Here are some articles I'm currently poring over regarding the current immigration debate. Maybe they'll give you some information you didn't have previously. Maybe they'll spark some discussion or inspire you to call your congressman or something.
WaPo's side-by-side comparison to the House and Senate bills here.
The actual Senate bill, S-2611 here.
From what I can tell the senate bill does a few major things:
-Allows current illegals who have been living here for five or more years to become citizens if they make a payment of at least $3,000 in fees (plus a state fee), turn over all forged documentation (ie fake SS cards), pay back taxes, remain continuously employed, provide proof of residence, and have a clear criminal record. After they meet those requirements they're given whats being called LPR (legal permanent residence) status...formerly known as a Blue Card. At that point they have to learn English and remain here for another 6 years and go through a process that seems to me to be similar to current citizenship via naturalization for current legal aliens, at which time they'll become citizens.
-Illegals that have been here for 2-5 years must leave but can apply to come back under LPR status after handing over all documents and paying necessary fees.
-Punishment for employing illegal immigrants is being increased "significantly".
-Requires employers to check or verify social security numbers in the national database before employing people in the next 5 years.
-Dramatically increases the amount of work visas (including a new type of visa that did not formerly exist) available, each with potential eventual permanent resident status. The Heritage Foundation claims this will result in 60 million immigrants over the next 20 years, significantly altering the face of the nation. Current law would allow for 19 million legal immigrants. I find this debate somewhat dubious, but the numbers are there for your reading pleasure. The article is kind of shrill and has been updated since it was first published, just a warning.
It also provides a lot of new laws for border security, including:
- doubling the amount of Border Patrol agents
- authorizing (and funding?) new fencing and vehicle barriers
- requiring the Secretary of Homeland security to issue written reports on the state of the border
- creating new "ports of entry"
- incentives for current members of the armed services to serve as border patrol agents
- upgrading technology to track people (what they call "biometric" security)
But...under current laws they should be deported, too. So could someone perhaps explain to me what is really going to change? How is changing the law to lower the amount of people we have to deport but aren't deporting going to change the number of people we're not going to deport?
Update: After reading a few more opinions and articles I'm going to reinforce my earlier opinion that all of this is just a smoke screen. Pay back taxes! they cry -- but most illegals aren't exactly in the 25% bracket. In fact, if they make the kind of money I think they make, the government may actually owe them money in the form of tax credits that they've soaked up due to false records over the years.
I also read up a little bit on Simpson-Mazzoli and to be frank, none of this is really new. The "path to citizenship," the "increased security measures"...its just a sham. That act included nearly everything this one does -- except this one provides means for an even more porous immigration policy in the form of Z-visas.
These temporary Z-visas appear to be unendingly renewable temporary-but-permanent get out of jail free cards. If suddenly an illegal can come and go as he pleases and still get all the benefits but none of the pain of being a citizen, why would they ever come forward to naturalize? We've had six years of a president who has flat-out refused to enforce current laws. Adding new laws won't fix the problem. You can legislate a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
I stand by my earlier post on the topic. All of this is just a circus to get us off of their backs.