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Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan

Immigration reform will be a hot topic today. Late Wednesday, Senate Republicans introduced a compromise immigration bill. Sen. Harry Reid said Democrats will consider it, but it appears to be doomed, since many of the objectionable House provisions from H.R. 4437 are in it. Debate is scheduled to resume today on the Democrat's bill that passed the Judiciary Committee last week.

Sen. Dick Durbin says if a bill does not pass the Senate this week, there is unlikely to be any immigration reform legislation this year.

My view (and that of many pro-immigrants rights groups): Both proposals are unacceptable due to the punitive enforcement provisions. We need both an easier path to legalization, protections and benefits for workers and fewer enforcement provisions.

So, better no bill than a bad bill? Probably, unless the Democrat's version that strips some of the most egregious enforcement provisions prevails. But, for those who are wanting to review the differences between the Senate Judiciary version and what is reported to be in the new Republican version, see below:

The Republican proposal would divide illegal immigrants into three categories:

Those who had been in the country the longest, more than five years, would not be required to return to their home country before gaining legal status. They would be subject to several tests, including the payment of fines and back taxes, and be required to submit to a background check, according to these officials.

Illegal immigrants in the United States less than five years but more than two would be required to go to a border point of entry, briefly leave and then be readmitted to the United States. As with the longer-term illegal immigrants, other steps would be required for re-entry, after which they could begin seeking citizenship, these officials said.

Illegal immigrants in the United States less than two years would be required to leave the country and join any other foreign residents seeking legal entry.

Under the Senate Proposal, called the Chairman's Mark, includes a legalization provision:

Undocumented immigrants who were working in the U.S. on January 7, 2004 could qualify for temporary lawful status for 6 years if they pay a $1,000 fine and fees, have complied with tax filing requirements, have not committed certain crimes, and understand or are studying English, U.S. civics and history. After the 6-year period, applicants who have worked or studied continuously and meet the other requirements of the bill would be able to adjust to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status after payment of a second $1,000 fine and additional application fees.

It also includes a guest worker program:

Foreign workers would be allowed to enter the U.S. and fill available jobs that require few or no skills so long as the applicant demonstrates that he/she has a job waiting in the U.S., pays a $500 fee and application fees and meets security, medical and other conditions. The guest worker visa would be valid for three (3) years, the visa can be renewed for an additional three years, and after four years the worker could apply to adjust his/her status to LPR status.

There's a special provision for agricultural workers:

It would allow undocumented farmworkers who worked in agriculture at least 150 days within the previous two years before December 31, 2005 to apply for a "blue card." If they work an additional 150 work days per year for 3 years, or 100 work days per year for five years, they can apply for lawful permanent resident status. They must pay a fine of $500, show they are current on their taxes, and that they have not been convicted of certain crimes. They can also do non-agricultural work during this period.

There would be a reduction in immigration visa backlogs:

Immediate relatives (spouses, children and parents) of U.S. citizens would no longer be counted against the worldwide limit of available visas, and those visas would be made available for other family categories. The number of visas for employment-based visas would be more than doubled. The children and spouse of a U.S. citizen who have applied for an immigrant visa would be allowed to continue with their application if the citizen dies before the visa is issued.

It also contains the Dream Act:

Also included in the bill is the DREAM Act (S. 2075), which would allow immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S., graduated from high school here, and can demonstrate good moral character to initially qualify for "conditional lawful permanent resident" status, which normally would last for six years. During the conditional period, the immigrant would be required to graduate from a 2-year college, attend 2 years towards a 4-year degree, or serve for 2 years in the military. At the end of the conditional period, those who meet at least one of these requirements would be eligible to adjust to LPR status and could apply for citizenship without any further delay. The bill would also eliminate a federal provision that discourages states from providing in-state tuition without regard to immigration status.

There are still a long list of punitive provisions in the Chairman's Mark bill. But, some modifications were made that make it better than 4437, including:

  • The provision making unlawful presence a misdemeanor was removed.
  • The humanitarian exception to the provisions making assistance to immigrants a crime of smuggling was broadened to cover non-emergency medical care, counseling, victim services and housing.
  • Some of the retroactive application of punitive provisions was eliminated.
  • Limited judicial review of naturalization decisions and delays under current law was retained
  • Refugees, asylees, and certain vulnerable populations would have limited protection from prosecution for the wide range of document fraud provisions.

    Still up in the air is the appeals provision:

Title VII of the Specter mark, which would limit all immigration appeals to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and permit such appeals to proceed only in cases where a judge issues a certificate of reviewability within 60 days, in effect preventing most immigrants from appealing adverse immigration decisions. This title was pulled from the bill by Sen. Specter. A hearing on the issue will be held in the Judiciary Committee on April 3, and some version of the provision is expected to be offered as an amendment on the Senate floor.

Here's another good analysis, with links to all of the actual bills (except the one proposed late Wednesday).

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  • Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Apr 05, 2006 at 11:58:07 PM EST
    The DREAM Act takes discounted college educations away from U.S. citizens (many of them black or Hispanic) and gives them to illegal aliens. It also devalues the worth of American citizenship. In case you haven't seen it, here's Harry Reid on immigration. Just one catch: that was his position in 1993, and his position today is so incredibly different that simple explanations just won't cut it. And, you probably haven't seen the letter Sensenbrenner (of HR4437) sent to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All of you who believed what they said about that bill should really read that before embarassing yourself further.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 12:38:31 AM EST
    Don't believe that. The Dream Act is great. Only a Republican would oppose it.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 12:46:44 AM EST
    You provide a good launch into the complex field, and today's discussions in the Senate, last week's student demonstrations. I may visit again after reading the texts. A hasty view of the summaries you provide, and those on the site to which you link of the Hispanic Assembly, gives the impression much is punitive and little understanding of international relations is present. Durbin's "DRE"AlienMinors S-2075 at least offers promise to youth. I wonder what Mayor Obrador might contribute to help render life easier on that side of the 'Frontier' if he manages to assemble a progressive administration beginning in the end of 2006. So much of what our own immigration legislation needs to be seems absent from the current crop of elements of the new face of US immigration law; perhaps, though, it should be called the illegal immigration law. Less marketing potential, but more straightforward about its intent.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 12:49:54 AM EST
    I remember the Turkish guest workers when I lived in Germany. No chance of citizenship for them or their grandchildren or children. That is a very bad idea. And since the first poster brought up Reid's different stances on immigration, I'd really like his views on bush changing his mind about Nation building. Or does that not count? Yes, I am a registered Republican and a real conservative.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 06:58:40 AM EST
    Freakin' Senselessbrenner...always looking to create new felons. Does the guy have stock in the prison industry or something? I'd rather they do nothing than pass another "solution" that's worse than the problem, or creates new problems.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 07:28:25 AM EST
    et al - The following tidbit should interest you:
    Senate Democrats have successfully blocked an amendment to the immigration bill now under consideration that would have prevented aliens convicted of felonies from becoming citizens:
    Link Got a few problems back home? No problem. Come on in!

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 07:48:18 AM EST
    And the fact that it's from powerline says it all.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 09:45:43 AM EST
    Regarding the DREAM Act, there are only a finite number of colleges in a state, and there are only a finite number of discounted college educations available. And, there are always going to be more people who want those discounts than the number of discounts available. So, just to understand this better, let's say there are 1000 discounted college educations, and 1001 applicants. And, let's say that 1 of those 1001 applicants is a citizen of another country. If that citizen of another country gets a discount, that means that 999 citizens got a discount as did the one citizen of another country (1000 discounts = 999 Americans, 1 citizen of another country). And, the person who didn't get a discounted college education was an American citizen. So, an illegal alien took a discounted college education away from an American citizen. Every discounted college education that goes to an illegal alien is one that did not go to an American citizen. Obviously, that severly undercuts the worth of American citizenship, something that should be one of the most valuable things in the world.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 09:55:47 AM EST
    I followed your link, PPJ, but I forgot my sunglasses, so I'll try again later in the day when I'll be wearing welders' goggles.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#10)
    by roy on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 10:27:30 AM EST
    BMB, Every non-trivial government policy takes something away from somebody, or denies somebody access to something. Important to note, but if that's all you focus on then you leave out the stuff we use to decide whether it's a good policy. Allowing black students to recieve discounted educations deprives some white students of their education, degrading the value of being white. Same argument structure as you're using, eh? (Inflammatory examples chosen for clarity, not trying to insult you) More topically, I suspect most states would only offer in-state tuition to students who's families have been paying state taxes for a while. If so, they're not giving the students a "discount" so much as declining to "shaft" them. Also, whatever happened to "states' rights!"? Or what that not your wing? (Ignoring the fact that taxes are payed disproportionately by the wealthy so unless you're rich you get all government services at a discount, but that's a rant for another day)

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 10:38:15 AM EST
    Posted by charliedontsurf1 April 6, 2006 08:48 AM And the fact that it's from powerline says it all.
    What is your point? Are you saying that this did not happen? Did Powerline make it up?

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 10:44:05 AM EST
    Hey BMB- facts, facts,facts= blah, blah, blah to liberals. It is about feelings-not facts. You must be a racist.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#13)
    by roy on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 10:44:19 AM EST
    Jim, Do you support banning people convicted of practicing Christianity in Saudi Arabia from immigrating?

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 11:12:53 AM EST
    Posted by JRT April 6, 2006 11:38 AM Posted by charliedontsurf1 April 6, 2006 08:48 AM And the fact that it's from powerline says it all.
    What is your point? Are you saying that this did not happen? Did Powerline make it up?
    It's always a safe bet that it didn't happen the way powerline says it did.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 05:18:32 PM EST
    charlie - Behold the power of the link of uninformed one.
    The whole immigration debate already has spilled over into campaigns for the elections this fall. Oakland County, Mich., Sheriff Michael Bouchard, the Republican who is challenging Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, yesterday seized on Democrats' opposition to the amendment that would prevent felons from gaining U.S. citizenship. "This amendment would prevent people who are in our country illegally and then break our laws from becoming citizens," he said yesterday while campaigning in the heavily unionized state that is suspicious of immigration. "Committing a felony like assault and battery or kidnapping are serious crimes and we need leadership in the U.S. Senate that will put our country's safety and security first."
    BTW - A filibuster is a very straight forward action. roy - And you want to let someone in who has committed murder in Mexico?

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 05:29:14 PM EST
    Posted by JimakaPPJ April 6, 2006 06:18 PM
    charlie - Behold the power of the link of uninformed one.
    I've seen your act, Jim.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#17)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 05:33:39 PM EST
    The Moonie Times. Any other wedge issues you want to hit us with Jim? Gay marriage? Flag Burning? Your jilted ex Terri Schiavo? Keep creating those diversions and dont stop bailing water. A social liberals work is never done.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#18)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 05:48:05 PM EST
    And jim, does this mean youre on the record in favor of retroactivly deporting all immigrant felons already here? And, if not, why not? Or, is it jest them greasy Meskins youre worried about?

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#19)
    by roy on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 05:54:53 PM EST
    Jim,
    And you want to let someone in who has committed murder in Mexico [immigrate]?
    Nice dodge. No, Jim, I don't want to let a murderer immigrate. Trouble is, if we adopt the Republicans' blanket ban -- nobody with a felony conviction in any country can come in -- we won't just ban confirmed murderers. We'll ban people who were commited of acts that wouldn't be felonies or even objectionable in the US, and we'll ban people convicted under lax standards of evidence so we don't know if they're really criminals. Personally, I wouldn't mind denying a visa to somebody convicted of a violent felony in, say, England where the standards of proof are comparable to our own. At least not while there are people with a clean record waiting to come in. Maybe the policy should be deny visas to people convicted of acts which would be felonies in the US, in a court system based upon standards on par with "innocent until proven guilty" and "beyond a reasonable doubt". Give them a way to appeal our decision, from outside our borders. And the usual refugee / sanctuary caveats apply.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 06:54:18 PM EST
    charlie - Well, how about proving my comment wrong? Jondee - When you don't like the comment, attack the source. After all, free speech is only for those you agree with. But never, never, never actually refute the comment. That isn't your style. See? I understand you. BTW - I never said what I favored, just what the Demos wanted to do. How did you decide you know what I want? roy - I don't have any problem with making exceptions, better definitons, etc. I just thought your rather stupid question deserved another stupid question (mine). ;-)

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#21)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 07:22:52 PM EST
    Posted by JimakaPPJ April 6, 2006 07:54 PM
    charlie - Well, how about proving my comment wrong?
    Gee, an invitation to prove a negative. How delightful! How can I refuse such a magnanimous and well-intentioned invitation? 'Cause Mama didn't raise no chumps.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#22)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 07:37:56 PM EST
    ppj - You should practice what you preach. Tell you what, I wont do it if you dont do it.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#23)
    by jondee on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 08:20:11 PM EST
    I just heard ANSWER is behind those Fox poll numbers.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#24)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 09:09:07 PM EST
    C'mon, PPJ, we need a link from newzwacx.com or worldnutdaily.com to make our day here.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 09:32:14 PM EST
    As Max Blumenthal explained........ Under pressure from Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, chair of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, and with sponsorship from House Judiciary Committee chair James Sensenbrenner (tough-talking heir to the Kotex fortune), the Republican-dominated House has approved a bill that makes it a felony to be in the United States illegally,.......
    FDL I finally get it. It is all about the prison business and all its nasty angles. Incarcerated non citizen population. Wonder if they will still count as resident population for representatives. It is kinda like farming people.

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 09:46:06 PM EST
    "Every new immigrant adds to our crime problems, our welfare rolls and unemployment of American citizens.... We are being invaded in the southwest as if a foreign army were coming over the border.... They're going to take more and more hard-earned money from the productive middle class in the form of taxes and social programs."
    Sounds familar? Heard it lately? It is David Duke, "KKK Lite". He's having a revival .....sort of. Great post at FDL by David Neiwer

    Re: Republicans Propose New Immigration Plan (none / 0) (#27)
    by fafnir on Fri Apr 07, 2006 at 04:44:56 AM EST
    Here's praise to Sen. Byron Dorgan who stood in the well of the Senate this week to give voice and support to American workers. No one else from either side of the isle stood up for the interests of working- and middle-class natives. Armed with a series of charts and graphs, he soundly refuted the misinformation being catapulted by the corporations and pro-immigration groups. Like NAFTA and other so-called "free trade" policies, the ultimate aim of "immigration reform" is government subsidization of corporate cheap labor, and the immoral erosion of wages and job opportunities for the American workforce.