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Morning Bell: An Appetite for Real Immigration Reform
Posted By Rory Cooper On April 30, 2010 @ 9:40 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled
In a very rare visit to the press cabin of Air Force One yesterday, President Barack Obama told reporters that the White House will not be leading any immigration reform efforts in 2010. Obama said : “…I’ve been working Congress pretty hard. So I know, there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue.” Obama went on to assert that energy taxes  were a higher priority, and that the election in November would make tackling immigration tough.
Apparently, Majority Leader Harry Reid didn’t heed the President’s advice. Several hours later, Reid, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and their colleagues from the left introduced an immigration reform framework  that on the surface is identical to the legislation America rejected in 2007. When you dig down, it may be worse.
Of course, once introduced, President Obama issued a statement that his administration would take “an active role ” toward ironing out the details. This confusing flip-flopping from the White House is indicative of how the administration has treated border security and immigration reform since taking office. Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed saying : “If there is going to be any movement in this regard, it will require presidential leadership.”
Effective reforms can be done in a responsible and deliberate manner through discrete steps rather than another bloated bill that hides from the American people what Washington is trying to do to gain even more power and authority over its citizens. What is required is a step-by-step approach,  not an ill-conceived “framework” disguised as “comprehensive” reform.
An appropriate solution  would reject amnesty; apply appropriate security to the border; work as a partner with Mexico in helping them address economic and civil society reform and combating transnational crime; enforce workplace and immigration laws in partnership with state and local governments; pilot effective temporary worker programs that help employers get the employees they need to help grow the economy; and reform our visa, immigration and citizenship services.
The Reid-Schumer plan  does not accomplish these goals. Their proposal adds a lot more government and bureaucracy (and government spending) while doing little to actually ensure over the long-term the sovereignty, security and prosperity of the nation. It is another example of government taking the short term view of long-term problems.
The Reid-Schumer framework puts an emphasis on amnesty , with empty promises of border security. Granting amnesty, access to welfare and government benefits and citizenship to all who claim they were in the United States at time of enactment of this proposal could cover 11 to 15 million people and overwhelm our borders with people looking to take part. And forgiving such violations would increase the likelihood that these laws be violated again. When you throw in family members, the total number of those eligible for citizenship through amnesty could then be 17 to 22 million individuals.
While Senate Democrats pay lip service to border security, this proposal lacks meaningful metrics for determining “when” the border is secure. It relies on an unelected commission to determine whether we are safe and secure.
And maybe most troubling is the call for a biometric national id card , thinly disguised as a more robust Social Security card. Reid and Schumer are ignoring many legitimate on-going or proposed efforts including E-Verify , Social Security no-match verification and information sharing, and REAL ID in favor of an expansive and expensive program of questionable value as an appropriate enforcement tool.
There are better alternatives :
We are a nation of immigrants. The Statue of Liberty stands as a testament to our desire to create an environment welcoming to all men and women who yearn for freedom and prosperity. We are a self selected class of people who see greater opportunity available through smaller government, economic freedom, religious and social tolerance and a shared responsibility of security and safety. It is no surprise that people from other nations would yearn for what we may sometimes take for granted. Reforming our broken immigration system should not set aside these aspirations, but embrace them.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/04/30/morning-bell-an-appetite-for-real-immigration-reform/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/Statue-of-Liberty-10-4-30.jpg
 Obama said: http://www.examiner.com/x-9270-LA-Border-and-Immigration-Examiner~y2010m4d29-Obama-Congress-may-not-have-appetite-for-immigration-reform
 energy taxes: http://www.foundry.org/category/energy-and-environment/
 introduced an immigration reform framework: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/30/us/politics/30immig.html
 an active role: http://whitehouse.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/04/29/obama-praises-senate-proposal-on-immigration-pledges-administration-will-play-active-role/
 Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed saying: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/29/AR2010042904512.html
 step-by-step approach,: http://www.heritage.org/Issues/Immigration
 Reid-Schumer plan: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126407156
 an emphasis on amnesty: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/03/time-to-stop-the-rush-for-amnesty-immigration-reform
 including E-Verify: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Commentary/2009/09/Congress-Should-Stop-Playing-Politics-with-E-Verify
 better alternatives: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2007/05/Where-We-Stand-Essential-Requirements-for-Immigration-Reform
 an economic impact: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2007/06/Amnesty-Will-Cost-US-Taxpayers-at-Least-26-Trillion
 national security: http://www.foundry.org/2008/12/18/morning-bell-fixing-border-security/
 constitute a lie to the American people: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36592.html
 they’ve only paid back 10%: http://www.foundry.org/2010/04/23/a-full-10-of-general-motors-bailout-paid-back/
 worst provisions remain in the legislation: http://dailycaller.com/2010/04/30/a-raw-deal-for-republicans-on-financial-regulatory-reform/
 big ticket Wall Street fundraisers: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=4A5187E9-18FE-70B2-A877705DAD90359E
 Puerto Rico to vote: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/29/AR2010042904727_pf.html
 Appeals Court Judge Sidney Thomas: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVIF9OnrgW2kTS53D8szV4l9GLewD9FD95U00
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