Thursday, April 06, 2006

An Immigration Deal In The Works?

The compromise would give illegal immigrants who have been in the United States for more than five years a chance to legalize their status and, eventually, to become U.S. citizens if they pay a fine and meet a series of requirements. Other rules would apply to those who have been in the country less than five years but more than two years from the effective date of Jan. 7, 2004.
The devil is in the details, and one has to wonder what exactly is going to be different this time around to stem the flow of illegal aliens across our borders. I have no problem if Mexicans want to work in the US, but they have to do it legally. Obtain the necessary paperwork, pay taxes, and the whole nine yards.

The failure to do so is a violation of the law. They are here illegally.
Under the agreement, the Senate would allow undocumented workers a path to lawful employment and citizenship if they could prove -- through work stubs, utility bills or other documents -- that they have been in the country for five years. To attain citizenship, those immigrants would have to pay a $2,000 penalty, back taxes, learn English, undergo a criminal background check and remain working for 11 years.

Those who have been here a shorter time would have to return to one of 16 designated ports of entry, such as El Paso, Tex., and apply for a new form of temporary work visa for low-skilled and unskilled workers. An additional provision would disqualify illegal immigrants who have been in the country less than two years.
And this compromise appears to provide a form of amnesty to those who were here for more than five years and met the necessary conditions. I'm sure there are going to be plenty of folks complaining that this is simply an amnesty program in sheep's clothing. They would be right to complain, but I've yet to hear of any possible way of dealing with the problem that is not only feasible but could work without serious disruptions of local economies.

Most of the competing pieces of legislation call for tougher sanctions against employers who rely on illegal aliens, and call for increased funding for border control. I don't think those go far enough - but that's as far as Congress is willing to go without incurring the wrath of the various interest groups arrayed against immigration reform that cuts across party lines and affiliations.

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