The bill is dead. So what now?
FIRST – Gratitude is in order. It was important for us to call our Senators to stop the bill. It is now just as important to call/email those voting nay and say “thanks”. I suggest picking at least 5 (other than your own) from the nay votes. If you’re Senator voted for (yea) on cloture, do NOT forget it when election time (especially primaries) come up. For those of us in Utah, Hatch voted nay and Bennett voted yea (keep this in mind for 2010, if he runs again).
Identity theft is going to be on ongoing issue as it related to illegal immigrants stealing/guessing citizen’s (and children’s) social security numbers. At this time, it looks like the Senate will need some time to lick its wounds and employer verification legislation will be left to the states to enact. I believe Alabama and Georgia already have. Fortunately, the word also seems to be getting out about worker verification.
States will probably be left to take the lead in implementing various enforcement measures (again Georgia and Alabama are some examples, but I’m forgetting another state…Colorado?) in an attempt to begin to control the issues caused by illegal immigration (especially those of the criminal stripe).
This is, unfortunately, unlikely but it would be nice to see Congress start anew with regular hearings (no closed door deal garbage) on bills dealing with our immigration system.
First, they need to regain trust of American people. The trust was already lost due to the ’86 amnesty along with others passed since and the recent legislative tactic (back room dealing, pushing it through as fast a possible) has only made everyone more suspicious.
They should enact new, and bolster, current enforcement and border security measures. Keeping the promise to build the fence, for one, will go a long way, however, that, in and of itself will not be sufficient – I and many others are leery of simply being patronized so that some sweeping amnesty can be pushed through with the fence left to rot. A good example of this was that $4.4 billion for the fence that was pledged in the recent amnesty bill – it turns out even that measure is purported to have a loophole in it to allow the money to be used to implement Z visa (amnesty) provisions. It also seems duplicitous that, all of a sudden, the fence promised last year was, somehow, contingent on the legislation being passed this year. Border security and enforcement would also assist us in turning off the magnet that allows for our ‘underground’ labor market (Chambers of Commerce may not be happy, though).
Second, I would love to see us improve our current immigration policies. Knowing people who have come here legally on various visas (as well as even going before a US Consul General on behalf of one), the process needs to be streamlined. This is especially true of countries considered to be our strong allies. Realistically, such policies would have involve some type of profiling to weed out would-be security threats and provide for greater scrutiny of those in groups statistically more likely to pose a threat. I think this is something that could be done right on the heals of enforcement/security measures as recent controversy was almost entirely focused on illegal immigration rather than legal immigration.
After legal immigrants are addressed, a guest worker program would be something to look into. However, I would not rush this as many of the initial kinks and bugs of the (above) streamlined immigration process coupled with its enhanced security measures would, likely, translate to guest worker visas. It would be wise to learn from the streamlined immigration process for a year or two prior to tackling a guest worker program. Plus, we essentially already have 12 to 20 million ‘guest workers’ present in our country at this time.
I would also let the guest worker program run for a few years prior to tackling the illegal immigrants residing here (and weeding out the criminals that remain after the application of the various enforcement and security measures). Again, the things we learned in the previous phases of the immigration issue would have applications to any type of amnesty visa provided to eligible recipients.
I would, additionally, hope that all these things would be addressed as separate legislation through the normal process. Ultimately, a clear, open public discourse focused on each category, would significantly increase public acceptance of reforms where confusing, bloated bills with extraordinary legislative maneuvers only result in the opposite.
One last thing that is also key (which I’ve, admittedly, failed to notice) relates to what the Mexican Ambassador recently stated. He noted that the proposed US reform won’t stop illegal immigration and he’s right (read the post and full article)! Reforms need to reach across the border too (including past Mexico). That certainly should not be just another hand out. Often those to more harm than good – donated clothing can wipe out cottage industries, only further harming local economies (I think it was the President of Mozambique or Zambia who pleaded with the US to stop sending certain types of aid, a few years ago). We need to stand up and, more aggressively, support real democratic and market opening/economic freedom reforms in those countries. They are responsible for their country, but we can help when it is accepted. Again, be sure to click HotAir’s link for the full CSM editorial and pay special attention to the closing paragraphs.
Like I said, the Senate is going to be very sheepish for a while on any immigration issue. I was going to say we can content ourselves beating back the “fairness [censorship] doctrine” but it looks like Representative Pence has already taken care of it. That’s ok. Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Reid (don’t forget Murtha) are already plotting on Iraq for July.