Apparently we needed another disingenuous, immigration reform bill. Here's another to add to the heap…the garbage heap:
It's being touted as a new "compromise" bill, a "bridge" to bring Republicans back together and of course, a "middle ground" immigration reform plan.
For some reason, each new "compromise" plan (especially the GOP plans…ironically) seems to move further away from the desires of the American people and closer to the demands of the business and ethnic lobbies.
As with Pence's original Ploy, the actual bill has been remarkably slow to appear. (Bait and switch, anyone?) But I've read the summaries. And, crikey, this is the worst plan I have seen…so far.
I adore Senator Hutchison…(OK, I admit it: I'm a recovering Republican operative)…I just want to set fire to her bill.
The Hutchison-Pence "No Amnesty" Plan is basically the original Pence "No Amnesty" Plan but with a new, well, amnesty plan.
Here's a breakdown:
Ok, this part doesn't differ from the Pence Ploy and I maintain the same reservation I mentioned in my previous column: there is no way to gauge or guarantee that our borders are secure.
Are we supposed to trust Bush's word?
I suppose this element just sounds good.
In fact, earlier this week Senators Cornyn (R-TX) and Kyl (R-AZ) requested an additional $3.5 billion dollars in emergency funding for border security. During the press conference, the Senators (and two of Bush's biggest supporters) claimed it was a "credibility-building measure." They said that Congress needed to prove its commitment to enforcement before the American people will accept a guest worker plan.
Again, maybe I'm cranky. But that just sounds like a means to an end to me. You know, a sort of do-something-to-make-us-look-serious-about-immigration-so-we-can-get-our- cheap-labor-bill-passed kind of bill.
2. The Good Neighbor SAFE Visa Program…and those rather odd and undefined Ellis Island Centers.
So this part is somewhat new…somewhat.
American owned companies—temporary employment agencies—will set up shop outside of the United States to facilitate the program.
Yes, the Ellis Island Centers.
They will match foreign workers with jobs in the United States that Americans supposedly do not want. Again, the American employer would have to prove they tried to fill the job with an American worker—at wages "commensurate with the trade or industry in that locality", details unclear—before they can fill it with a foreign import.
But here's a new twist:
According to an Op-Ed in the Washington Times by Hutchison-Pence
"We call it a 'Good Neighbor' SAFE Visa because the program would be limited to countries that currently enjoy a positive trade relationship with the United States in our hemisphere. Only residents of NAFTA and CAFTA-DR countries will be eligible to participate in this program." [Comprehensive immigration, July 26, 2006]
Translation: No Europeans need apply… or Asians, for that matter. Just more and more unskilled, uneducated cheap labor from Mexico!
Yeah, I was just saying the other day that we didn't have enough of that!
For once, they would be right.
Seriously, this part actually makes me sick to my stomach but moving on…there are a few changes to the Visa Program.
Yes, the Hutchison-Pence Plan is a path to citizenship…a 17-year path (i.e. maybe the illegals won't get to vote on lawmakers currently in office) but nevertheless a path—which enables them to live in the United States while they wait for that happy day.
As for would-be immigrants from the rest of the world, they still have to rot in places like the Sudan while they await even a guest worker visa…not that we will have any left after Mexico and Central America are done.
As for social benefits, this part gets a little sticky.
All the customary paycheck deductions will still apply to guest workers.
However the Medicare contributions will go to a special fund which reimburses hospitals for health costs associated with foreign workers.
The Social Security deductions will be held in another fund and returned to the foreign worker in a lump sum when their visa expires and they leave the country…if they leave the country. (American workers, of course, have to wait until they're old enough…assuming Social Security survives until then).
4. HOWEVER, guest Workers are still eligible for public education and emergency medical care.
These are the two biggest financial problems stemming from illegal immigration. So, in this area, the Hutchison-Pence Plan does not help at all!
Seventeen years is time enough to have a lot of babies…
6. ABOVE ALL: For the first three years there are NO LIMITS on the number of Good Neighbor Visas that can be issued.
Translation: MILLIONS AND MILLIONS more Mexicans.
The bill does not restrict the use of federal funds to teaching English—these faith-based groups can apparently use the funds as they wish.
Finally, the glaring flaw in the plan is the same flaw we have found in all the proposed bills so far: what incentive do the 12 (or 20) million illegal aliens have to make this symbolic across the border?
The Hutchison-Pence Plan (just like all the others) does not provide for any consequences if they do not!
There are no consequences established for those who choose to not comply with the Hutchison-Pence Plan and "get right with the law."
There are 12-20 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. and the Hutchison-Pence Plan does not include a penalty for that offense.
How can this bill be called anything but amnesty?
The authors are convinced that there will be enough "incentives" for our illegal immigrant population to comply. But, as I have said before, the coax-and-coddle approach does not work.
They should not need incentives to follow the law; they should fear the consequences should they not.
As for incentives…so long as they get to live here with free education and medical benefits while producing one American anchor baby after another, they will never leave…not voluntarily.
Good grief…foreign workers to fill jobs Americans won't do?
We need Americans do take the jobs our politicians won't do.
Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.