Falling Awake

Just Darts Since 2009

A bill of goods?

The proposed Immigration Reform Act has taken me three days to read.  Well, skim.  And it looks quite reasonable.  There are measures for increased enforcement of the borders, with the money to back it up.  There’s supposed to be greater emphasis placed on the skills of the immigrant, with a merit-based point system used to determine who receives visas.  (By the way, doesn’t this give the lie to the oft-heard phrase, “…jobs Americans won’t do?”  Was that just a con?)

There is one provision that I find troubling, though.  It’s Title VI Sec. 601 (h):

 1) IN GENERAL —An alien who files an application for Z nonimmigrant status shall, upon submission of any evidence required under paragraphs (f) and (g) and after the Secretary has conducted appropriate background checks, to include name and fingerprint checks, that have not by the end of the next business day produced information rendering the applicant ineligible [emphasis added]–

(A) be granted probationary benefits in the form of employment authorization pending final adjudication of the alien’s application;

B) may in the Secretary’s discretion receive advance permission to re-enter the United States pursuant to existing regulations governing advance parole;

(C) may not be detained for immigration purposes, determined inadmissible or deportable, or removed pending final adjudication of the alien’s application, unless the alien is determined to be ineligible for Z nonimmigration status; and

(D) may not be considered an unauthorized alien (as defined in Section 274A(h)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(3))) unless employment authorization under subparagraph (A) is denied. 

As always, Mark Steyn puts it better than I could:

Is that This-background-check-will-self-destruct-in-24-hours clause for real? If the entire “undocumented” population of, say, Falls Church, Virginia wanders into the local immigration office at 4pm on Monday, the clerks have got till 5pm on Tuesday to find anything on the guys or they’ve got no choice but to issue the Z visa? For the agency that takes the best part of a decade to process nanny applications and which sent Mohammed Atta his visa six months after he’d died, this is, to say the least, a massive cultural change.

If the 24-hour dry-cleaner standard were to be mandated for every government agency, I might reconsider my position. But it seems curious, to put it at its mildest, that only the lucky members of the Undocumented-American community will get to enjoy the benefits of express service from the US government.

There are other problems, too.  Title VI Sec. 601 (i) (2) (C) allows the use of affidavits in lieu of other documentation to establish that the applicant has been residing in the US.  But as you only have to have moved here by the end of 2006 to be eligible, not too many people will need to phony those up.

The latest update is that illegal aliens will no longer be required to pay back taxes.  No big surprise, really.  If they had left that language in it would never have been enforced, anyway.

And isn’t that indicative of the whole problem?

The White House and the Heritage Foundation have been going back and forth, challenging each other’s characterizations of the bill, as if that matters. 

The bill really doesn’t matter at all.

It’s whether the law is enforced that matters. 

Based on history–and I’m not talking decades ago, I’m talking since President Bush took office–I see no chance that the tough border enforcements will actually take place.  None.   Bush sees this as a human rights issue, and he will never stop allowing a free and unregulated flow of people across our borders.

Which is why this bill must not be passed.  If only benefits are ever given to illegal immigrants, and no penalties are ever assessed against them, why are we even considering this?

The option is not to “round up and deport them all.”  No one really believes it is, although it feels good to say.

I like the idea of “benign neglect.”  Selectively deport the felons, and while we’re at it, let’s target employers of illegal aliens, and crack down on the illegal border crossings.  Let’s try enforcing just a few of the laws we already have, first.  Then, if this administration (and the next one) can demonstrate that it is responsible enough to do that much, and do it well, then we can reconsider this bill in a few years.

Until that time, we’re just being sold a bill of goods.

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