Immigration deal faces tough road

United States
May 18, 2007 3:07pm CST
Is this proposed bill too lienient for Illegals?? WASHINGTON - A bipartisan immigration deal that would grant legal status to millions of people in the country unlawfully is drawing criticism from across the political spectrum. The bargain reached between key Democratic and Republican senators and the White House faces an uncertain future in the Senate, which is set to begin debating it Monday. "I don't know if the immigration legislation is going to bear fruit and we're going to be able to pass it," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., who harbored "serious concerns" about the deal. Even if it were to survive what's certain to be a searing Senate battle, the measure would be up against long odds in the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., acknowledging deep divisions on immigration among Democrats, says she won't bring it up unless President Bush can guarantee he will produce 70 Republican backers — a tall order given GOP concerns that the bill is too lenient. The agreement, which also mandates tougher border security and workplace enforcement, marked an extraordinary marriage of liberal and conservative goals that has the potential to bridge stubborn divides and ensure enactment of new laws this year. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., his party's lead negotiator on the deal, called it an example of the "politics of the possible," while conservative Sen. Jon Kyl (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., said it was the "best opportunity" for a bipartisan solution to the nation's immigration problems. It was soon under attack, however, from a set of lawmakers and interest groups as diverse as those that united to craft it. Their varying concerns and competing agendas — along with a challenging political environment — could be enough to unravel the painstakingly written agreement. Two of the key players in the talks from each end of the political spectrum, Sen. Robert Menendez (news, bio, voting record), D-N.J., and Sen. John Cornyn (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, walked away from the deal before it was announced. Conservatives branded it "amnesty," complaining that it would reward the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants with a way of gaining legal status and staying in the U.S. permanently without being punished. "What part of illegal does the Senate not understand? Any plan that rewards illegal behavior is amnesty," said Rep. Brian Bilbray (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus. The deal would allow illegal immigrants to come forward right away, but they could not get visas or begin a path to citizenship until the border security improvements and a high-tech worker identification program were in place. After that, illegal immigrants could obtain a renewable "Z visa" that would allow them stay in the country indefinitely. After paying fees and fines totaling $5,000, they could ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of households would have to return to their home countries first. Liberals, on the other hand, are unhappy with the proposal because it makes a far-reaching change in the immigration system that would admit future arrivals seeking to put down roots in the U.S. based on their skills, education levels and job experience — limiting the importance of family ties. "We have concerns about the historic shift away from family unification as the backbone of our immigration system," said Kevin Appleby of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Immigrant advocacy and labor groups also oppose the terms of a new guest worker program in which low-skilled immigrants would be forced to leave the country after temporary stints and would have limited opportunities to stay and get on a path to permanent legalization. "Without a real path to legalization, the program will exclude millions of workers and thus ensure that America will have two classes of workers, only one of which can exercise workplace rights," said John J. Sweeney, the AFL-CIO president. Sen. Byron Dorgan (news, bio, voting record), D-N.D., announced Thursday that he will move to kill the guest worker program because it would hurt American workers. Many liberal groups, which revere Kennedy as his party's decisive voice on immigration, reserved judgment on the deal, calling it a good starting point and holding out hope of improving it during next week's Senate debate. But they also voiced substantial worries. Jorge Mursuli of People For the American Way said the measure "departs radically from America's immigration tradition of putting family reunification first. This bill also includes a future worker program that is destined for failure." Mursuli nonetheless called the plan a "solid start." Presidential politics could also complicate the deal's chances. Fissures among the candidates started emerging swiftly after it was announced. Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., who helped shape the deal, called it "long overdue." However, Mitt Romney said it was the "wrong approach," which provided "a form of amnesty" to illegal immigrants. Fred Thompson, who is considering entering the race, said it should be scrapped in favor of a measure to secure the border. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., who is seeking his party's presidential nomination, said the proposal needed more work. "We need to fix our immigration system, but we should not replace one dysfunctional, broken system with another equally troubled system," Obama said. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070518/ap_on_go_co/immigration_congress
5 people like this
5 responses
@PunkyMcPunk (1477)
• Canada
19 May 07
I have been paying close attention to what is going on in your country in regards to Immigration.... The reason is because I am a Canadian who wants to LEGALLY move to your country. Maybe I should have no say here and maybe I am butting my nose in where it doesn't belong BUT.... I think that all of those illegals should be thrown out. DEPORTED. They should be able to come back and apply as legal citizens. But they should be made to go home. It is wrong to come into a country illegally, steal jobs from the people that are legal residents, and then get handed citizenship. It is wrong. I have seen the news and heard people in various areas screaming because of unemployment and lack of jobs. I understand that, it is here in Canada too. But if all of these illegals were made to go back home. Think of all of the jobs that would open up... I'm assuming I'm not going to have a popular opinion but that's what I think. Basically, if you want to move to a different country do it legally or just don't do it at all.
3 people like this
• United States
19 May 07
Great response. I did it legally and I see red when I think of what I had to go through and yet the illegals are being handled with kid gloves!
@suscan (1957)
• United States
22 May 07
You are right legally is the way to do it.Good luck with your move here.
1 person likes this
@mari61960 (4895)
• United States
19 May 07
I don't understand what the big deal is. These people came here illegally. They knew they were here illegally. They took their chances when they did so. Just because they didn't get caught right away doesn't mean anything to me. They all knew and probably feared the day would come when they were discovered. If they were sent back the next day there wouldn't be any big deal. I'm sorry for all that it would cause in problems, hardships and loss...but if you came to this country illegally and have not rectified the situation by now then you should be leaving swiftly.
@suscan (1957)
• United States
22 May 07
I agree with you, they know they are wrong and if you commit a crime then you take the chance you might be caught. So we should not give them amnesty when they were aware of the consequences should they be caught.
@speakeasy (4215)
• United States
18 May 07
If you are anti-illiegal immigrant, it is still amnesty. They broke our laws to come here and are breaking our laws every day they stay here and work or accept benefits. If you are pro-illegal immigrant; it is still a bad bill. They have to pay an undisclosed amount of fines PLUS a $5000 fee and they can't just bring in their family memebers. The family members have to apply themselves and then be accepted or rejected based on their own merits. Both sides are up in arms. This is just political grandstanding like the bill the Senate passed last time. They doubt it will be approved, are sure the House will NOT approve it; but, it makes it look like they are "trying".
2 people like this
@raydene (9875)
• United States
21 May 07
This is a hot topic.It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't thing.If the send alien Mommy back what happens to her American child? Is it right to separate a family but the child is US born so a citizen so can not be deported.Now if we keep Mom are we condoning her coming here illegally. I go back and forth about this thing and am glad I don't have to write the bill. If we let them stay as citizens then the companies that are paying under the table for small wages will have to paid decent wages and taxes on them so we win with more tax dollars..Somewhere in another country the word is out the the cousin or brother was given they right to stay in US even though they sneaked in illegally so why not take their chance because next year they will be allowed to stay also. When does it stop... I can not decide one way or other because it's not a cut and dryed thing!
1 person likes this
@castleghost (1304)
• United States
19 May 07
I don't think that their should be an amnesty for those who broke the laws to come here. If they truly wanted to be apart of this country they would have done it the legal way. Instead they broke the law. They should be punished. They all need to be sent back to where ever they came from. If they are willing to break the laws to come here what else are they willing to do to stay as well.
1 person likes this