Monday, “the Gang of Eight,” four Republican and four Democratic Senators outflanked President Obama and released a five-page outline opening the conversation for bipartisan immigration reform. Tuesday, President Obama flew to Las Vegas to announce his version of immigration reform and warned lawmakers they have a few months to negotiate a deal and the plan must recognize gay rights and legalize more than 11 million illegal aliens living in the so-called shadows. Both of those points will be difficult for the GOP to garner support in the House. (Many activist groups say the number is closer to 15 million and point out the 1986 amnesty plan was meant for 3 million Mexican field workers)
The last serious attempt to address immigration reform came in 2007 under the Bush administration. That effort was thwarted when both parties’ switchboards were shutdown by angry Americans demanding an end to amnesty as well as the guest-worker program which they saw ripe for fraud.
The new “Gang of Eight” Senators, Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin, (D-IL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) say this time is different.
The reason behind the newfound bipartisanship is political. The 2012 election cycle took an ugly turn for the GOP when the Democrats captured roughly 75 percent of the Hispanic vote. And according to the latest Census Bureau data, approximately 80 percent of the 11 million illegal aliens are Hispanic. It specifically states, 55 percent are from Mexico, an additional 25 percent hail from other Latin American countries, while 10 percent are Asian and the remaining 10 percent are from various countries. In essence, the 80 percent Hispanic number translates into nearly 10 million new voters, and judging from the last election, they will be voting for Democrats when they “earn” citizenship.
Wading into the highly charged and emotionally calculated illegal immigration debate will require both sides to tackle issues like “earned citizenship” or amnesty, “high-tech fencing” or border security and new “workplace enforcement” otherwise known as E-Verify.
The Senate proposal calls for some sort of immediate “probation status” that would temporarily legalize all 11 million illegal aliens so they can navigate the “legal visa” application process. But critics argue this process will flood the employment market and drive down crumbling wages even further. Advocates say the “probation” will invigorate the economy and encourage those working in the underground market to join the official workforce and spur lagging growth.
The next point of contention will be welfare and other public assistance benefits. Currently, 50 percent of LEGAL immigrants access government welfare programs, according to a Center for Immigration Studies report that based its assertions from the Census Bureau. According to the Senate proposal, those on “probationary status” will not have immediate access to public assistance benefits. But opponents argue that the majority of Latino illegal immigrants coming to America do not have high school diplomas and the high school dropout rate for first and second generation Hispanics in California is approximately 60 percent. These same opponents contend this extraordinarily high number of high school dropouts contributes to the 20,000 to 30,000 Latinos currently behind bars in California.
President Obama’s campaign-style speech in Las Vegas, a town he once scolded Americans not to visit, didn’t highlight any of the darker realities of illegal immigration, like adding to the unemployment crisis or “new normal” in America and the added costs to Obamacare that is supposed to be up and running by 2014.
The President did focus on issues like family unification, a code word for expediting entre to America of millions of new family members, and ensuring that “gay” illegal aliens did not have to choose between staying in America or their partners.
A White House statement explained the “Keep Families Together” portion as a“… proposal (that) seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system … The proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration system. It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.”
Besides family separations, the government must also address health issues, economic issues, cultural issues, and language issues. Any new legislation must include stringent and verifiable criteria for citizenship.
The revival of polio, TB, and whooping cough in the U.S. is no coincidence. As Bill Gates announced yesterday on the BBC, his foundation hopes to eliminate polio by 2020. Gates must have forgotten that Jonas Salk eradicated polio in the U.S. during the 1960’s with his vaccine. TB and whooping cough had been virtually non-existent since they were eradicated with vaccines. However, these diseases are reemerging in the U.S. causing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to recommend certain high-illegal immigration states to re-vaccinate children. In the past, potential immigrants were subject to strict health standards before they could get in line, but with large numbers crossing the border illegally, America has opened the door to many once eradicated diseases.
The cost for illegal immigration comes with a steep price tag. A Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) study in July 2010 estimated the cost to U.S taxpayers for illegal immigration is approximately $113 billion per year.
On the border security side, the President agrees the borders need to “remain” secure, that criminal illegal aliens need to be deported and a system needs to be in place so employers can verify their employees are legal to work in the U.S.
“First, I believe we need to stay focused on enforcement. That means continuing to strengthen security at our borders. It means cracking down more forcefully on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers. To be fair, most businesses want to do the right thing, but a lot of them have a hard time figuring out who’s here legally, who’s not. So we need to implement a national system that allows businesses to quickly and accurately verify someone’s employment status.”
Unbeknownst to President Obama, America already has E-Verify in place. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. The DHS says it provides a 98 percent accuracy rate and the process only takes a few minutes to complete.
Obama also stressed that America needed to allow foreign college students educated in the U.S. to stay in the country to further American interests and not return home to start businesses. In Las Vegas the President said, “Intel was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Instagram was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Right now in one of those classrooms, there’s a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea — their Intel or Instagram — into a big business. We’re giving them all the skills they need to figure that out, but then we’re going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else?”
The President’s political rhetoric is a hollow argument since 55 percent of illegals are from Mexico and Mexico has only three global fortune 500 companies, Pemex and CFE (both owned by the government) and América Móvil, a telecommunication conglomerate owned by Carlos Slim. None were educated in America. The only other Latin American country included in the Global 500 is Brazil with seven conglomerates, two are government-owned (and partially financed by American taxpayers).
Obama’s new immigration vision also glossed over the real concern of securing the southern border. The President claims his plan will continue to emphasize border security, but Texas members of Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents just won a court battle authorizing them to enforce U.S. immigration law instead of the President’s Executive Order granting amnesty.
Finally, President Obama wrapped his immigration speech with a heartwarming story. “So in the coming weeks, as the idea of reform becomes more real and the debate becomes more heated, and there are folks who are trying to pull this thing apart, remember Alan (a child brought here by his parents from Mexico) and all those who share the same hopes and the same dreams. Remember that this is not just a debate about policy. It’s about people. It’s about men and women and young people who want nothing more than the chance to earn their way into the American story.”
While there may be a place for cases like the President highlighted, if America lives by the Constitution, then those incidents should be cleared on a case-by-case basis.
The so-called ” Constitutional scholar,” President Obama, apparently has no regard for the even and equitable application of the “rule of law” when it interferes with his political agenda. Both parties are guilty of one-ups-manship with the Constitutional protections in an effort to force spending bills loaded with pork to redistribute the wealth of the nation into the hands of the elitist that always end up burdening the taxpayers. Numerous surprises are “slipped” into the bills as evidenced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) infamous claim that “Congress had to pass Obamacare to find-out what’s in it.”
The founders guaranteed free speech to ensure open debate on issues affecting the nation to enable the studied and measured consideration of potential laws, not to foster backroom deals full of surprises and windfalls for the privileged.
A 2016 Presidential hopeful, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed a lukewarm reaction to the president’s campaign speech on immigration. “I am concerned by the president’s unwillingness to accept significant enforcement triggers before current undocumented immigrants can apply for a green card. Without such triggers in place, enforcement systems will never be implemented and we will be back in just a few years dealing with millions of new undocumented people in our country. Furthermore, the president ignored the need for a modernized guest worker program that will ensure those who want to immigrate legally to meet our economy’s needs can do so in the future. Finally, the President’s speech left the impression that he believes reforming immigration quickly is more important than reforming immigration right. A reform of our immigration laws is a consequential undertaking that deserves to be subjected to scrutiny and input from all involved. I was encouraged by the president’s explicit statement that people with temporary legal status won’t be eligible for Obamacare. If in fact they were, the potential cost of reform would blow open another big, gaping hole in our federal budget and make the bill untenable.”
Keeping this in mind, the Republican leaders decidedly agreed to blatantly pander to the Latino voting block by caving in on amnesty or “provisional status.” The newly reforming GOP party seeks to gain political favor by adopting a decades old Democratic idea. However, there are no guarantees that voting for amnesty will sway Latino voters to Republicans in the future and there has been no research to guarantee that outcome. One only needs to envision the 2014 election advertisements charging that the Republicans flip-flopped with the hopes of gaining political favor with Latino voters, thus the Democrats will realize their dream of annihilating GOP party.
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