We still don’t have an amnesty bill to examine — maybe today, maybe next week, like a contractor telling you when he’ll be done remodeling the bathroom. But based on Katrina’s post and the New York Times story, a few thoughts:
Amnesty comes first, enforcement promises second. Everyone should know this by now, but I spoke with a reporter yesterday who had been fooled, which did little to raise the MSM in my estimation. So, just as a refresher from Chuck Schumer:
“First, people will be legalized . . . then we will make sure the border is secure.”
The border-security “triggers” that would move the amnestied aliens from green-card-lite to a bormal green cards are phony. As the Times put it: “the bill does not impose any specific measurements of border enforcement results that, if they were not met, would stop the immigrants from proceeding toward citizenship.”
Here’s some more from the Times, highlighting how the triggers are nothing but fig leaves to dupe gullible Republicans (apparently including Rubio):
The senators’ compromise allows Republican lawmakers, including Senators John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida, to say that they achieved border enforcement advances in the bill as a condition before any illegal immigrants can apply for permanent-resident green cards, the first step toward citizenship.
But it also allows Democrats to describe the border measures as goals that can be achieved with the resources provided, so they will not become roadblocks that could stop the immigrants from reaching the final stage of citizenship.
This bit from Katrina’s post is especially rich:
DHS will be given six months to come up with a plan to accomplish this [apprehension of 90% of border infiltrators], and then must issue a notice of commencement that they have begun to implement the enforcement policies. When five years have passed, DHS must be meeting these goals; if not, a commission will then devise additional policies that DHS will have to implement.
A commission! Why didn’t I think of that!
The non-border triggers — which, like all these benchmarks, should be prerequisites to even discussing amnesty, not held hostage to it — are pushed too far into the future. From the Times:
Homeland Security officials will also be required to expand a worker verification system, making it mandatory nationwide for all employers within five years.
Why five years? It’s already being used to screen about one-third of new hires annually, and has the IT capacity to handle all new hires. There’s no reason for a phase-in period of more than three years. And maybe this will be in the final bill, but E-Verify has to be supplemented with mandatory 100 percent Social Security no-match enforcement, to foil identity theft.
Within 10 years, they must also create an electronic exit system at all airports and seaports to help ensure that foreigners leave when their visas expire.
Ten years? Since Congress mandated this in 1996 (and re-mandated it five more times in the interim), if this provision were passed this year, and if it were actually implemented on that schedule, that would mean this immigration-security promise will have taken 27 years to fulfill. In the meantime, some 40 percent of illegals entered legally but never left, precisely because we couldn’t track them. And it still would only cover a small share of foreign visitors, because the vast majority of them enter via land border crossings, not at airports or seaports.
There’s no meaningful bar to amnestying people living off the taxpayer dime. In fact, given the widespread use of welfare by illegal-immigrant households (nearly half collect some means-tested benefit, mainly food assistance and Medicaid), an amnesty couldn’t work if welfare recipients were barred. That’s the reason for this:
Immigrants will also have to prove they can support themselves; what level of income constitutes that ability is still being debated (the Gang is currently considering 125 percent of the federal poverty level).
Understand that incomes “in or near poverty” — i.e., below 200 percent of the poverty level — typically pay no income taxes and are eligible for means-tested welfare. So setting the floor at 125 percent of poverty guarantees amnesty and eventual citizenship for people who (by the federal government’s reckoning) cannot support themselves. What’s more, regulations already offer imaginative ways around similar requirements elsewhere in immigration law (food stamps, for instance, are not counted as welfare for purposes of immigration) and there’s no reason to expect any different here. And on top of that, most of those existing income requirements in immigration law are completely ignored.
Like the immigration-security triggers, the welfare limits are merely there to dupe Republicans into voting for the bill; the moment it’s signed, they turn back into pumpkins and mice. Anyone who claims to care about national sovereignty or fiscal responsibility would be either a fool or a liar to vote for this sham.