Senate is a bit different. It requires only that you sneak across the border and wait for weak-kneed politicians to forgive your transgressions and grant you citizenship. They are proposing amnesty. As Shakespeare wrote, “ a rose by any other name…” The Senate may couch it in the sweetest of terms, but even our neighbors to the south think of it as amnesty. Reuters’ news service recently reported illegal traffic across our southern border has increased since the Senate passed its “far-reaching” reform bill.
In what is truly an amazing piece of logic, the three-tiered amnesty – ur, uhm, I mean citizenship plan actually rewards those that have been in the country illegally for longer periods of time. Immigrants here illegally for longer than five years could gain their citizenship after working six years, learning English and paying back taxes and a fine of $3,200. Illegal immigrants that have journeyed here more recently will be required to travel back to an entry point and apply for guest worker status.
Makes perfect sense. Immigrants that were previously unwilling to fill out the proper paperwork and follow the rule of law are now suddenly going to pay hefty fines while others will leave the country voluntarily and re-enter and apply for acceptance into a guest worker program simply because the Senate has spoken. What remains unclear is why. What incentive do illegals have to jump through the financial and bureaucratic hoops proposed by the Senate? Citizenship? Illegal immigrants live primarily in homogenous neighborhoods, are never forced to learn English, receive free education and healthcare for their children, in-state tuition for college-age children, social security benefits, job security, drivers’ licenses (if the California legislature has its way), and in some cases even vote (illegally). Why on earth would anyone dig deep into their meager savings to pay fines and a load of back taxes or pack up and go to a point of entry to apply for guest worker status and risk not getting back in, when living beyond the law is working out so well?
Typical of so much that comes out of congress this “sweeping reform” is reform for reforms sake. It is a shame that Senator Kennedy along with so many of his colleagues -- 23 Republicans and 37 Democrats -- think so little of the American people and their duty to us that they would crow over such a non-accomplishment. Immigration reform that is good for America and the American people is reform that first secures our borders and takes away the incentive for illegal immigration. Only then can we effectively address the fate of the 11.5 million illegals currently residing within our borders. As has been pointed out many times before, they aren’t going anywhere.