Senate Delays and Presidential Politics

Senators agreed yesterday to put off the floor debate regarding the Judiciary Committee's bill on comprehensive immigration reform. Debate is now set to begin late Wednesday or Thursday; in the meantime, senators will attempt to reach compromises behind the scenes on some of the more controversial pieces of the bill, including guest worker provisions.

How big a role does presidential politics play in all this? That aspect of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's immigration legislation might have been overemphasized, especially where Frist's proposal is depicted as a competitor to the Judiciary Committee bill.

If Frist did decide to treat his bill as a competitor to the one agreed upon by most members of the Judiciary Committee on Monday, he would be violating the understanding he has with them -- that his bill would be replaced (through an amendment) with the more comprehensive committee legislation when it was sent to the floor.

As leader, Frist has the power to move bills right onto the Senate floor without going through the committee process, putting him in the unique position of being able to exert pressure by offering alternative legislation, as he did in this case. The San Francisco Chronicle editorializes that Frist should not have put a deadline on the Judiciary Committee to wrap up its work reconciling the various immigration reform proposals. On the other hand, without some pressure, who knows when a substantive immigration bill might have finally emerged from the committee?

Debaters, do you think the members have worked as hard as they did on Monday to face the controversial issues and reach bipartisan solutions? Do you worry they came to hasty resolutions because of the strict deadline? What factors should senators consider as they debate immigration legislation?

By Emily Messner |  March 29, 2006; 9:10 AM ET  | Category:  National Politics
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Posted by: che | March 29, 2006 09:37 AM

Frankly it is a tough political situation for all involved and I am certain that most would rather avoid it all together.

I say bring on a bill and let the voters react to their respective representative's position.

Posted by: Will | March 29, 2006 10:20 AM

I think that bi-partisan representatives should consider how to get all the protesters of the past days together, take them to Mexico, and have them hold marches in their own country to push for economic and legislative action for improving conditions so they can stay in their own country.

Posted by: Elizabeth C. Kincaid | March 29, 2006 10:35 AM

Emily, on your colleague, Chris Cillizza's blog "The Fix", he points out that the polls seem to indicate that immigration is not the hot button issue among the electorate that is being portrayed by Congress, the Administration and the media. So, quite naturally, how all of a sudden, has it been elevated to the fore in the face of so much compelling news this week--the explosive memo covered in the NYT yesterday concerning Bush and Blair discussing how to provoke a war with Iraq by camoflauging US Military aircraft with UN colors, and even the possible assassination of Sadaam Hussein; the hearing in the Senate yesterday where the FISA panel of judges made clear their opposition to Bush claiming executive powers that go beyond those Constitutionally authorized; the growing sectarian violence in Iraq; and the murmurs coming out of the Special Counsel's investigation into the Plame leak that indictments of high level administration officials are imminent.

Why all of a sudden is the House pushing forward a bill that virtually guaranteed the typwe of massive demonstrations we have seen around the country on the part of Latinos? Why is the media--including you and other blogs--falling dutifully into this "all immigration all the time" mode to the exclusion of far more pressing stories?

I am no conspiracist. But I know just how clever Bush and the republicans are at elevating divisive issues to the fore when they want to distract from their own collossaly failed agenda. One would hope that we won't spend the rest of the spring and summer and fall on this one divisive issue when there are so many equally or more important issues looming.

One other story that has escaped scrutiny: Bush is now trying to handpick the next President of Iraq. He has made clear to the Shiites that he does not want Jafari to continue to lead Iraq.

Posted by: Jaxas | March 29, 2006 11:13 AM

Pop Quiz

1. In the past decade, which of the following countries have killed more Americans?
a. Iraq
b. Iran
c. North Korea
d. Mexico

2. Which has cost American taxpayers more over the past 5 years?
a. The Iraq War
b. The Net Cost of Illegal Immigration

3. If English as a Second Language (ESL) students cost 1.5 times the amount of an English speaking student and illegal immigrant mothers average 1.5 times the number of children of US citizens (3 vs 2), how much more will an illegal immigrant household cost the taxpayers to educate their children? Assume $10,000 annual cost per pupil.

4. If Congress and the President grant guest worker amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants in the US, allowing them to "come out of the shadows" to "do jobs that Americans don't want to without fear of deportation" and be "on a path to citizenship," how will that impact illegal immigration in the future?
a. Decrease illegal immigration
b. Remain the Same (1.1 million annually)
c. Increase illegal immigration

5. President Bush and Congress were elected to serve:
a. The 121 million who voted in the 2004 elections
b. The 290 million US Citizens
c. The 12 million illegal aliens in the US

http://stoptheinvasion.blogspot.com/

Posted by: VA Patriot | March 29, 2006 12:19 PM

Jaxas -

If you think any issue is a "distraction" from Iraq partisan tunnel vision, you are mistaken. Believe it or not, the world goes on outside Iraq, and critical issues are not being handled with the proper expediency and urgency, or not even handled at all in DC. Pocketbook issues. Livelihood and Future of America issues. Major ones, scary ones - both parties have failed to address so far. Not only is America sick of the Iraq partisanship, it is sick of both Party's failure to look to our future.

2300 dead or whatever the Lefties wail about, are absolutely trivial and pissant casualty totals compared to other US wars fought over 4 years. Yeah, every life is precious, yeah, even Lefties mourn troops casualties even if their sincerity is questionable...but even with war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush is losing soldiers to death from all causes at 5187 a year. Jimmy Carter's rate in his accident, training mishap, and suicide prone military was 9,568 a year. (Clinton averaged 4302 a year). (FDR in his last 4 years averaged 110,000 a year, and lived in a country with less than half the people we have now)

After 4 years, America IMO. is sick of the latest "smoking document" the Left dredges up "proving" Bush lied! Bush lied! Brown babies died!!!!

For years, the screams about the immigration crisis have been blown off by the elites in both parties. But, coupled with a 450 billion annual debt, a 820 billion annual trade debt, a swarm of H1-B Visas coming in to take the "high-tech, high value jobs" both parties said was the American workers future, the hollowing out of America of the best-paying jobs in manufacturing - which is killing many towns and cities........job insecurity from global labor slave market bidding...

America has seen globalization, free trade. It is now in High Discontent.

This hit Latin America already and has been driving the countries there sharply nationalistic, and sharply to the Left.

Immigration is just one of several issues the ruling elites have blown off the people on for 25-40 years. Failure of US public schools compared to European and Asian ones run at 1/2 the cost is another. Concentration of wealth is another.

The problem is not "too little attention on Iraq", Jaxas.

It is 40 years of buildup in the immigration mess that the NYC Jews like Emmanuel Cellar, Bella Abzug and Catholics like Teddy Kennedy and Cardinal Cushing brought on us that people were afraid to go near on PC grounds until the mass invasion became too great to be ignored.

If you think "One would hope that we won't spend the rest of the spring and summer and fall on this one divisive issue when there are so many equally or more important issues looming.".............wait until we are forced to look at us spending 15% of our GNP on medical care when the full health care Euros, Canadians, and Asians spend a max of 9% (while we have 50 million uninsured)...or we have a collapse in the dollar as it is abandoned as the reserve currency for the Euro when our debtor nation status or China squeezing our balls finally happens.

Valerie Plame? No one cares outside the media elite and a small band of partisans.

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 29, 2006 12:21 PM

Jaxas-

You bring up good points. Bush and the senators get to look compassionate and kind to the Latino voter, while the congressman get to do the dirty work of actually representing the people's will. Meanwhile, no-one's paying attention to the Iraq fiasco or Bush's refusal to obey the law. Perhaps Karl Rove is not as exhausted as we thought after five years in the White House. The promotion of Bolten has Rove written all over it.

Posted by: wiccan | March 29, 2006 12:22 PM

The following are three examples following the logic (or lack thereof) of our illegal immigration policies and applying it to other aspects of society.

Wet-Foot/Dry-Foot
If a Cuban refugee tries to come to America via boat and the US Coast Guard stops them while in route, they are sent back to Cuba. Yet if they are able to reach US soil (dry foot), they are allowed to stay in the US and apply for citizenship.

Following that logic, if a car thief is pulled over by the police during his getaway, he is arrested and sent to prison. Yet if the thief is able to make it to the chop shop before getting caught, no charges will be brought against him and he can even qualify for a tax deduction on the car!

Day Laborer Sites
Cities from Los Angeles to Herndon, VA have day laborers flocking to 7 Elevens and Home Depots in search of work, yet often harass women, urinate in public, and become public nuisances. Local officials have used taxpayers' money to build day laborer sites to keep them off the streets and facilitate their employment (even if it is illegal to hire illegal aliens).

Following that logic, if prostitution becomes a problem in Herndon, and ladies of the night flock to every major street corner, will the Mayor and town council build brothels to keep them off the streets?

Amnesty/Guest Worker Programs
The Senate and President are hammering out plans to grant over 12 million illegal aliens amnesty or a more PC term, guest worker program. They do jobs Americans don't want to, big business needs them, and we can't realistically deport all 12 million of them.

Following that logic, if the Senate wants to get tough on the drug problem in America, all known drug dealers already operating in the US will be granted amnesty, and allowed to continue to sell drugs so long as they get a drug dealer ID card. But that's it, we mean it! The next person that tries to sell drugs on our streets will be severely punished!

Mass illegal immigration is clearly the #1 threat to the future of the United States. More than terrorism, national debt, or hurricanes combined. Opposing mass illegal immigration is not being racist or anti-immigrant. Leaders from both parties in the Senate (when not calling each other names) are debating how much amnesty to grant the 12 million illegal aliens in the country. All these proposed bills will not only legalize 12 million people who broke our laws, but incentivize millions more to come here in hopes of a better life. We cannot afford to assume this burden any longer. Mass illegal immigration has cost the US more in the past five years than the Iraq war. The US population will double this century, solely because of mass illegal immigration.

We must demand from Congress: Enforcement first! No amnesty! No guest worker program!

http://stoptheinvasion.blogspot.com/

Posted by: VA Patriot | March 29, 2006 12:23 PM

Va Patriot-

If you're waiting for Congress to piss off their corporate sponsors by denying them their source of cheap labor, I got news for you. Better get used to it, in ten years we're going to be the United States of Mexico.

Posted by: wiccan | March 29, 2006 12:31 PM

Emily,
It has been said multiple time both here in the blogs, and on the different news networks, that no Immigration Bill should be passed until the borders are effectively sealed shut. The current laws need to be enforced. Also many of us realize that the plan to allow guest workers is strictly for big business, because there is no job that an American won't do if the money is right. This guest worker bill is just another handout to big business so members of both houses can say that they addressed the issue of the illegals in this country. Where the actual truth is they just gave big business over 11 million slave laborers, and americans depressed wages so that americans can not earn a living wage. Lawmakers in turn increased the profit margin for these big businesses ensuring that their coffers and pockets will be rewarded by big business through the soft money distributed by the K Street Lobbying firms. As it was reported in the WP today congress voted down any outside oversite there by ensuring that their flow of soft money would continue without any interruptions.

The statistics as long as you compare apples to apples show that the illegals use up far more in services and government programs that what they contribute in taxes, as most do not pay state or federal income tax, or social security. They do put a strain on health care, there by driving up the cost to everyone else. Their children are enrolled in public schools, using up valuable resources that are paid by taxpayer dollars for extra teachers and staff that need to be Bi-Lingual, and use up resources such as the free lunch programs. Their younger children are enrolled in pre-school programs there by crowding out other children of americans and legal immigrants.They tend to move in to areas and bring crime with them requiring additional police also they must be bi-lingual.Because of their numbers they take up all of the lower rent houses and apartments there by displacing less educated americans. They depress wages because they will work for a considerably lower wage than americans, there by displacing american workers. They have shown a dispensity to not want to assimulate into our society, because of their sheer numbers they feel they don't have to. As they continue to breed like cockroaches, and our antiquated laws continue giving citizenship to anyone born on american soil. Therefore guaranteeing that even with a guest worker program that they won't leave when their time is up, because their kids are now american citizens.

There should 3 things done and the illegal problem would be solved.

First; Pass an immigration bill that inposes madatory jail time along with hefty fines for any employer that hires illegals and that is all the bill should entail.

Second; Increase enforcement of the new immigration bill! Start throwing these employers in jail and fining them for violating the law.

Third; Pass a constitional amendment changing the automatic granting of american citizenship to anyone born on american soil. Make it so if you are not here legally that just because you have a kid on american soil they are still considered a citizen of the parents country. There by if you are an illegal so is any kid you pop out no matter what.

But do you know what our lawmakers are going to come up with. I do!!! They are going to make what is now illegals, legal, so they can apease big business and keep there supply of cheap labor right here. They will put on a dog and pony show about border enforcement, so they can say they did something to curb the influx of illegals to try to show their constituents back home that they did something for them to stop the flood of illegals into our country. You see our congress is addicted to all that free soft money that they get handed by the special interest lobbying groups. They either don't realize or don't care that they are destroying our economy, placing a burden on the limited resources, they can not handle the added burden. There by taking away what little is available now for the un/under educated americans. Placing an undue burden on affordable housing, jobs, and limited community and social services. They don't care so long as that flow of free money keeps rolling in and so long as it doesn't effect them. That's what they will end up doing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Lab Rat | March 29, 2006 12:35 PM

As we debate the issue of immigration, I am puzzled why it's a no-no to use the term illegal immigrant. We're told to say undocumented immigrant or undocumented worker. If someone isn't in this country legally, he or she is here illegally. Would you say that someone who breaks into homes is an undocumented resident?

Posted by: Valady | March 29, 2006 12:53 PM

Seeing the general tone of this particular debate, I am loathe to answer this question, but Valady brings up a good point.

Undocumented vs. Illegal

Crossing the border and coming into the U.S. is not a crime. There is no criminal charges filed against such a person. They are not held in jail (unless they are waiting in a deportation center for enough of their countrymen to be sent home with. They are not charged with any crime in a federal or state court. So it isn't illegal per-se. They simply came into the U.S. without documentation.

This is basically what would happen to you if you missplaced your passport on the way to another country. They would put you on a plane and send you back home. Assuming you have a passport and are allowed to travel to the country in question, you could make the same flight tomorrow.

The one difference with Mexico is that if you do not have a valid Visa, because this type of immigration is so rampant, you are supposedly put on a ten year black list for future illegal immigration to the U.S.

So undocumented is a more accurate choice of words, because it more accurately reflects the legal predicament that this person is in.

I will remind you very humbly that laws against this type of immigration have only been on the books since 1925 and only actively enforced since 1965. So we are talking about a very short period of history.

Posted by: Greydawg | March 29, 2006 01:01 PM

Very true, Valady. If any of the supporters of these "undocumented" immigrants has been forthright that they are in our country illegally, I have yet to hear it. Maybe it's childish, but I get very angry that I am expected to obey the law, but if I demand that these immigrants obey the law, I'm a racist xenophobe.

Posted by: wiccan | March 29, 2006 01:02 PM

You all -- Valady and Wiccan -- are making the same points you here on the (English)talk radio stations out here in LA. I'm no racist. I'm 100% for immigration -- of skilled and unskilled people -- so long as it's done legally. Get in line with everyone else who wants to come to the United States.

The simple fact is that the largest population of illegal aliens (yes, I use the term, and no, I won't stop using it) is from Mexico and Central America. The majority of those people are Latino. Those are simple facts, not racist statements. As I've said before, I don't care if the illegal immigrant is brown, white, or green with antennae; they're acting unlawfully by crossing the border without authorization. They don't belong here. We can't take anymore.

I'm not so unrealistic as to think we can deport all 11 million (and I'd bet that estimate is low) illegals. But we certainly need to stop more from coming. Declaring amnesty -- whether it's called that or something else -- will only make more come.

Posted by: Deanna | March 29, 2006 01:11 PM

I understand everyone's unwillingness to accept amnesty, after all everyone bought it in '86 and it didn't work. But assuming that Deanna is right, and we can't just deport 11 million people, what is the most viable option for the 8-12 million undocumented immigrants in the US?

Posted by: Greydawg | March 29, 2006 01:13 PM

Chris,
I had to give your right wing bush loving ass any credit but I have to give you this, you did bring up some good points, but you have the overall picture wrong. I know that the right wing eletists and the holier than thou conservitive base can't get past their hate for Bill Clinton, but here is the real truth that neither you nor the rest of the republicans can dispute. The only 2 mistakes Clinton were guilty of were signing NAFTA and lying about a damn blow job. During his 8 years in office he balanced the budget, was paying down the national debt and not using cooked numbers as this administration does. The economy was strong, everyone including republicans made money. People were raising themselves out of poverty. We would have had the start of a national health care policy except the Republicans did their normal thing, use scare tactics to frighten the uninformed public by saying we would lose out on health care because we would be waiting months for a simple surgical procedure. In the last 5 years under a republican lead congress and president. the debt ceiling has doubled, we are in a war that was spoon fed to the american people by someone who was intent on invading Iraq no matter what, even if he had to twist the intelligence to do it. Given more government hand outs to big business than any previous administration. Exported more jobs overseas, allowed the influx of an unsustainable population of illegal imigrants, increased the amount of people in poverty, given the biggest tax cut to the wealthiest 1% of the population in history, bankrupting this country, illegally spying on the general population, while lying to them the whole time about the illegal war he tricked them into, and using psyc-ops to prey on their fear of another terrorist strike. Just so he and the rest of the republican eletists can divide this country, and finish bleeding it dry. I am suprised that this country hasn't broken out in cival war as of yet, as we have been on the verge for quite some time. I'm afraid and so should everyone else be also.

Posted by: Lab Rat | March 29, 2006 01:16 PM

Greydawg see my previous post where I address emily

Posted by: Lab Rat | March 29, 2006 01:24 PM

Interesting Lab Rat.

First of all, I agree we do need to increase enforcement of the laws we have on employers. We also need to supply employers with a better way to verify SSN's so they can't use the "I didn't know" excuse.

But, I always get really upset when people try and change the constitutional rights to citizenship. I won't launch into a "America is a Land of Immigrants" speech, because most of you don't care, but I don't think a constitutional amendment is the answer. What is I am here legally as an immigrant. And then my child is born here? Will he/she have to apply to be a U.S. citizen later in life? What if two people aren't married, and the mother is an immigrant and the husband isn't? then the kid is SOL? I'm asking a lot of questions here, but I really think re-writing the constitution is not the answer.

As an aside (and I realize that you are not a republican, or at least not a Bush republican) do you ever find it curious that in most current debates it is conservatives (who supposedly don't want to change America) that are always advocating for Constitutional amendments? Gay Marriage. Birth Rights. Abortion.

I just find it curious and mildly ironic.

Posted by: Greydawg | March 29, 2006 01:32 PM

Emiy-

To answer your question more directly. I think that the Senators have thought a lot about this issue, or at least they have had the time to do so. This legislation is very similar to a longstanding bi-partisan bill that exists in both the house and the senate that couples a modest guest-worker program with significant increases in border security and enforcement on workers.

A lot of people have spent a lot of time on this bill, so it is important not to give the impression that the decision was made hastily, because this proposal has been in the works for some time.

The bill in reference is: "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005" (S. 1033/H.R. 2330).

In the house it was proposed by Kolbe, Flake and Gutierrez and in the Senate it was Kennedy and McCain.

Posted by: Greydawg | March 29, 2006 01:41 PM

"So undocumented is a more accurate choice of words, because it more accurately reflects the legal predicament that this person is in."

Illegal alien is the term of art used in the legal profession to describe the status of these people. I won't stop using it just to satisfy some vague PC urge to use the purportely more friendly term 'undocumented worker' or whatever.

Posted by: Virginia Dare | March 29, 2006 01:51 PM

As far as what factors the Senate should consider:

They should consider the preferences of the majority of U.S. citizens, not the bullying tactics of a mob of legal and illegal immigrants.

Posted by: Virginia Dare | March 29, 2006 01:52 PM

Virginia,

can you tell whether someone is a citizen based on the color of their skin?

I saw a lot of citizens in those crowds in LA.

Posted by: Greydawg | March 29, 2006 01:56 PM

Greydawg:

Re-read my comment. Here, I'll post it again to assist you:

"As far as what factors the Senate should consider:

They should consider the preferences of the majority of U.S. citizens, not the bullying tactics of a mob of legal and illegal immigrants."

If you missed the word "and", go back and read it a third time.

And if you think that no one at those rallies was an illegal alien, then you are a fool.

Posted by: Virginia Dare | March 29, 2006 01:58 PM

I was thinking, after I posted my last comment. Enforcing employment law is the key, really. Make an example out of a couple of employers and the jobs will dry up. Then many of those 11 million illegal aliens will self deport.

Posted by: Deanna | March 29, 2006 02:08 PM

Virginia, please re-read my post. I am merely suggesting that many of those people were citizens. Not immigrants. And do vote. And apparently don't share your point of view.

Posted by: Greydawg | March 29, 2006 02:09 PM

Many legal immigrants are citizens, Greydawg.

Posted by: Virginia Dare | March 29, 2006 02:12 PM

Greydawg, I'll write more later, but today is my son's birthday and I promised him that I would bring something to him at school. So I have to leave work and do that, and I'll be back on line later.

Posted by: Lab Rat | March 29, 2006 02:34 PM

Virginia,

Once you are a citizen, you are no longer an immigrant. You have given up your citizenship in another country, so you are an American. Why do they still have to be an immigrant?

Posted by: Greydawg | March 29, 2006 02:35 PM

A naturalized citizen is still an immigrant. One often reads of 'recent immigrants' in the newspaper. Many of them are either green card holders or naturalized citizens.

Posted by: Virginia Dare | March 29, 2006 02:39 PM

Greydawg-

"But, I always get really upset when people try and change the constitutional rights to citizenship."

That is precisely what the 14th amendment did, though I doubt you are "really upset" about it.

The point is that the 14th amendment was never meant to protect the rights of children of those who illegaly entered this country.

"What is I am here legally as an immigrant. And then my child is born here?"

Then either your child should become a citizen or they should not.

"Will he/she have to apply to be a U.S. citizen later in life?"

If the constitution is amended so that people merely born in the United States are not granted citizenship then yes, they will have to apply to be a U.S. citizen later in life. If an amendment is not made then no, they will not have to apply.

"What if two people aren't married, and the mother is an immigrant and the husband isn't? then the kid is SOL?"

If the two people are not married there is no "husband". If the father is a citizen then citizenship status would likely extend to the child either way, amendment or not.

You ask a lot of questions, but none of them have intimidating or unwieldy answers.

Posted by: Will | March 29, 2006 03:00 PM

Greydawg-

I'm curious; what is your position? Do you think there should be any limits on how many people immigrate to the US? Should there be restrictions on who comes here? What about the 11 million+ people who are here now without official permission? Do we hand them all US citizenship? Should we give them free housing, food, education, and medical care? What do you believe our responsibility is to those who let themselves into the US?

Posted by: wiccan | March 29, 2006 04:09 PM

LabRat,
Don't forget to add "ignoring terrorst attacks and failing to act upon them" to your list of Clinton misdoings.

Posted by: PC Gorilla | March 29, 2006 04:27 PM

Sorry. In my haste I left out the "i" in "terrorist."

Posted by: PC Gorilla | March 29, 2006 04:29 PM

PC-

So Clinton is responsible for Dubya making up the "reasons" to wage war on Iraq, ignoring the Constitution, spying on US citizens, and holding himself above the law? The bastard!

Posted by: wiccan | March 29, 2006 04:36 PM

VA Patriot -
Day laborers are hired because there is demand.
For any of you that think that getting rid of illegal immigrants (and immigrants in general) is a good idea, take a basic economics course. It's the law of supply and demand, people. People want cheap(er) labor for day jobs, construction, janitorial/maid work, etc. These are jobs that most people don't want, and if there weren't immigrants to take them then companies would have to pay more, which would drive their prices up, which would mean that your pretty home would cost even more than it already does, your groceries would cost more, etc. If you don't believe me... think about what percent of the population those 12 million people represent, and what would happen if they were all suddenly gone. People would flock to be construction workers? I don't think so.
For more thoughts on this: http://lphilosophorum.blogspot.com

Posted by: Matt | March 29, 2006 04:39 PM

So, Matt, do we fling the doors wide open? Content ourselves with depressed wages, overcrowded schools, and overburdened hospitals? When did the economic failings of the Mexican nation become my responsibility?

Posted by: wiccan | March 29, 2006 04:52 PM

Greydawg, you ask pointed questions, but you are probing for the reasoning behind my motives. You are quite correct in assuming that I am not a Bush Republican. If the total truth be told I am a true independant. There are parts of each parties philosophy that I agree with. I am pro choice even though I personally don't believe in abortion, I am against gun control as I hunt and have handguns that I enjoy shooting recreationally, in fact when I took the course for my concealed carry permit, I out shot 8 members of the local police department, much to their suprise. I am a firm believer in the separation between church and state. I believe in gay rights even though I am happily married and go to church. I am pro science including stem cell research. I am totally against the dumbing of America, and the unchecked destruction of the planet that we live on, but not a tree hugging environmentelist. The main thing I am is for individual freedoms and privacy. I am a firm believer in MYOB and as long as I am not intruding in your personal affairs nor harming you keep your nose out of my business.
Here is a little background. I lived through the cold war, came of age during the time of sex, drugs and rock & roll, and lived through the end of Vietnam. I use the name Lab Rat because that is what I am. I work at an aerospace company as a contract employee because of the current business climate, Corporate refuses to hire me on permanently, even though I am probably one of only a handfull of people with the training and expertise in the the area I work in. My boss and local management want me hired but because of the current business climate they refuse to hire me.
Now to answer the main question you asked. The reason I said that I propose an amendment to the Constitution was for this reason. It requires a 2/3 majority in both houses and a presidential signature. Then it is presented to the states for ratification. This process can not be done quickly. The states have to place it on a ballot for voter ratification, and 2/3 of the states need to ratify the amendment and this needs to be done within a period not to exceed 5 years. This allows congress to get their act together and possibly pass meaningful laws to solve the problem and then the amendment can be withdrawn provided they passed the laws needed to solve the problem. As to your other question. I stated that if you were a legal immigrant that any children would automatically become a U.S. citizens, but if you were here illegally that any children would revert back to the parents primary country of origin. If you had the other case you pose this is what happens, The parent that is legally here retains custody unless they are an unfit parent decided by a court hearing. The child stays here as a U.S. citizen unless it is decreed by court order, while the illegal goes back to their primary country of residence.

Posted by: Lab Rat | March 29, 2006 05:03 PM

Matt-

Double edged blade. If we let a million Somalians into our country annually they would work for even less, and we could pay less for homes. If we repealled child labor laws we could employ them in janitorial services, thus freeing up more Mexicans (and now Somalians) for construction jobs thus lowering the price for homes further.

However, we are a country of laws. One of those laws is that you cannot enter this country illegally. Another is that you cannot exploit workers or pay them under the table or employ illegal immigrants.

Posted by: Will | March 29, 2006 06:06 PM

With all this talk about needing cheap menial labor for agriculture, why isn't prison labor being used for this kind of work ? We seem to have enough of a supply of workers & it worked in the past for building America's roads. Wouldn't this kind of program match Agriculutural employers with workers they desparately need ? Wouldn't it be a benefit for prisoners who want to atone for their crimes to participate in such a work program ? Wouldn't it appease the US tax payer who is picking up the prison tab in the first place, to get something back (cheap labor = lower produce prices) ?
Your thoughts ?

Posted by: Prison labor for Ag jobs --- | March 31, 2006 08:16 AM

You all forget if the government would enforce the lockup of illegal aliens you would be suprised how many would head south. BUT you have to get the government to STRICTLY ENFORCE that law. But if you get caught smoking a joint, you WILL go to jail for a LONG time and that joint only costs you not the whole country. So what laws should we inforce? Wake up People.

Posted by: Vic Bailey | March 31, 2006 10:45 AM

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