Saturday, June 30, 2007

R.I.P. Amnesty Bill... Now lets get busy and do it right.

Illustration from Official Mexican Govt. Publication how-to  "Immigration" booklet.
Conservatives should be proud to have led the charge to defeat the Kennedy Amnesty bill. While we should be grateful that we prevailed, we should not gloat, nor rest on our laurels in this victory. This was a victory for legislative process, respect of law, fairness, and for our security because we stopped this critically flawed and ineffective piece of legislation; we can now begin the process to do it right, for all the right reasons.

This bill was flawed from the outset. It was hatched by illegal immigration special interests that were flexing their political muscle with their newly-won legislators. It was designed by, written by, and approved by, people supporting illegal immigration in agriculture and industry. Besides illegal immigrants the only ones for this bill were the corporate fat-cats that prey on the cheap labor, and liberal and Democrat groups looking to augment their dwindling ranks with new voters (legal or not) to replace those votes lost in the South to Republicans during the Democratic Party slide to the hard left over the past two decades. The fact that our President, and many Republicrat Senators within the Republican party signed on for this farce is quite vexing to myself and others in the grassroots of the GOP, especially in light of the vocal opposition made loudly, and clearly. These GOP Senators, and our Presidents support for this bill, and their inability to understand the frustration of Republicans and Americans on this issue are quite alarming.

Now hopefully we conservatives and correct-minded Republican leaders of vision, principle, and courage... ( I'm thinking it will be Mr. Fred D. Thompson) can pick up the ball and craft a bill to solve this major issue of border security, and illegal immigration reform.

It is nearly 6 years since we were attacked on our soil by terrorists, and we still have an open border completely unsecured for nearly a thousand miles allowing any terrorist, drug smuggler, or border jumper to waltz into this country unchallenged. We don't have a clue who they are, where they came from, where they are going, what disease or affliction they may carry, or what their plans are here. While it is wonderful that we defeated this Amnesty Bill this past week, the problem it was supposed to solve still remains. Illegal immigration is a problem on a scope and scale that will require us to work together as political parties, citizens, and with our affected neighbor nations to resolve it in a constructive, and effective manner.

There was a lot of passion, anger, and frustration over this bill. The reasons are very apparent. This bill was a farce. It reversed the public perception and demand for their identified priorities. Those priorities were basic and really two-fold. 1. Secure the border. 2. Stop the uncontrolled invasion of our country by illegal aliens and find a way to identify, track, monitor, and provide a legal, legitimate flow of immigrants and guest workers into the country in a fashion that provides us with security. Here are the core issues that must be addressed and solved to win over the American people and solve this problem responsibly and effectively for the benefit of the nation.

1.Priority One, Securing the Border- . We passed a law last year that provided for, and funded over 700 miles of fencing/border security provisions. to date, only 2 miles have been built. The new " Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill" professed to provide funds and measures for border security, but it did not. It was an effort that actually went backwards in an attempt to rescind last years law and replace it with less than half the length of border barrier of the yet-to-be implemented 2006 legislation.. it would leave critical areas in the most dangerous desert crossings completely open. Every year hundreds of people die in the heat and elements attempting to enter illegally through those sectors. The very fact that they wanted to neuter and reduce border security provisions yet to be constructed shows their dubious and nefarious motives to leave the border UNSECURE so that the flow of illegals can continue. The American people have stated plainly and clearly. Secure the Border FIRST and FOREMOST. So lets start by building the barrier that we mandated, funded, and Bush signed a year ago. Lets get as vocal and busy today, as we were last week, with our members of Congress, our Senators, and our President reminding them that we expect the law passed last year to be followed; build that fence and secure our border now!

2. No Blanket Amnesty- And the Path to Citizenship- Those that start their path to Citizenship by breaking into our house should not be given full amnesty simply with a payment of a fine, showing a forged utility bill, and with a dubious 24-hr background check. I would prefer we adopt the official Mexican Government Immigration Policy for those entering Mexico, but I don't think we could ever pass anything so strict and unaccommodating in this country, so it's back to the drawing board I guess. Amnesty and the Pathway to Citizenship is possibly the most banal, troubling aspect of this failed bill and therefore very important to do right in the next Reform bill. The suggestion that you have to ascertain and prove their identity, criminal background/history, mental fitness, and verify all these and their financial/employment within 24 hours with the law mandating that if our bureaucracy is unable to clear them in 24 hrs., now hear this.....they are granted resident/citizenship status by default!!? This is so obviously impossible it laid bare the true intentions behind this bill and it's backers, a wink, and a nod and rubber stamp to shuttle them straight through. We currently have a 7 year back log already for legal immigrants waiting to have their backgrounds cleared so they can be granted citizenship/permanent residency status yet we were being asked to believe that with a minimum of 12 million new illegal alien applicants (who now would get to jump in the front of the line because they didn't come in legally) with no appreciable increase in staffing of the bureaucracy to process them, we can clear them? In 24 hrs?

Our Homeland Security Department, just announced a couple of weeks ago that they had to extend by 3 months the implementation of the law requiring passports for U.S. citizens just traveling to Canada or Mexico and we have their full history and background data on these citizen applicants, yet they would have us believe that illegal aliens applying for citizenship/legal residency can be cleared in one day. Sure, that sounds reasonable and doable; if you are Ted Kennedy.

On the types of exceptions to be made for those applying for the path to citizenship. In the recently defeated Amnesty bill the Liberal Democrats killed an amendment that Republicans/Moderate Dems offered during the first attempt at bill passage that would have denied those illegal alien applicants already convicted here of serious felonies such as assault, drug offenses, domestic abuse, and sexual crimes (including some against children) and those that have already been ordered for deportation following criminal convictions, from being granted legal status and a path to citizenship. Now that sounds perfectly reasonable doesn't it? Wrong, not to Teddy boy Kennedy, Harry Reid, Babs Boxer, Hillary Clinton, Barak Hussein Obama and the other left-wing nuts posing as Democratic Senators. They killed the amendment, so they allowed hardened, and serious criminals a pathway to citizenship. I guess in their eyes, the diversity of America is not complete without some nice Gang-Bangers with big rap sheets being sewn into the fabric of our society.

The new "Immigration Reform Bill" that Republicans should craft, should flat-out ban any applicants with a history or record of serious crimes, period. We must deport any illegal aliens with a history of violence or felony crimes- and certainly not reward them them with a path to citizenship.

How many times did I hear some politician arguing that "it isn't amnesty, they are paying a penalty!" Please. Don't give me the song and dance about paying a penalty, and all that nonsense, that is only the PRICE for their amnesty. This bill penalized those that abide by the law, and gives those that don't preference over those that play by the rules, Americans will fundamentally oppose that every time, and they did.

There must be a process in the new reform bill which mirrors policy for those that legally apply, and desire citizenship. To do so, they must leave the country, then re-apply for residency, guest worker status, or citizenship so we have complete documentation and information on anyone coming into this country.

Instead of the fine which was only a gimmick to give Republicrats and other lemmings their trite talking points about it not being amnesty because of the payment of a penalty, let them put that up into an "entry account" this would be the first official act where their newly acquired Social Security number would be utilized. In the past we required legal immigrants to show financial ability to support themselves with a specific amount of money on hand, and skills or employment prospects to ensure they would not be indigent. That needs to be the case again. Instead of taking $5,000 for someones "fine" lets have the government put that into an account under their name for those on Visa's or awaiting citizenship to be used for medical expenses/emergencies, to defray impacts on our social services or their health care expense to our system should they not pay for their care. If they pay their way as they go, once they attain citizenship, or say permanent resident status that "account" is turned over to them with whatever amount remains. This would give them an incentive not to burden tax-payer supported programs or hospital charges that go unpaid. They must not be allowed government services unless they are registered and of the proper legal status. This "deposit" would be due with their application for citizenship, and only after they have completed and passed a medical examination prior to entry. Anyone here outside of the legal framework of a registered guest worker or legal immigrant would be subject to immediate deportation. If they have U.S. born citizen children, they can stay with a legal resident/citizen relative, or they go back with their parents to their home country. At age 18, as an adult the US born child can return to the country of their birth and citizenship. Employers hiring illegal workers will be subject to serious fines, per each employee. We must identify, and know who is in this country, period. It's not racial, it's about security, and fairness. In the end they will benefit. With the current system wages are held artificially low by a sub-class of people working under the table, and outside of the law. They are victimized by their illegal status, and are forced to accept sub-standard wages for their sub-standard status. This drives all wages down as a result.

3. Open up the debate and Legislative process to keep it transparent- There was a great deal of distrust generated just by the process in which this bill was created. The "Fix" was in on this bill from the get go. It was crafted in a back-room deal with special interests pulling the strings of their patron Senators. The bill was essentially written for specific patrons with the aid and comfort of Senator Kennedy. There was no analysis of costs, or expenditures for the proposed legislative policies and their ramifications- Senators were being asked to vote on a bill (many voted willingly in ignorant bliss) that hadn't even been published for them to read, and without the benefit even of a detailed report or analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan agency charged with analyzing Congressional budgets and legislative policy costs. The Heritage Foundation a respected conservative think-tank and policy review institute has done a cost analysis and report that pegs the cost of the propsed legislation at over $2.5 Trillion dollars over the next 20 years. of I actually listened to Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio on Sean Hannity's national talk radio show get so angry at Sean for his own complete lack of knowledge and his indefensible ignorance on this important issue. He actually voted for Cloture, enabling the end of debate and forwarding it down the path to passage. He thought a key amendment made by Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, passed and used that as a justification for his vote for Cloture. You can actually hear the horror in his voice when Sean had to inform him he was wrong and that the key Amendment actually didn't pass, it had failed. As the Senator tried to dodge and evade serious questions of substance with obfuscation and ignorance, Sean bore in with clarity and his own solid grasp of the facts and issues. The Senator then went to his "offense is my best defense" mode. Attacking Hannity, and like-minded Conservatives/Constituents who contacted his office to urge his opposition to the bill, as obstructionists, racist, or Neanderthal knuckle-dragger's that are trying to intimidate him and threaten one so mighty and experienced with his 40 years of know-how on these important matters of government. How dare we attempt to educate him and keep him from his effort to vote for door number 3 (because that curtain was the purdiest color) at the U.S. Senate's "Let's Make a Deal" show. Now now you little people don't you call me and tell me how to vote, I know best. Listen to the audio clips for yourself, I don't care if he's a Republican, he epitomizes the arrogance and ignorance surrounding this bill and this issue. It has to change. If it takes a year, these guys have to know what they have in front of them to vote on, what the bill says, and how much it is going to cost. Then, and only then can it be crafted, and voted on using the same process used for the other 99% of legislation going across Capitol Hill to In the bright light of day.

There also has to be inclusion of our border neighbors in the process of setting policies and securing and enforcing our sovereignty and border. They must not dictate and demand what we must do to solve our problem with illegal immigration, rather we should explain that it will be changing, and they should be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I will not tolerate my President being admonished by (as recently occurred during President Bush's visit to Mexico), or pandering to the leader of a bordering nation that is making demands of us or calling for policies that go against our national security interests. The Mexican government is actively aiding, abetting, and suborning their citizens to violate our borders and enter our country illegally. The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations even publish a manual to aid illegal immigration into our country by their citizens. We need to identify opportunities and policies to help our Southern neighbor minimize the conditions or lack of opportunity and quality of life that forces it's citizens to seek out a new life North of the border. Economic and social justice should not just occur North of the Rio Grande. Our next President needs to change the dynamic of this relationship.

4. English is the official language of the U.S.- One more thing. Prior to being granted citizenship, they must pass an English proficiency test. English is the language of success and prosperity in America, and to not require them to pass a test, or provide educational programs to help them learn English, is akin to not providing a child a formal education, and expecting them to have success in life. It has always been a tradition in America for immigrants to assimilate into the culture and learn the language of America; aspiring to become Americans. Why should it be any different now?

Who will step forward and carry the ball to secure our borders, and end our illegal immigration crisis? I like to think that we Conservatives have the vision, courage, and fortitude to tackle the tough issues and make the right choices for America. Will it be Fred D. Thompson, Ruddy, or even a wiser more humbled and repentant George W. Bush? Given this new Congress and it's record of impressively ineffective leadership and aptitude for passing nothing, except non-binding resolutions to criticize Bush, Gonzalez, our troops, and our allies, I have to believe the solution to this problem will come from the leadership of Conservatives and Republicans.

In the mean time, I encourage all Americans to keep up the pressure on their elected officials by lighting a fire under the feet of those they called last week to ask them to kill a disaster in the making. Lets get a new and effective bill started now. Lets do it the right way, and for the right reasons; National Security, and a better future for America.

Michael R. Bednarz

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