Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Temporary Amnesty won't work without employer controls says immigrant advocate, critic.

Analysis: Temporary isn't going to happen. By the time the guest workers are here for 6 years, they will have children--or more children and will not be returning home but will be forced into an even worse situation and immigrant numbers will explode with Bush's plan to offer every American job to people across the border.

In fact, since every baby born in the US is an American citizen and having an American citizen as a member of your family is criteria for legal worker status, and eventual citizenship, the president is being very disingenuous about this not being an amnesty.

Excerpt from current article:

For much of the past five years, President Bush has sought to smooth the edges of the national immigration debate with the sentimental observation that "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande River." He has lamented the suffering inflicted by illegal border crossings and celebrated the migrants' contributions to the U.S. economy.

But during his visit to the border this week, the president tucked away his compassionate conservatism and strutted his stuff as a tough-talking lawman determined to bring order to the 1,950-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

He showed far more willingness to crack down at the country's edge, however, than to demand that employers, whose jobs draw migrants northward, comply with the law – which many believe is essential for successful immigration reform.

...

But Doris Meissner, former immigration commissioner under President Clinton, said Bush failed to face up to the need for firm controls among the nation's 8.5 million employers.

"I don't know if there is any other answer than to be far more serious about not only border enforcement but also interior enforcement," Meissner said.

Without a determination to clamp down on employers willing to flout the law, Meissner warns, the president's guest-worker program would easily be skirted by illegal immigrants lured north by illegal employers.

Although Bush said he was committed to more interior enforcement, he was short on details. He showed no enthusiasm for the tough work-site regulation that many immigrant advocates say is essential in order to win public support for the broad legalization they want.

In the eyes of immigrant advocate Angela Kelley, Bush was unrealistic in proposing to allow illegal immigrants currently in the United States to work for up to six years, after which they would be required to return to the homeland they fled.

"They're not going to leave," said Kelley, assistant director of the National Immigration Forum. She said six years is plenty of time to put down roots, develop attachments and give birth to new American citizens.

"They would go back to an undocumented state, and we would end up with an even bigger illegal immigrant population than we have now," Kelley said.

That scenario, of course, summons the specter of the last major overhaul of immigration policy, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Passed after five years of debate, that act sought to balance the compassion of large-scale amnesty with the toughness of employer sanctions intended to counteract the jobs magnet. Marines, Sunni Leaders Engage in Talks in Ramadi

It left a legacy that shadows the current debate in Congress. The reform act resulted in immigration networks that expanded as 3 million persons claimed amnesty and summoned their relatives – and the nation's illegal immigration population grew to 11 million.Bush Unveils 'Strategy For Victory' in Iraq

This time, immigrant advocates say, any new reform needs to couple legalization with a serious commitment to enforcement. Skeptics doubt that there is a commitment to that unpleasant and complicated task.
Bush immigration plan bolsters border but glosses over employers

From Time Magazine

This "temporary worker" proposal, one that Bush has been on record supporting for years, has drawn renewed heat from GOP activists, who don't buy Bush's assertion that it's not a general amnesty. But even if he does get the idea past a skeptical Congress, the real challenge may come in convincing the workers themselves that it's a good idea.

Bush is counting on the undocumented workers' desire for a more normalized status. Most illegal aliens aren't under a daily threat of deportation, but they and their families do suffer in the "shadows" that Bush referred to in his speech. Life as a day laborer may be moderately comfortable, but core of the American dream—social mobility—often eludes those who have no documentation.
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