Monday, March 20, 2006

Three Cheers for Bill!

Three Cheers for Bill.........Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist that is. Many in his own party don't seem to be able to muster the courage to bring about serious immigration reform of any kind. Up until now, about all you ever here from either side of the aisle is "lip service" about immigration reform. I'm not sure if Senator Frist's proposal is "courageous" or not, but it might qualify as smart politics and it is certainly the first attempt by a national figure, including the President, to address the 500lb gorilla in the room.

Frist's bill would......
  • Require all employers to verify the identity and immigration status of their employees through an electronic system.
  • Assess civil penalties of between $500 and $20,000 against employers for each illegal immigrant they hire and criminal penalties of up to $20,000 per illegal immigrant hired and up to six months in jail for engaging in a pattern of employing illegal workers.
  • Add 4,400 Border Patrol agents over six years to the 10,000 Congress provided for in the intelligence reform law passed in 2004, and 1,000 more immigrant smuggling investigators over the next five years.
  • More than double the number of employment-based green cards, from 140,000 to 290,000, and make more employment based visas available to unskilled workers. It also would free up other visas by exempting immediate relatives of U.S. citizens from being counted in the annual pool of 480,000 visas, and increase country-by-country ceilings on family sponsored and employment-based immigrants.

It's definitely a start, but it fails to address a major issue. What do you do with the 12-20 million illegal immigrants already in this country?

For once, Senator Kennedy is right. Yes, you heard me, right! He's not right of course in what he wants to do about those illegally in this country, but he is right that Frist's proposal fails to address the issue.

Although I support Senator Frist and his ideas, he must address this one glaring "hole" in his proposal. His proposal would certainly be better than the "guest worker" idea that's being presented by others, for it is nothing but an amnesty program in disguise. You know it. I know it. And they know it.

I'm NOT against immigrants coming into this country. My grandfather was an immigrant. My wife is an immigrant. The difference is that they did it the right way. They filled out all the paperwork and followed the rule of law.

For the life of me, I don't understand how anyone who is truly sincere and honest about the issue can justify rewarding those who have ignored the laws and the sovereignty of our nation with amnesty. What message does that send? More importantly, how can anyone suggest such a thing after 9/11?

It's time for America's leaders to step up to the plate and deal with the problem. It's not going away and it's only going to get worse.


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