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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Update: Deal reached by negotiators

Gag me. Let's put the callout now for GOP candidates to condemn this deal. ANY candidate that doesn't isn't getting our vote. Period.

The New York Times has the update, and a couple of names that have me fuming:

Senators from both parties will announce an agreement this afternoon on a system to offer legal status to illegal immigrants, Congressional officials said today.

Details of the accord are to be announced at a news conference by Senators
Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

The announcement will not mean that a bill to ease the plight of immigrants and their families is at hand, since differences between the Senate and House on the issue must still be worked out. But the accord in the Senate is one big step closer to enactment of an
immigration bill.

The senators who have been negotiating the details are known to have been considering a system that would give greater weight to immigrants’ education and to job skills deemed helpful to the economy in deciding whom to admit.

Under the proposal, the government would evaluate the qualifications and claims of many people seeking permission to immigrate using a point system.

Family ties would remain an important factor, but would have less weight than they do under current law.

The point system is one element of a comprehensive bill that calls for the biggest changes in immigration law and policy in more than 20 years. The full Senate plans to take up the legislation next week.

Although Democrats now control the Senate, the bill incorporates many ideas advanced in some form by President Bush. A draft of the legislation says that Congress intends to “increase American competitiveness through a merit-based evaluation system for immigrants.”

Moreover, it says, Congress will “reduce chain migration” by limiting the number of visas issued exclusively on account of kinship.

Democrats insisted, and
Republicans agreed, that some points be awarded to people who had close relatives in the United States or could perform low-skill jobs for which there was a high demand.

Senator Graham, who has been one of the more optimistic negotiators, said on Wednesday, “There’s a 90 percent chance that we will get a deal this week.” Mr. Graham added that the legislation “would free up thousands of green cards in the future for people who meet our economic needs, while still allowing members of the nuclear family to come to this country.”

Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at
Cornell University, said: “The legislation taking shape in the Senate represents a major philosophical shift. It tells the world that we are emphasizing characteristics that will enhance our global competitiveness, like education and job skills. We would not rely as much on family background as we have in the past.”

Under the proposal, Mr. Yale-Loehr said, “foreign-born spouses and minor children of United States citizens could still get green cards, but foreign-born siblings and adult children of citizens would be hurt.”

Senator Kennedy said on Wednesday that lawmakers had narrowed their differences on some issues.

“This is not the architecture of an immigration bill that I would have initially liked to see,” Mr. Kennedy said. “But this is a legislative process. A lot of different interests are at work. For the sake of this legislation, we had to come back to a point system. It will recognize a number of elements: high skills, low skills and family relationships. There are always differences about what the proportions ought to be.”

The Senate majority leader,
Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, had set a test vote for Wednesday. But after learning that negotiators had made progress, he deferred it to Monday, to allow more time for talks.

The bill would offer legal status to most of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. But they would not automatically qualify for citizenship. The proposal would require them to “touch back” in their home countries and apply for green cards, like other immigrants seeking permanent residence in the United States.

Some conservatives still dislike the idea of a large legalization program. But Mr. Graham said the bill struck a realistic balance.

“We are not going to put 12 million people in jail,” Mr. Graham said. “Nor should we give them an advantage over those who played by the rules to become citizens.”

Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, said he had doubts about this approach, but said Congress had to do something because his constituents were telling him that “they feel they are being overrun with uncontrolled immigration.”

The legislation also calls for major increases in the Border Patrol and tougher enforcement at the border and in the workplace.

Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado, one of the negotiators, said he wanted the new point system to be equitable. “We do not want to create a system that is just for the wealthiest and most educated immigrants,” Mr. Salazar said.

First, I condemn Jim Demint and Ken Salazar for going along with this bill, as it is now. Second, Lindsey Graham's final comment in the piece above about not wanting to give anything special over those that are going through the legal process makes no sense. This bill is doing exactly that. Those going through this process are abiding by our laws so they don't get in trouble. The bill has reduced the fines for violating our laws, and are "forcing" the 'touchback' method, which is a farce in and of itself.

The security improvements have been reduced, and I'd like to point out that Michelle Malkin is correct: Every amnesty passed thus far hasn't gotten the trade-off of improved border security or enforcement. We the people keep getting screwed by the nutters in DC that try to come up with band-aids as solutions rather than a solid, logical result.

No, we're not going to throw twelve million people in jail. Nor can we deport them all. But before we move one iota in the direction of regularization, we need to demand that we get our security and enforcement FIRST. Let the lawbreakers languish in limbo while we do what we must to improve our security situation. They come SECOND. We're the citizens that have to deal with this problem,a nd we want it fixed now. We don't want them to wave a this bill like a banner proclaiming they've solved the rpoblem, and not implement ALL of the solution. Call DC, and demnad that they focus on enforcement and security. Screw pandering to the illegal aliens. They can get theirs when we get ours. And make sure you tell your reps in DC that you don't want them being lax on these people. They should be forced to pay the price for their crime. 202-225-3121

Publius II

ADDENDUM: Michelle notes that LoneWacko disseminates the GOP talking points, and shows them for the rubbish they are.

Also, the WaPo weighs in with some more details:

A bipartisan group of senators reached a delicate compromise today on what could be the biggest overhaul of immigration law in more than 40 years. It would offer the nation's 12 million undocumented workers a route to legal status.

The measure, which senators hope to bring to the floor for debate and a vote before they leave for the Memorial Day, is to be announced at a press conference this afternoon.

Under the deal, undocumented workers who crossed into the country before Jan. 1 would be offered a temporary-residency permit while they await a new "Z Visa" that would allow them to live and work lawfully here. The head of an illegal-immigrant household would have eight years to return to his or her home country to apply for permanent legal residence for members of the household, but each Z Visa itself would be renewable indefinitely, as long as the holder passes a criminal background check, remains fully employed and pays a $5,000 fine, plus a paperwork-processing fee.

A separate, temporary-worker program would be established for 400,000 migrants a year. Each temporary work visa would be good for two years and could be renewed up to three times, as long as the worker leaves the country for a year between renewals.

To satisfy Republicans, those provisions would come in force only after the federal government implements tough new border controls and a crackdown on employers that hire illegal immigrants. Republicans are demanding 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, 370 miles of additional border fencing and an effective, electronic employee-verification system for the workplace.

"This is not the architecture of an immigration bill that I would have initially liked to see," conceded Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.), the Democrats' chief negotiator yesterday when news of a tentative deal became known, "but we're not dealing with that. This is a legislative process."

The agreement would effectively bring an immigration overhaul to the Senate floor next week, but its passage is far from assured. The framework has the support of the White House and the chief negotiators, Kennedy and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). But immigration rights groups and some key Senate Democrats remain leery, especially of changing a preference system that has favored family members for more than 40 years.

"When they say, 'We're all in agreement, we have a deal,' certainly I don't feel that way," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

Since 1965, migrants have needed a sponsor in the United States, meaning that virtually all immigrants have had family members or employers already here. The new proposal would augment that system with a merit-based program that would award points based on education levels, work experience and English proficiency, as well as family ties. Automatic family unifications would remain but would be limited to spouses and children under 21. The adult children and siblings of U.S. residents would probably need other credentials, such as skills and education, to qualify for an immigrant visa. A number of unskilled parents would be allowed in, but that flow would be capped.

To Republicans, the new system would make the nation more economically competitive while opening access to a wider array of migrants. "I think you'll find the point system to be pretty well balanced," said Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.).

But to immigration groups, the proposal is a radical break from existing U.S. law, and without changes, they could withhold their support from the final bill.

"We want to see an immigration reform debate on the Senate floor. We want to see this move forward. But we are wildly uncomfortable with a lot of what we're hearing," said Cecilia Muñoz, chief lobbyist for the National Council of La Raza.

The other hurdle will come from the temporary-worker program. The immigration bill that passed the Senate last year with bipartisan support would have allowed laborers entering the country as temporary workers to stay and work toward citizenship. But Republicans said this year that they could support such a program only if the workers would be truly temporary.

Immigration groups say such a program would only spur a new wave of illegal migration, as temporary workers go underground once their work permits expire. Perhaps more importantly, two powerful service unions -- the Service Employees International Union and Unite Here -- have threatened to pull their support from any immigration bill that would not give temporary workers a way to remain in the country, fearing that a truly temporary program would drive down wages for low-skill work.

A temporary worker cap? The enforcement provisions significantly reduced? A "point" system? And, of course, we're expecting these people -- people who have come here and live here ILLEGALLY -- to abide by the law all of a sudden, and be honest.

MSNBC video report states that the "Z visa" is the most controversial aspect of this deal because the illegals don't have to do it right away. They have up to EIGHT YEARS of leeway before they're REQUIRED to do the "touchback." The guy reporting on it, Mike Viqueira, rightly notes that opponents of this deal -- like ourselves, Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin, and a host of others -- calls this amnesty. It is amnesty, and it shouldn't be tolerated.

I'd also like to note for readers that Michelle has a poll up on her site that asks if you will support a candidate that is in favor of this measure. Overwhelmingly, the answer is "Hell No!" Why do I bring this up? Because the FOX News video this afternoon of Sen. Kennedy bloviating about his bill shows Sen. John McCain on the same stage as he is, and he's smiling.

Thanks Johnny. You're more than screwed now.

Publius II

UPDATE: Kate O'Beirne lets people know that the Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector will speak with the House Judiciary Committee. She writes:

Tomorrow, The Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector will share the following analysis in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Virtually no attention has been paid to the enormous costs involved in legalizing millions of low-skilled illegal aliens. One problem is that immigration reform is being negotiated by Judiciary Committee lawyers who typically have little experience in budgetary issues. Some Members who might be expected to blanch at a potential price tag of $2.5 trillion on their handiwork are kidding themselves by naively expecting that government benefits will be denied to the newly-legalized. Some know so little about tax burdens and benefit costs that they wrongly believe low-skilled workers are a net benefit to the social security system.

Giving amnesty to illegal immigrants would increase the costs outlined in this testimony. Some 50 to 60 percent of illegal immigrants lack a high school degree. Granting amnesty or conditional amnesty to illegal immigrants would, overtime, increase their use of means-tested welfare, Social Security and Medicare. Fiscal costs would go up significantly in the short term but would go up dramatically after the amnesty recipient reached retirement. Based on my current research, I estimate that if all the current adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. were granted amnesty the net retirement costs to government (benefits minus taxes) could be over $2.5 trillion.

The calculation of this figure is as follows. In March 2006, there were 9.3 million adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. Most illegal immigrants are low-skill. On average, each elderly low-skill immigrant creates a net cost (benefits minus taxes) for the taxpayer of about $17,000 per year. (This includes federal state and local government costs.) If the government gave amnesty to 9.3 million illegal immigrants, most of them would eventually become eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits or Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits.

However, not all of the 9.3 million adults given amnesty would survive till age 67. Normal mortality rates would probably reduce the population by roughly 15 percent before age 67. That would mean 7.9 million individuals would reach 67 and enter retirement.

Of those reaching 67, the average life expectancy would be around 18 years. The net governmental cost (benefits minus taxes) of these elderly individuals would be around $17,000 per year. Over eighteen years of expected life, costs would equal $360,000 per elderly amnesty recipient. A cost of $306,000 per amnesty recipient times 7.9 million amnesty recipients would be $2.4 trillion. These costs would hit the U.S. taxpayer at exactly the point that the Social Security system is expected to go into crisis. This is a preliminary estimate based on my ongoing research. More research should be performed, but I believe policy makers should examine these potential costs carefully before rushing to grant amnesty, “Z visas” or “earned citizenship” to the current illegal immigrant population.

Amnesty proponents may argue that some of these individuals will go home without getting benefits, or before they reach retirement age. Though perhaps valid, that argument only emphasizes how expensive amnesty recipients would be; the longer they remain in the country the greater the cost to the taxpayer.

Little wonder that supporters of "comprehensive" immigration reform are racing against the clock. They best hurry up and pass this EXPENSIVE bill before taxpayers already opposed to amnesty realize what it's likely to cost them.

And we, the taxpayers in America, need to get on the phones and urge those in the House to kill this thing. Call your GOP reps and call the Blue Dogs. The Blue Dogs ran on a fairly conservative platform, and with that comes fiscal responsibility. This bill is a fiscal nightmare and a boondoggle that has no guarantee of success. Likewise, there is nothing to ensure the enforcement/security provisions will be adhered to. Remember that border patrol agents already held a vote of no confidence in Chief David Aguilar. That doesn't send a lot of happy or secure feelings to the public, and if things don't change as enumerated in this deal, then things will be no different ten years from now than they are today.

Publius II


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