Are We Caving?

6 04 2006

Are we caving in just to get something passed? Does the Senate think Americans will forget this just because they agreed on one bill?

Via Reuters:

Senate leaders on Thursday announced a bipartisan compromise on an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws, giving some illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and creating a temporary worker program.

“I think we’re looking like we may be able to dance this afternoon,” Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada told reporters.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, appeared with Reid and said “We have a great opportunity to deliver to the American people what they expect, what they deserve,” a comprehensive border security and immigration reform bill.

Michelle Malkin isn’t buying it. And neither do I nor most Americans. She’s calling it amnesty:

President Bush, the GOP elite, and the open borders lobby can deny it until they’re all blue in the face, but the Senate “compromise” on immigration and border security is the dictionary definition of “amnesty.”

What else do you call a bill that grants any illegal immigrant who has been in the U.S. for five or more years an immediate path to American citizenship?

This is amnesty and it does not depend on what the meaning of “is” is.

Bryanna Bevens summarizes the bill:

* Those who have lived in the country at least five years would be put on a path toward guaranteed citizenship, provided that they remained employed, paid fines and back taxes, and learned English. According to Senator Frist, 60 percent of the illegal aliens fall into this category.

* Those who have lived here for two to five years would have to leave the country before reporting to an American port of entry, where they would be classified as temporary workers. There are roughly three million in this category. They are allowed to apply for citizenship but if they are denied, they must leave after six years.

* The remaining one million (roughly), those who have lived in the country less than two years, would be required to leave although they are eligible to apply for a temporary work Visa.

I really expected more from Senator Frist. I know he feels strongly about this issue. My hope is that he wants to pass something, then work on securing conservative majorities this fall, and continuing progress after that.

Several things that concern me about the current bill:

1. It’s voluntary. Sure they get on a path to citizenship, but I am betting that the greater majority of these illegals do not want to be legal. The benefits of remaining “under the table” outweigh the benefits of turning yourself in to be legalized.

2. There is not enough focus on terrorists in discussions. Most of it is centered around our lovely neighbors to the south, but what terrorist will turn himself in to reduce the risk of being caught when that in itself will be his end?

This graphic is getting lots of circulation among disgruntled, grass-roots conservatives (hat tip: Bryan Preston):

First, fix the borders. Then we can talk about other illegal immigrant problems.

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