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Senate Republicans Have Hijacked Immigration Reform

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Senate Republicans have dug in their heels on immigration and are on the verge of derailing the entire bill over their demand for nearly impossible border security requirements before they sign on to any deal. The "Gang of 8" Senators met with Republican Senators John Hoeven and Bob Corker to attempt to draft a compromise on border security that will appease Republicans while keeping Democrats on board.

    I have to admit that I'm somewhat concerned about the current state of the Immigration Reform bill and am worried that the Republicans are going to hijack the entire issue over their unreasonable demands. It concerns me even more that two conservative Republicans are seen as the only hope of forging a compromise on the issue. John Hoeven and Bob Corker, while not as extreme as many of their colleagues, are still far to the right of the mainstream.

    The other thing that drives me nuts is that the border is more secure than it has ever been. It is a myth that the border is some lawless frontier with hundreds of thousands of individuals crossing illegally every year. The net migration from Mexico has fallen to zero, and some studies have even shown a reverse immigration trend in the past few years. I don't think many Republicans are thinking about the negative consequences of this, but I have a feeling they will once prices on everything from their vegetables to hotel bills skyrocket. Immigrants are part of the backbone of our society and it will be to our detriment if we allow xenophobia to win over reason and compassion.

    I surely hope that Senators Hoeven and Corker will be able to forge a compromise on this false issue because reform is more important than any fence that we might build and I don't want to see the entire bill torpedoed over border security. It's already going to have a hard enough time in the House of Representatives and who knows what will happen when the House and Senate conference? The Senate needs to do its part and come to the table with a bill that isn't already written by the Republican minority.
  • Independent
    Tennessee
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    Secure all of our borders FIRST. The border is NOT secure. Go look. I have. Hundreds of miles of NOTHING! Nothing to stop ANYONE. If that is secure, then you could drink the whole ocean with no ill effects.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    I must respectfully disagree with you. The southern border is the most secure it has ever been. That is a fact. Just because you don't believe it is so doesn't make it that way.

    If you want to have a discussion about the northern border not being "secure," then I would be happy to have that with you. We often seem to forget that most illegal immigration happens from our porous northern border. I encourage you to do some research of actual studies and not listen to what right wing talk radio and television tells you.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Jared -- I agree with you. The border is more secure than ever. Can it ever be 100 percent secure? No. Not without spending billions and billions more. While some kind of deal might be worked out in the Senate, I am doubtful that the misguided Tea Party types in the House will ever go along. The Economist has a good article discussing border security this month:

    The Economist, June 22, 2013: Secure Enough

    Spending billions more on fences and drones will do more harm than good

    In 2007 when Congress last tackled immigration reform, 15,000 Border Patrol agents patrolled the border. That number has increased to 21,000 today and it is augmented by ten predator drones, tower-mounted cameras over the deserts and ground sensors monitoring land movements. The think tank, the Migration Policy Institute, estimates border enforcement costs at $18 billion a year, "more than all other federal criminal-law-enforcement agencies combined."

    And Republicans are asking for even more spending? It's absolutely insane. They are paranoic. There are a lot better ways to spend our tax payer dollars.

    The Economist also cites the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report recently released on June 18th. The report forecasts that "the Senate immigration bill would reduce the federal budget deficit by $197 billion over the next decade and $700 billion over the decade after that. By bringing illegal workers into the mainstream and allowing more visas for newcomers, both skilled and unskilled, it would raise American output and productivity. The CBO predicts that the economy would be 5.4% bigger in 2033 because of the bill, and that average wages would be slightly higher."

    That kind of definitive analysis is rejected or ignored by those seeking to scuttle the bill.

    The Economist has included in their article charts of illegal border crossings since 1999 and border enforcement since 1927. It is worth reading the entire article at the above link.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    That's pure insanity.

    Meanwhile, white collar crime does way more economic damage than illegal immigration, and we only have 2400 FBI agents working on white collar crimes cases and they are supposed to cover 1300 industries.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I like it when various Senators proclaimed that the 700 mile fence will be part of any immigration reform bill, only problem is that the the fence was already authorized back in "06" and then only 7 miles of it has been built. This is all a dog and pony show for only those interested in Immigration Reform, more border Agents, sure, until the first round of Budget cuts comes around, I didn't hear much about Employers being penalized for hiring these low wage workers, although they claim this is necessary to keep costs to the consumer down but we know it's just to secure a larger profit margin for them. The cheapest labor is in third world countries and their products are not all that cheap, so yes, I believe this all a show, not as elaborate as a Las Vegas Revue, but a show none then less.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Jared -- I agree with you. The border is more secure than ever. Can it ever be 100 percent secure? No. Not without spending billions and billions more. While some kind of deal might be worked out in the Senate, I am doubtful that the misguided Tea Party types in the House will ever go along. The Economist has a good article discussing border security this month:

    The Economist, June 22, 2013: Secure Enough

    Spending billions more on fences and drones will do more harm than good

    In 2007 when Congress last tackled immigration reform, 15,000 Border Patrol agents patrolled the border. That number has increased to 21,000 today and it is augmented by ten predator drones, tower-mounted cameras over the deserts and ground sensors monitoring land movements. The think tank, the Migration Policy Institute, estimates border enforcement costs at $18 billion a year, "more than all other federal criminal-law-enforcement agencies combined."

    And Republicans are asking for even more spending? It's absolutely insane. They are paranoic. There are a lot better ways to spend our tax payer dollars.

    The Economist also cites the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report recently released on June 18th. The report forecasts that "the Senate immigration bill would reduce the federal budget deficit by $197 billion over the next decade and $700 billion over the decade after that. By bringing illegal workers into the mainstream and allowing more visas for newcomers, both skilled and unskilled, it would raise American output and productivity. The CBO predicts that the economy would be 5.4% bigger in 2033 because of the bill, and that average wages would be slightly higher."

    That kind of definitive analysis is rejected or ignored by those seeking to scuttle the bill.

    The Economist has included in their article charts of illegal border crossings since 1999 and border enforcement since 1927. It is worth reading the entire article at the above link.
    "Schmidt" you are right; again the "brains" are absent in this country. Immigration, whatever you may call it, will continue with or without borders.
    Worldwide it is the same all over; when I was a kid in The Netherlands only Dutchies used to live there; nowadays there are just about more foreigners than Dutchies; Russians, Polish, Moroccans, Turks you name it. The same applies here, why? Times have changed because of the world economy; so migration of people just because of the "have" and have not's" is the whole new order. Certain countries like the Swiss one, have a very strict control and works fine, regardless if their borders which are not that much protected. Whatever fences etc. nothing is going to stop this process, as long as we pay for a worker in Bangla Desh 2 cents an hour or a fruit picker in FL the minimum wage which is fortune for what they get elsewhere. So this whole immigration "bill" is hogwash and about as effective as our fantastic gun laws.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    johnnycee Wrote: I like it when various Senators proclaimed that the 700 mile fence will be part of any immigration reform bill, only problem is that the the fence was already authorized back in "06" and then only 7 miles of it has been built. This is all a dog and pony show for only those interested in Immigration Reform, more border Agents, sure, until the first round of Budget cuts comes around, I didn't hear much about Employers being penalized for hiring these low wage workers, although they claim this is necessary to keep costs to the consumer down but we know it's just to secure a larger profit margin for them. The cheapest labor is in third world countries and their products are not all that cheap, so yes, I believe this all a show, not as elaborate as a Las Vegas Revue, but a show none then less.
    You definitely hit one big point on the head. I truly think that big business is terrified of this bill becoming law because they will eventually have to pay more than $2.00 an hour to the newly legalized immigrants. With a green card comes certain rights and they wouldn't be able to exploit these workers nearly as much if they are legal residents of the United States. They want to make sure that it is as difficult as possible for these individuals to obtain any type of legal status.

    With regards to the fence, I would respectfully disagree with you. Even in this day of budget cuts, the agency has over a 5 billion a year budget and that's just what we know of. We have not only built a physical fence along a vast majority of the southern border, we have also spent billions of dollars on invisible fences, drones, personnel, etc.

    I can't help but point out the true irony of what we proclaim to be as a country and what we have become.

    "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
  • Independent
    New Hampshire
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    I hope a few of you read the post in which I spoke of the Republican's to attract the votes of minorities. Immigration may be the battleground.
    The Republicans have a poor record on agreeing on programs behind closed doors and voting for them later. They also like to use stalling tactics as they have done often for the approval of appointees.
    a programming software existed in the 60s and 70s under various names: Basic, single user basic, GW Basic and basica. It was great, the easiest software I've ever seen as you programed as you think. A process existed which was called "if then" While reading a report of the great progress being made with the immigration bill two things came to mind:
    1. A attempt being made by the Republicans to shift credit to themselves for the bill being passed
    2. Conditions being included to minimize the effect of the bill. If Ten. It appears that requirements will have to be met for the implementation of immigration reform. If "borders are secured to a predefined state" Then "Phase 1 is instituted" If "borders are not secured to the predefined state" Then "Phase 1 is not applied".
    The only question is whether they can delay things until after the next election.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Back in "06" the fence was meant to a physical fence I don't recall any conversations in regards to a invisible fence, there was and still is a lot of debate on whether or not a fence is viable because of the cost effectiveness of building it and maintaining it, so what was happening was the illegals were merely going a few miles out there way to get around the 7 mile stretch of fence, then with the downsizing of the Border Patrol's budget, all the illegals had to do was to get a big ladder to go over the fence, then they started to punch actual holes in the fence to gain entry, the decrease in the illegal traffic is mainly because of the poor economy here, and your right ,the largest concentration of Mexicans outside of California is in Chicago, I don't think they swam upriver.
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    I remember the Republicans coming out with all sorts of designs for the Southern Border with one design wanting to use an electrified fence and another suggesting a moat with alligators in it. Today it appears America does have an improved fence and it's patrolled where saner minds prevailed over electrical fences and alligators. However, to those with a urgent desire to cross the border there is never a fence high enough and patrolled adequately to catch crossings. Someday, a Mexican official will speak to a large audience and say to the American president, " tear this wall down". It will come one day where politicians on both sides will have clearer minds and make whatever agreements should be made to appease both countries. For the present moment, we have endure the ignorance of a two party system that don't know how to negotiate or make sense of their decisions. For many politicians, I can say they don't have the common sense that God gave a fence post.

    Everything I hearing from the media and news networks show their are continuing improvements on securing the southern border, but what about the northern border and our ports on the east and west. Immigrants are coming in on three fronts and all the interest is on the southern border. It doesn't make sense and appears to be an agenda of racial issue on the Hispanic and Latin populations. The real problems are not immigration, but drugs and crime coming across the border. There are real threats coming into the country and the most dangerous are more likely coming in from the North, East and west.

    The politics that are against immigration are hurting America because the common immigrant that wants a job and freedom with benefits and protection for his/her family merits immigration toward becoming American citizens. I ask them to come because there are many jobs that our current citizens will not do. Let them in. We can all become Reganites and say "Tear this wall down", and "let them in". Fight the real battles on the borders, the drugs, contraband and criminal elements.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    AmcmurryFreedom --

    I agree with you. The additional measures being amended to the proposed law to enhance border security are a waste of taxpayers money. It's nothing more than another gimmick to force unrealistic measures that have little to do with the real problem. And for many politicians like Michele Bachmann, there is no immigration bill that they could ever endorse:

    Politicus USA, June 14, 2013: Michele Bachmann Warns Immigration Bill Puts Republic at Stake

    Quoting Michele Bachmann interviewed at the World Net Daily:

    “The Senate is going to pass a very bad bill. The House will pass what will sound like a pretty good bill. But I’m just here to tell you, it’s a Trojan horse.”

    “I’m just telling WND viewers that if you sit this one out and you don’t start hitting the phone lines and email, calling and visiting your representatives now and saying, ‘No amnesty now, no amnesty ever,’ we’re going to have perpetual amnesty for illegal immigration.”

    “This is President Obama’s number one political agenda item because he knows we will never again have a Republican president, ever, if amnesty goes into effect. We will perpetually have a progressive, liberal president, probably a Democrat, and we will probably see the House of Representatives go into Democrat hands and the Senate will stay in Democrat hands.”


    So for Michele Bachmann and others like her it is not about fairness...it's all about retaining power by people who do not represent the views of the majority of Americans. She is fear mongering to her base. She also mistakenly assumes that Latinos will automatically vote Democratic in large numbers. George Bush received 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2004...before the Republican Party was taken over by the Tea Party types that don't trust our government and fear anyone that is "the other"...or "not one of us" to use a term voiced by Scott Walker to the fake David Koch.
  • Other Party
    Tennessee
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    Nothing to worry about. It's up to Homeland Security to implement any or all provisions of the Corker amendment ...It won't be done.
  • Democrat
    Massachusetts
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    I think this whole issue has gone off the rails. The idea that immigration should be addressed through any kind of border security is ridiculous. Why are people coming here illegally? While there are exceptions, the vast majority fall into one specific category. They aren't escaping political or religious persecution. They aren't fleeing a seven-year drought. They're here for one reason: Money. To earn money. There are only two effective means of addressing that motivation (assuming your intent is truly to "stop" or "curtail" illegal immigration, as many of the most vocal folks are claiming as their preference): Either invest in the place they're coming from to make it more profitable for them to "stay home" (and I can readily understand the antipathy some folks may have for that approach), or make this place no longer a good place for them to try to earn money. The latter would be readily possible with new regulations concerning transparency and auditable reporting of all business transactions, including that of privately-held businesses. The magic bullet here is transparency: Making sure every dollar is "spent" honestly and is transferred from a legitimate taxpayer to a legitimate taxpayer. What do those who are most vigorously opposed to illegal immigrants have against transparency? What are they trying to hide?