Until tonight, I was undecided about how I felt about the proposed Senate immigration
bill. Without Hoeven-Corker, I knew I was opposed to the bill as written by the gang of eight but was hoping it could be amended to make it better and I believe Hoeven-Corker does that.
I have read numerous opinion pieces and analyses and news reports about the bill and have wavered back and forth on whether or not it is good bill. Tonight I watched the debate between Senator Bob Corker and Senator Jeff Session on CSPAN and was persuaded that this is a good bill, with the proposed amendment, and we need to move forward with immigration reform. Some of the organizations and people I respect continue to oppose the bill and I am reluctant to disagree with organization such as the Heritage Foundation, but I must. Maybe, the bill is not perfect, but it is a good bill. It greatly increases security on the boarder and imposes five "triggers" that must be fulfilled before immigrants now hear illegally can be granted green cards. If those things are done then the earliest illegal immigrants could get a green card would be ten years from now.
The security requirements in this bill are things conservatives have asked for for years. These are the security triggers in the Hoeven-Corker amended bill:
- 20,000 more Border Patrol agents. This would more than doubling the current force.
- $4.5 billion in specific technology and equipment requested by the Border Patrol which would achieve full surveillance of the border.
- 700 miles of fencing must have been completed along the southern border. This doubles the current 350 miles.
- A new electronic visa entry/exit system must be fully implemented at all air and sea ports of entry where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are currently deployed. This system will improve the identification of those who overstay their visas.
- E-Verify must be in place by all employers in the country.
Am I persuaded that this will mean no one will ever work in this country who is here illegally or that no one can ever illegally enter the country again? No, I am not. E-verify will not catch everyone. A lot of illegals work for themselves and will continue to do so and evade detection. If you contract for someone to do your lawn care, you are not their employer, you are contracting for a service so some of those self employed people will continue to operate without a green card. Also, documents can be forged and some people will continue to take their chances and hire people without using E-verify and no border can be made 100 effective. Just as the Berlin Wall was not 100% effective in keeping people in, a militarized border will not be 100% effective in keeping people out. So, no system will be absolutely perfect. It will be much better than what we have now however. We now have de facto amnesty and the border leaks like a seive. It is impractical to talk about rounding up and deporting over 11 million people. Think about the logistics of deporting 11 million people. It is just not going to happen. A vote against this bill is a vote for continuing the status quo.
I think some people have been so locked into a position of opposing amnesty that there is no bill that could satisfy them. They will support nothing short of rounding them up and sending them home. For those with legitimate concerns about the bill, there is still room to address those concerns. Tonight after the 67 to 27 procedural vote to move the bill forward, Senator Corker made that point and had this to say:
“This vote provides strong bipartisan support for an amendment that unquestionably strengthens border security and moves us toward solving the immigration problem that we have struggled with for decades. There are certainly provisions in the underlying bill that can be improved, but it is my hope that tonight's overwhelming vote will lead to the passage of a strong bipartisan bill out of the Senate later this week."One of the things I think many Republicans are concerned about, but hesitant to admit, is that they fear that eventually adding 11 million new voters to the rolls will be that many new votes for Democrats. I understand that concern, but with it being l0 years before these illegal immigrants can get green cards and be eligible to begin the process of becoming citizens, I do not assume that they will all be Democrats. During the first ten years they will not be eligible for welfare. I think they have a strong work ethic and I do not think they will automatically become Democrat voters supporting the welfare state. I think Republicans can compete for the vote of these immigrants once they become citizens. I believe our values of individualism, economic opportunity, and limited government can be sold to anyone who has not already been socialized to be welfare dependent.
I think it is time to pass immigration reform. For anyone who wants to read the full text of the bill as amended, follow this link.