First of all, I am not at all sure it is possible to understand the immigration bill–when it was introduced, it was 844 pages long; it has now grown to 867 pages.
Last night, I was able to attend a presentation explaining the Immigration Bill at the Northborough Public Library. The presentation was put on by the Northborough Tea Party. The speaker was Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.
Jessica Vaughan posted an article at the Center for Immigration Studies website on May 2 which explains the problems with the current immigration bill.
The article lists several problems with the current bill, these are only a few:
- The bill allows the legalization of aliens who have been convicted of up to three misdemeanors on separate occasions, excluding “minor” traffic offenses. This provision will allow the legalization of those with multiple offenses for drunk driving, vehicular homicide, domestic violence, certain sex offenses, theft, identity theft, and other misdemeanors.
- It requires immigration agencies to ignore convictions under state laws on alien smuggling, human trafficking, and harboring illegal aliens altogether.
- It waives criminal offenses for anyone under 18 (as opposed to 16 under current law), no matter the seriousness of the offense, and even if the offender was tried as an adult. This provision will be most helpful to convicted gang members aged 16-18.
- It eliminates all enhancements and punishments for aggravated felons that allow for these individuals to be barred from re-entry or punished if they do. It permits aggravated felons to be placed in “soft” detention such as group homes and electronic monitoring.
- The bill forces the government to justify the detention of aliens charged with being deportable — and whose detention is mandatory by law due to the severity of the offense, such as aggravated felons — and guarantees aliens a hearing on the detention every 90 days.
- For the first time in history, the Attorney General would be required by law to provide lawyers to certain aliens in deportation proceedings at taxpayer expense.
- The bill provides sweeping new standards of judicial review for aliens denied benefits. It expands review into the federal district courts as well as circuit courts of appeal, and encourages class action suits against DHS.
We need immigration reform. However, we need immigration reform that works and borders that prevent further illegal aliens from entering the country. Until the border is secure, there really is no point in doing immigration reform–the number of illegal aliens involved would simply overwhelm the social welfare systems of America and collapse the current safety net.
One of the things that Ms. Vaughan pointed out was the fact that the immigration bill says that the citizens legalized in the immigration bill would be ineligible for federal assistance for ten years. However, it is the states who are in charge of government assistance and would determine someone’s eligibility–so that portion of the bill is simply nice words that mean nothing.
Yesterday The Hill reported the following:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a central member of the Senate Gang of Eight, expressed disappointment Tuesday after senators rejected a proposal to strengthen the system for tracking visa holders entering and exiting the country.
The panel rejected a Republican amendment to require a biometric entry and exit system at ports of entry before granting permanent legal status to 11 million illegal immigrants.
In 1986, President Reagan and Congress promised America a bill that would solve the immigration problem once and for all. That bill would secure the border, enforce immigration laws, and wipe the slate clean so that those here illegally at that time could become citizens. At the present time, the border is not secure, the immigration laws were enforced between 2007 and 2009, but now we are back to our old ways, and many of those here illegally have no desire to become citizens so they have not.
We have two choices–we can believe Congress when they tell us that this time they really will enforce immigration laws and seal the border, or we can fight this bill with everything we have to make sure it does not become law. Frankly, I choose the latter.
We need immigration reform. That can be done slowly in sections so that Americans can read and understand the laws being considered, and so that Congress can understand both the problems we face if we continue our current immigration program and the need to pass a bill that will actually solve our current and future problems. I also strongly suggest that Congress actually take the time to read the bill. We need to find out what is in the bill before it is passed–not the other way around.