Senate Kills Immigration Reform Bill

Ding, Dong, S. 1639 is dead.

The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush's plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

The bill's supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

The roll call vote results are here. While the defeat is considered a "stinging setback" for President Bush, I'm glad it's dead for other reasons. The path to citizenship was too onerous and the bill failed to preserve the principles of family reunification and protect workers' rights. It was too heavy on border enforcement and too punitive.

We probably won't see another bill until 2009, when we have a new President, hopefully a Progressive Democrat and a new Congress.

Looking ahead, here's what I think a 2009 bill should include. In fact, I'm going to call it the TalkLeft Immigration Reform Act of 2009 (TIRA). This is a work in progress and I may propose Amendments as time goes on.


TIRA (TalkLeft Immigration Reform Act of 2009)
A Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that would:

  • Provide the opportunity for undocumented immigrants to legalize their status
  • Expand avenues for legal immigration and support family reunification
  • Increase access and options for permanent residency and citizenship
  • Strengthen labor protections and their enforcement for all workers, both native and foreign born
  • End border and immigration enforcement abuses
  • Make legalization immediate and without conditions. People would not have to go back to their home countries while awaiting legalization. They would not face excessive costs and taxes for having been here without proper documentation.
  • End criminalization and border walls.
  • Protect civil liberties. Local law enforcement would be precluded from enforcing civil immigration laws.
  • Reduce the list of mandatory aggravated crimes requiring deportation to include only serious violent crimes. For other offense, Judges would have discretion to allow a person who comes before the court for sentencing not to be deported.

Did I leave anything out?

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    an addition (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by selise on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 01:29:48 PM EST
    Did I leave anything out?

    great list. i would add one thing... which is to address our messed up trade policies which:

    1) create immigration pressure

    2) undermine workers rights abroad and therefore here as well.

    here's a couple of illustrative examples:

    1) when the usa started dumping subsidized corn into mexico (nafta), over a million mexican corn farmers left their land because they could no longer support themselves on the land. many of them ended up in border manufacturing jobs (sweatshops). when we opened trading with china many of those mexican border manufacturing jobs went away. then one or two million people were left without a job, and since they no longer lived on the land, they couldn't even feed their kids. what are they to do? try to find work in the usa.

    2) when workers here unionize or threaten to strike, many employers can just move the jobs to a country that doesn't allow workers the right to unionize or bargain collectively. manufactured products are then shipped back to the usa, where the market is. if our trade policies included requirements for workers rights in order to have tarif-free imports, it would help workers here and in our trading partners.

    finally, i think if these issues were explained to the american people we would understand that our problems are caused by foreign workers or immigrants - that we are all on the same side and that the "free traders" are not. there is alot of anger in the usa right now - directing it away from immigrants to where it belongs (certain corporations like walmart) would be a helpful step in getting the rest of your most excellent agenda passed.

    oops. (none / 0) (#6)
    by selise on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 03:34:35 PM EST
    we would understand that our problems are caused by foreign workers or immigrants - that we are all on the same side and that the "free traders" are not.
    should be:

    we would understand that our problems are not caused by foreign workers or immigrants - that we are all on the same side and that the "free traders" are not on our side.

    FICA taxes? (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 12:13:57 PM EST
    The employers use immigrants to depress wages, and the employers are continually breaking the law by hiring undocumented workers.  The undocumented workers entered this country illegally. If employers and undocumented workers have to pay a higher FICA tax, (call it a penalty or fine so as to blunt the "you're granting amnesty" crowd) it might slow down the flow of undocumented workers or refund social security reserves or both.


    Immigration law (none / 0) (#2)
    by wlgriffi on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 12:14:44 PM EST
    "Looking ahead, here's what I think a 2009 bill should include."

    In the meantime it would be helpful if the present laws were enforced.

    Does (none / 0) (#3)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 01:03:23 PM EST
    your proposals have a taxpayer price tag on it?  I would be interested to see it.

    More Bullets to TIRA (none / 0) (#5)
    by koshembos on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 03:28:25 PM EST
    _ Allow legal access of Latin worker into the country to support service industry, agriculture and construction.

    _ Allow legal workers to apply for green cards, citizenship and services in particular education and health care under proper constraints that apply to any other immigrants.

    hmm (none / 0) (#7)
    by jarober on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 04:10:15 PM EST
    "Did I leave anything out?"

    Truth in advertising.  If that's your proposal, be honest and call it the open borders plan - because that's what it is.  Never mind what I (or anyone else) thinks about open borders - if that's what you back, have the courage of your convictions and call it that.

    How about (none / 0) (#8)
    by MikeDitto on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 04:14:16 PM EST
    Fund the system so that people's paperwork doesn't languish for years as it currently does, and end the practice of penalizing immigrants for filing paperwork in an untimely fashion when it's a direct result of the government failing to process the prerequisite paperwork in a timely fashion.

    For instance: Janina was deported and barred re-entry for ten years more than a dozen years after a mistake in paperwork because the government failed to issue a ruling on a stay to her 6-month voluntary deportation order until more than five years after the fact.

    And all of this was perpetuated because she checked a box indicating she had come from a communist country when at the time of the mistake Poland was no longer communist--an easy mistake for someone who doesn't speak English as her first language.

    Janina is not a threat to the (none / 0) (#9)
    by Electa on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 05:15:38 PM EST
    infrastructure of this country.  This family started and created their own jobs and she came here legally.  Lou Dobbs isn't anti-immigration, he's anti-illegal immigration and the securing of our borders.  Lou has more supporters than you think and liberal supporters at that.  I think on the immigration issue Blacks will find themselves jumping into bed with strange partners, since they are the ones who are being the most affected by this illegal immigration slave trade.  I live in the inner city and just this week while enroute to my office, I saw 3 roofing projects with only Latinoes working.  The Black men were standing on the corner looking up at them.  I get out of my car and ask the brothas what they thought about the Mexicans working jobs they used to do...every last one of them said they've taken over all the jobs we used to do.  Unemployment in this community, as it is in most inner city communities across America, far exceeds the national avg. among African-Americans.  You can see some of the disparities here  Now and here where are those jobs that Americans don't want?  Or maybe Blacks aren't considered Americans...I don't know.

    oops my links didn't come through (none / 0) (#10)
    by Electa on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 05:16:59 PM EST
    must have done something wrong. I'll try again.

    I think (none / 0) (#13)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Jun 29, 2007 at 06:50:25 PM EST
    you misspelled brothers.

    I Think Not (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 29, 2007 at 08:31:21 PM EST
    How about "Latinoes?" (none / 0) (#15)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Jun 30, 2007 at 12:58:34 AM EST
    electa -- you might be interested in these folks. (none / 0) (#11)
    by janinsanfran on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 06:30:13 PM EST
    new bill in 2009 (none / 0) (#12)
    by diogenes on Thu Jun 28, 2007 at 06:46:21 PM EST
    Don't count on the Democrats doing anything about immigration.  They'll be few GOP votes and lots of Democrats opposed too.
    Oh-isn't that the point?  Don't change the law and the broken system won't enforce anything and have de facto open borders.