OK - I finally set aside some time to do some reading about the immigration bill including the bill itself. While there are some things that I think are good there are some things I am ambivalent about. But what struck me more than anything was the mountains of misinformation being thrown about. Most of what I read on some of the oft quoted websites and blogs was not only factually incorrect, it completely distorted what was actually in the bill.
So here are some of the things that I discovered. I realize that I am no intellectual heavyweight with a degree in Constitutional Law or a paid pundit or a shill that has to justify one of my best selling books by fanning the flames of opposition to any immigration reform - but I do have common sense and can form my own opinions without an ulterior motive.
Let's look first at those dreaded Z Visas. I've heard Hannity say that once the bill is passed, all illegal aliens are immediately considered legal citizens. That is completely bogus. FIRST the Employment Verification System must be up and running BEFORE any temporary or Z visas are issued.
The following must also be in place BEFORE any temporary or Z Visas are issued.
Increased border fencing.
Increased vehicle barriers at the Southern border.
Increased the size of the Border Patrol.
Installation of ground-based radar and camera towers along the Southern border.
Ensure resources are available to maintain the effective end of "Catch and Release".
About those 24 hour background checks - it's a little more than just a background check. And it includes biometric verification so there is confirmation that the Verification System must be in place. If all of the information is not completed within 1 business day, the applicant goes into PROBATIONARY STATUS - they don't get the Z Visa until all the information has been returned. If any disqualifying information is returned, even after the 1 business day timeframe, they don't get the Z Visa.
To even apply for a Z Visa, the illegal alien must be employed and provide proof of employment. This is where those two types of ID comes in - it's ID required to verify employment - NOT to identify the illegal alien. Big Difference from what those calling for Bush's impeachment have been saying. They must remain employed to continue the Z Visa status.
Yes there is a fine of $1000 that must be paid at the time of application for the Z Visa. By paying the fine, the illegal alien is admitting that he is, in fact, an illegal alien that broke the law to get to the US. There is also a processing fee (not to exceed $1500) and a state impact assistance fee of $500. Every time the Z Visa is renewed, there are processing fees required.
Contrary to what the "experts" have reported, those holding a Z Visa ARE NOT eligible for welfare benefits, earned income credit, food stamps, SSI, etc. ONLY those who achieve legal citizenship are eligible for any benefits afforded to natural born citizens.
There is no "jumping in line" ahead of those currently waiting to get citizenship. To apply for a green card at a date years into the future, Z visa workers must wait in line behind those who applied lawfully, pay an additional $4,000 fine, complete accelerated English requirements, leave the U.S. and file their application in their home country, and demonstrate merit based on the skills and attributes they will bring to the United States.
The "convicted felons" getting a free pass to legal status is another canard. The following is an automatic disqualification for any type of visa, including the Z Visa...
Any three misdemeanors.
Any serious criminal offense.
Violations of any law relating to a controlled substance.
If a gang member has any criminal convictions, they don't get the Z. EVEN if they have renounced their gang affiliation.
Other related facts about the immigration bill...
The United States-Mexico Border Enforcement Review Commission is NOT a group of US and Mexican authorities meeting in a back room to hammer out more ways to screw Americans. It is comprised of 17 US CITIZENS appointed by the Governors of California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. Each Governor appoints 4 people - 1 local elected official from a border town, 1 law enforcement official from a border area and 2 from the states' academic, civic, religious or community leaders. This commission will review the border status and make recommendations to Congress and the President for further enhancements/changes.
The Immigration Bill designates English as the official language of the United States. Other languages are not forbidden but our government is not required to provide non-English speaking versions of forms, signage, etc.
Despite Hannity and others' claims, the Congressional Budget Office did do some research on the cost-benefit analysis of the immigration reform bill.
One final thought for those that have beat the President to a bloody pulp over the immigration bill. Is it possible that the President knows a little bit more about the situation that any one of us? Isn't it the height of hubris to claim expert status when you are getting the information from the media that has distorted every single thing done by this Administration? And at what point does the President, who has been battered since the day he took office, reach a breaking point with all the fair weather supporters? You know, those that called for his impeachment over Harriet Miers, Dubai Ports, No Child Left Behind or any other issue that he didn't address they way you wanted him to. At what point does the President tune out those calling him Jorge, put his photo on a peso or any of the other tactics the left has used on him (implying he is off the wagon as Ann Coulter did or just calling him stupid & a traitor). Newt is whacking the President daily but what did Newt do about illegal immigration?
I could not find any speech transcript that showed the President calling those not supporting the immigration bill racists or bigots. If you have a link, post it for me to back up your claims. Here is the text from President Bush's oft quoted speech in Brunswick GA in late May...
This reform is complex. There's a lot of emotions around this issue. Convictions run deep. Those determined to find fault with this bill will always be able to look at a narrow slice of it and find something they don't like. If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people. Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all, so the people who wear the uniform in this crowd can do the job we expect them to do.
A lot of Americans are skeptical about immigration reform primarily because they don't think the government can fix the problems. And my answer to the skeptics is, give us a chance to fix the problems in a comprehensive way that enforces our border and treats people with decency and respect. Give us a chance to fix this problem. Don't try to kill this bill before it gets moving. Give us a chance to make it easier for the folks who wear the uniform along our borders to do their job.
Our view is, is that you can't solve the problem unless you address all aspects of the problem. We've tried to address immigration reform in the past by talking about only one aspect of immigration reform. To make it work, to address the concerns of the American people, there must be a comprehensive approach.
Not one "racist", "bigot", "xenophobe" comment in the bunch. After reading and researching the bill, I have to admit that the President does have a point about picking out one item and beating the dead horse with it.
I hope this has been as clarifying to you as it was for me. I have no doubt this debate is going to get louder and uglier. But this country deserves to know the truth and the facts. Not some twisted contortions of the facts to score political points or get more readers to your blog. When did we on the right become members of KOS Nation?
Comments are open and my flame-retardant suit is on.