On May 17, 2007, an agreement reached between Democrats and Republicans regarding immigration reform has changed nothing about the underlying politics behind immigration reform and is likely to meet a similar fate as the bill proposed last year. In fact, this time around some of the biggest players have less incentive to cut tough deals with the presidential election approaching, and with Congress locked in battle with the White House over Iraq.

According to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, this latest overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws backed by GOP primary rivals Senators John McCain, (R-Ariz), Ted Kennedy, (D-Mass), and President Bush — focuses on the creation of the so-called Z visa. “I don’t know whether the conferees in this discussion realize that we are authorizing a new visa class, the Z visa which would say to everybody who’s here illegally that they can stay indefinitely,” amounting to a form of amnesty. In fact it would give people who are here illegally a very substantial advantage over those who’ve been standing in line in their home country.

Additionally, James Rowley from Bloomberg’s reports that the top 2008 Democratic hopefuls state that,: Senator Barack Obama, (D-Ill.), he is “still concerned;” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, (D-N.Y.), she is “worried about the creation of a new underclass”; and former Senator John Edwards, (D-N.C.), he doesn’t like the “poorly conceived guest worker program” suggesting that none of them are comfortable with the reform. Given that, Senator Ted Kennedy, (D-Mass), “may have a tougher time selling the plan to fellow Democrats than to Republicans” forcing Bush to deliver 60 or 70 Republican votes in the House for the compromise to have a chance and I personally don’t think he has that kind of juice any more.

To make the immigration reform viable, Los Angeles Times reporter, Richard Simon states: “In any job program, the bill should contain the following restrictions:

If a U.S. employer wants to hire Mexicans, the employer must:

  1. advertise for them in Mexico
  2. NOT pay less than minimum wage
  3. must assign the job to the prospect before the prospect can come to the U.S.
  4. pay all benefits to the Mexican employee that he would pay to an American employee including
    1. Income Tax
    2. Medicare
    3. Health Benefits with no decreased benefits for lower paid employees.”

Overall, I think that this new agreement means America will suffer from overcrowded classrooms and emergency rooms and experience overwhelmed police and fire departments. I also think that it could hasten the insolvency of the Social Security System, Medicare and welfare programs, as well as, cause taxes to skyrocket. It’s a gloomy scenario that could become reality and according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation “It is the most expensive public policy choice seen in Washington in a quarter-century” since you’re essentially granting illegal immigrants eligibility to Social Security, to Medicare, to other welfare programs for the elderly like Medicaid.

So, while acknowledging that many of the illegal immigrants currently in our country are viable members and fulfill a real need the strain on some services is already being felt. The Texas Hospital Association alone reported a 30 percent increase in emergency room visits between 1997 and 2005, partly due to the flood of illegal immigrants, many of whom have no health insurance and are unable to pay for services.

The problem is multifaceted, however, with compassion favoring dealing gently with illegal immigrants but common sense pushing for a crackdown on the same. This is seen in an ABC/Post poll that found that three-quarters of Americans say the United States is not doing enough to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. Additional opposition comes from seventy-four percent who support the idea of sending the National Guard to patrol the border with Mexico, a suggestion which President Bush proposed in a national address just a few days ago.

One must also note that the current reform proposal doesn’t play fair when there are millions of people around the world with skills and experience that would contribute to our way of life and are told no because the 12 million illegal immigrants, many without any marketable skills, get to stay. However, my major concern is our supposed war on terrorism and the need to protect ourselves from those who desire to harm the American citizenry. How can we determine who should be deported or not allowed to enter if every one here on expired visas like the terrorists who were behind 9/11 are granted amnesty? It seems crazy to me to even consider the possibility of granting potential terrorists, killers, rapists, gangsters, etc. amnesty if our desire is to protect our sovereign republic from those in the world who wish to harm us.

[tags]Immigration Reform, Ted Kennedy, Taxes, Illegal Immigration, Z visas, Border Patrols, Obama, Clinton, Bush, Edwards, amnesty, terrorists, Social Security, Medicare, Overcrowded Classrooms, overwhelmed Emergency Rooms, current events[/tags]