Congress Debates Immigration Bill
Posted by shadmia on May 22, 2007
The Senate has agreed to take up the Immigration Bill and will debate the pros and cons for about two weeks. The bill is a bipartisan effort to come up with a comprehensive approach to the problem of illegal immigrants currently residing and working in the US. There are five major areas that are addressed by this legislation:
- Current Illegal Immigrants
- Border Security
- Workplace Enforcement
- Guest Workers
- Future Immigrants
The Bill provides for a path to citizenship for the more than 12 million illegals thought to be currently in the US and provides for better border security. However it is a complicated piece of legislation that has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans alike. One of the major complaints has been the rushed manner in which the bill has been introduced to the Senate. Many have not had time to actually read the 300 plus page “draft” version. The final “finished” version is expected to run almost 1,000 pages. Another complaint is that because the bill was rushed, there was no time to do a “fiscal analysis” so that the real cost of the bill remains unknown.
Many see the Bill as nothing more than amnesty for the 12 million illegals. This is because the plan is to issue “Z” visas to all illegal immigrants allowing them to work and stay in the US legally. This new class of visa would be available to any illegal residing in the country before Jan. 1 2007.
Others see problems with the guest worker provision that de-emphasizes the role of family re-unification in favor of a merit-based system that gives points for things such as education and work skills. According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada: “The bill impacts families in a number of ways that I believe are unwise.”
However Reid said the bill is a good starting point and shows an encouraging spirit of bipartisanship. “If we can continue along that road in the coming days, I am confident that we can write another chapter in America’s great immigration story that makes our country safer, treats people with dignity and keeps our economy moving strong,” he said.