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April 5, 2006

immigration or politics?

The Senate has taken us on a wild ride this past week and a half. Today there is a glimmer of hope that perhaps something will indeed pass. It is a compromise which would extend opportunities to immigrants depending on how long they've been in the States as of January 2004. For those here 5 or more years, the door will basically be wide open; those here 2-5 years, will have to leave the country temporarily and then can return as temporary workers with a chance for permanent legal status; those here less than 2 years will have to leave the country and may or may not have a chance at returning legally.

Will it work? In the sense of getting the Senate moving again, perhaps. But in reality, I highly doubt it. If you think document fraud is an issue now, wait 'til you see the market for false documents to prove one has lived in the country for the last 5 years. Even the folks who arrive after it passes will be able to obtain papers "proving" they've been here more than 5 years. The only ones who will have a tough time with this are those who arrived with a legal visa, but have overstayed it. In that case, the dates are on their expired documents. Great. Punish those who actually entered legally.

So let's fast-forward a couple chapters. The Senate will pass a compromise piece of legislation and will go home to their constituents boasting of their fight for tough reform. The immigrants and labor communities will be thrilled, and rightfully so. The black market will make a quick and painless switch from selling fake driver's licenses, Social Security numbers and the like to selling fake rental records, employment records, church membership records, income statments, etc.

Can someone please tell me why the Senate is setting up the black market to collect tolls on the path to legalization? I realize I sound harsh, but this sort of falsifying happened back in '86. And we've no reason to think it won't happen again.

A week and a half ago we had a good piece of legislation come out of the Judiciary Committee. Now it is deteriorating into a compromise that is just symbolic and pointless. If they pass it, the Senate's pride will be shortlived and they will once again be shocked at their lack of foresight.

But this really isn't about immigrants after all, is it.

Posted by almamia at April 5, 2006 9:26 PM


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