kf searches for Common Ground!

A mostly political Weblog.
April 4 2006 5:12 AM

kf Searches for Common Ground!

While the MSM says 'First, fry Frist.'

WaPo buries the news: A not-uninteresting Senate compromise is  discussed on page A9 of today's WaPo. Under the deal, illegal immigrants who've

lived and worked in the United States for five years would qualify for a work visa and an opportunity to apply for citizenship. They could stay in the country as they apply for a green card.

Those not meeting the requirements would have to return to their native countries. New measures in the larger immigration bill, such as a tamper-proof identification card and sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants, would convince recent illegal immigrants they have no choice but to comply, advocates of the compromise said.

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Sen. Frist is quoted saying that 40% of the 12 million illegals have been here less than five years. ... The actual sight of millions of illegals having to leave the country might have a deterrent, they-mean-business effect that could counterbalance the inevitable incentive effect (on potential future illegals) of the deal's partial semi-amnesty. But 1) would the under-5s really be made to "return to their native countries"? Why not see if employer sanctions can accomplish this first? Otherwise we might get the soft semi-amnesty part without the tough "no choice but to comply" part. 2) Wouldn't this just energize the Latino lobby to demand that the limit be lowered to 3 years, or 2 years, or 0 years? A bidding war for that voting bloc isn't out of the question.  3) There's still the bogus idea that this plan wouldn't reward illegals for their lawbreaking. According to WaPo:

Under the plan, illegal immigrants could not be put ahead of others legally in the country and seeking U.S. citizenship. Because long-term illegal immigrants would still have to apply for a green card through normal channels, they also could not jump ahead of workers hoping to come to the United States through legal channels.

Right, but, again, those in foreign countries "hoping to come to the United State through legal channels" wouldn't have the advantage of working in the U.S. while they waited! Illegals would have that advantage. They wouldn't need to "jump ahead" because they're already getting most of what those waiting in line are waiting for! So they'd still receive a huge reward for having broken the law, compared with those who played by the rules--enough to encourage others, now living abroad, to make the same trip across the border. ... It's like the difference between a) waiting for a restaurant table in the restaurant, eating, and b) waiting outside in the cold. ... How long before the MSM catches on to this?

Update: The Miami Herald has a different version of the proposed deal--

Undocumented workers here less than five years would have to return to a "point of entry" such as the border or an airport, and might qualify for shorter, temporary visas.

That's not much of a compromise, is it? Long-time illegals get one form of legalization, while newer illegals get ... another form of legalization!  ("It's pretty sad," as Lindsey Graham might say.) It doesn't have any of the appealing qualities of the compromise reported by WaPo. Specifically, it does little to de-incentivize further immigration. To get a disincentive we-mean-business effect, potential immigrants would need to see large numbers of recent immigrants actually leaving the country. ... [Via K-Lo] 1:49 A.M.

Immigration CW BS, Item One:

"You can't build a 2,000 mile wall ... You can't do the full 2,000 mile border. You just can't."--Joe Klein, Chris Matthews Show, 4/1/06

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