Saturday, October 22, 2005

Illegal Immigration Plan a Non-Starter

A Bush Administration proposal to allow illegal aliens in the US to work for up to six years before facing deportation is under fire in Congress and will likely never see the light of day. (Washington Post: Little Support for Bush Immigration Plan). Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff showed little support for the plan himself when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Asked the cost of the proposed program by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Chertoff sounded a bit like Carl Sagan when he responded, "billions and billions and billions of dollars." The DHS chief admitted that the program was likely not feasible.

At the heart of the program is the idea that illegal aliens would register for a three-year work visa which could be extended for another three years before facing deportation. The fact that these illegals have already avoided the bureaucracy to get here in the first place doesn't seem to register with plan proponents. Nobody in the administration has yet explained why any illegal alien would ever register for the work visa since they are already here, are already living under the radar, and are already working! There's no incentive to them to register, knowing that they would now be tracked and would ultimately face deportation.

There are only three steps that are practical in the fight against illegal immigration. First and foremost, we must secure our borders and prevent people from entering this country illegally. The hassles for legal visitors to the US at Passport Control in every airport in the country is absurd, yet it's relatively simple for someone to wade across the Rio Grande and enter the US illegally at hundreds of points along our southern border. Until we secure the borders, no documentation program is going to work.

Second, we must immediately deport any illegal aliens that are caught. The current "Catch and Release" plan may sound great to fishermen, but it falls short when dealing with illegal aliens residing in this country. The only acceptable practice is to "catch and deport".

Finally, businesses that hire illegal aliens must face heavy fines and possibly even criminal charges. What they are doing is illegal and they must be held accountable for those actions. Without a source of income, the enticement for people to cross into the US illegally will significantly diminish.

The administration's proposal is not realistic, nor does anyone actually expect it to pass. This is one more step in the Immigration Waltz in which politicians pretend to be doing something about illegal immigration without running the risk of upsetting the Hispanic voting bloc. The proposal is a sham, and so too is any politician's interest in addressing the problem. Wake me up when someone puts a legitimate proposal on the table.


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