Next up: Immigration reform (one more time)

Even before we’ve all caught our breath from the health-care reform fight, Latinos marched in Washington demanding Obama keep his promise on immigration reform.

Michael Lind writes:

He suggests:

  1. After amnesty, really crack down on any further illegal immigration, and especially on those who hire illegals.

  2. A rapid patch to citizenship for most illegals now in the country. However, first they should get green cards, and they should “go to the end of the line” after those here legally. The naturalization process from green card to citizenship should be reduced from five to two years.

  3. “Abolishing indentured servitude among immigrants”:

  1. “Shifting the basis of immigration from nepotism to skills:”:

That all sounds very sensible to me. We don’t suffer the disruption of losing the immigrants here now, even those here illegally (remember that massive “immigrants’ strike” a few years ago? We need their labor), but we adopt a more rational policy for the future.


  1. Will the Obama Admin make immigration reform its next priority?

  2. Can it be done in the near future, say, before November?

  3. Are the above proposals good ones? If not, what would work better?

  4. How will it all play out politically/electorally?

I think it’s electoral poison. Remember that the Bush administration was favorable to immigration reform. If it couldn’t get done even with that level of Republican support, it’s not going to happen at a time when moderate Democrats are already running scared.

As much as I would LOVE to see some version of CIR pass, it ain’t gonna happen in the current economic climate.

Did they check their green cards before they marched on Washington?

I wasn’t aware one needed a Green Card to take part in a march on Washington.

Should they stop all people who look foreign and ask them for paperwork or only those involved in political advocacy?

I seriously doubt this is next on the agenda, if Obama tackles this at all it will be at the end of his second term like Bush did.

The problem with this is that the “line” is already about five to seven years behind schedule, i know this because i am in it. Adding 12 million illegal immigrants to the end of the line would mean they would have about a twenty year wait to become citizens. What they need to do is fix the system they have NOW before they add more people to it.

You must be in a short part of the line; some parts of the line are 20+ years long. (And that’s just the green card line; add at least 5 years to that for citizenship in the vast majority of cases.)

But yes, unless the entire system is reworked, all that would be accomplished by granting green card eligibility to people who aren’t already in line is making the line longer.

A purely administrative problem, soluble by hiring just a few more bureaucrats to process the paperwork.

Yes, a big problem with the present system is that the queues for the legal processing of applications for visas, green cards, etc., are far too long.

Related to that is the problem that the present system is far too complex. Not even those working in the system seem to understand it. For example, I once spent about an hour waiting to be admitted into the US from Canada at Buffalo, even though I’d done everything right. I was on an employment visa, I’d won the Green Card Lottery, I was in “adjustment of status” from the visa to a green card, and I’d applied for and received “advance parole” to be readmitted to the US while in adjustment of status. While I was waiting at Buffalo, I could see the person with my documentation trying to make sense of it, with a couple of others standing behind him in the office, at one of the busiest border posts in the US. If those professionals don’t understand how to deal with a matter like that, where all the paperwork is in order according to the arcane rules, and if your average immigrant needs a lawyer or a paralegal to help them through the mess, then the system is broken.

Presumably, simplifying/clarifying the rules and streamlining the process would be part of any immigration-reform package.

no, we don’t “need their labor”. There is a great deal of unemployment among Americans already. If some of the unemployed lack the precise skills in demand, they can be trained at the workplace - these are not stupid or lazy people. Many others probably have the skills but are not hired because of discrimination in favor of the Latinos (especially with the Latinos themselves doing the hiring).

So no, America will not grind to a halt if the illegal immigrants stop working. Their jobs will be taken by Americans. And remember, those illegal immigrants can always go back to the low cost Mexico environment and live their from their savings, but Americans cannot. Americans are stuck over here and have to find a way to earn money to pay the high American rents.

:confused: No, we’re not. You would find it a lot easier to move to Mexico, if you wished, than a Mexican finds it to move here.

I think that some positive results could be achieved by figuratively holding the Republican leaders’ feet to the fire and adopting essentially the proposal outlined in the OP in substantially the form that GWB came out in support of. (While I personally have significant issues with much of the performance of the younger President Bush, I thought he was reasonably close to on target as regards immigration reform.

One of my favorite absurdities is the fact that under current immigration law, an unskilled laborer who is a Mexican national without family in the U.S. or other statutory eligibility for preferential treatment, given the quota available and the queue for that quota, has a projected wait time of no longer than five and a half million years. (The figures as they were quoted to me show that the unskilled-labor quota, once all those with statutory privilege are discounted, works out to two per year; with about 11 million people estimated to be seriously interested in immigrating, the math works out to a 5.5-million-year waiting time.)

Minus the “guest-worker program,” I hope. No more indentured servitude of immigrants, please, and no more allowing the corporations to use cheap immigrant labor to undercut the job market.

Any plan that grants amnesty or amnesty light (a “path to citizenship”) makes a mockery of our laws and turns those people with the good graces to not sneak in and wait in line suckers.

We need reform, yes. And we need to make it much easier for people to immigrate here legally. But the numbers we let in should serve us, not anyone else. If we need a million a year, open the spigot; if we have high unemployment, close it. Also, a guest worker program like that in Canada would serve us well. Especially since our labor needs are seasonal, and can fluctuate from year to year.

We need to immediately start going after employers in a serious manner. Their undermining of our laws and national security will continue until owners and managers who knowingly try to game the system have a likelihood of spending a few years in jail.

Next, we need to turn off the other magnets. No benefits for any illegal—no school, assistance, or medical care aside from basic emergency care and possibly vaccinations.

One other thing we should do is pass a law that no one who is here after a certain date, or can shown to have been here illegally, can ever become a citizen or get a green card. They must leave and, if they’d like, seek entry via legal channels.

Of course, this nonsense of allowing someone to sneak in and plop out a bay on American soil and have that baby be a citizen (and a ticket to citizenship for the parents) should stop immediately. We are saps. Time to wake the fuck up.

The Freepers are already Freeking out, BTW. They seem to assume the whole point of this is to enable illegal immigrants to vote, and vote Dem, this November. :rolleyes:

Well, how about we force corporations to hire people that are here legally. Force the market to increase the demand side of legal labor. While many Americans might not want to do Job X for Salary Y, they’d probably jump at it if the cost was 2Y. Let the market dictate the value of labor.

Theoretically, one would need a green card to even BE in the US, no?

No. Absolutely not. My parents, visiting me next week don’t have Green Cards. The first 10 times or so I came to the U.S. I did not have a Green Card.

That is a big part of it. And on the other side you have equally scumbaggy Reps wanting to provide a steady supply of cheap labor to agricultural, building, and hotel corporations, so they can, in turn, provide a steady stream of donations to campaign coffers.

On immigration, most Dems and Reps are in a traitorous unholy alliance.