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It's finally happened. The issue that's been simmering for years has at long last boiled over into the collective consciousness. Starting with 300,000 marching in Chicago two weeks ago, and now culminating in what seems to be a daily flood of images from around the country of thousands taking to the streets, the American people and media are just now waking up and examining an issue that has the potential to not only change the political landscape of the country, but the very makeup of the nation itself.  The legislation now being debated in the Senate would not only change the lives of millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, who live and work in this country - it could effect the lives of every American.

If done correctly immigration reform could bring millions of people out of the shadows, free from exploitation and fear. It could allow them to compete freely in the open market, demanding fair and just working condition and wages,  and give them the opportunity join the greater society on a whole in the quest for a better life.

On the other hand, if done incorrectly, immigration reform could further divide this nation. It could force millions of immigrants to go further underground, criminalizing them and limiting the few opportunities they have to make a better life.  It could further divide our nation along class and racial lines, and leave us with a permanent under-class of people with no hope of ever attaining legal status.

Before looking at the different legislative proposals that will be debated, and where we should be going, we need to look at where we are right now as far as immigration is concerned.  

The Current Law: How does it work  

All immigration is based upon the quota system. Each year the US Citizenship and Immigration Services issues Permanent Resident Cards (green cards) to four major categories of applicants:

  • Immediate family members: spouses and minor children of US citizens, ( the number issued is unlimited and not effected by quotas)
  • Family-based immigration: family members of permanent residents ,limit of 226,000 annually
  • Employment-based immigrants: limit of 140,000 annually
  • Diversity Lottery: 50,000 green cards distributed by lottery to those from nations with low rates of immigration to the US

Besides these major groups there are green cards issued for various other reasons such as those for refugees and those from specific counties such as Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua.

The Employment based green cards are further divided up by categories based upon skill and educational levels. Out of the 140,000 cards issued, only 5000 go to un-skilled workers annually.

In addition to these quotas that limit the number of people who can apply in any given year for a green card by category, there is a second quota system in place. This second quota limits the number of people who can migrate from any one country. The per-country quota states that no single country can send more than 7% of the total worldwide immigration in any given year. In effect this system favors those from small countries that traditionally send few immigrants. A large country like China or India with a billion people or one with close proximity like Mexico or Canada that have traditionally had close economic and social ties to the US, receive the same number of green cards as Lichtenstein or Nauru with a population of approximately 10,000 people.

In the end it becomes evident that the current quota system sets up substantial barriers to those wishing to immigrate legally. If someone does not have family already in the country, come from a small country that traditionally sends few immigrants, or has substantial skills and education, the chances of entering the immigration system legally are minute. This is why as many people enter the US illegally each year as do legally. They are essentially shut out of the system from the start. The idea that all immigrants who want to come to the U.S can "do it the right way" and apply for legal entry, and that those who don't just want to "cheat the system" and move to the "front of the line" is simply untrue.

Undocumented Immigrants: Who Are They?

What follows is the information from the executive summary of the current Pew report, "Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S." The entire report can be read here.

Analysis of the March 2005 Current Population Survey shows that there were 11.1 million unauthorized in the United States a year ago. Based on analysis of other data sources that offer indications of the pace of growth in the foreign-born population, the Center developed an estimate of 11.5 to 12 million for the unauthorized population as of March 2006.

Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population

Estimates Based on the March 2005 Current Population Survey

  • Since 2000, growth in the unauthorized population has averaged more than 500,000 per year. Based on evidence that this trend has persisted, the current unauthorized population can be estimated at between 11.5 and 12 million.

  • In the March 2005 estimate two-thirds (66%) of the unauthorized population had been in the country for ten years or less, and the largest share, 40% of the total or 4.4 million people had been in the country five years or less.

  • Unauthorized migrants accounted for 30% of the foreign-born population in 2005. Another 28% were legal permanent residents, and 31% were U.S. citizens by Naturalization

  • Most of unauthorized migrants came from Mexico. There were an estimated 6.2 million unauthorized Mexican migrants in 2005, or 56% of the unauthorized population.

  • About 2.5 million unauthorized migrants, or 22% of the total, have come from the rest of Latin America, primarily from Central America. Unauthorized migrants from Mexico and the rest of Latin America represented 78% of the unauthorized population in 2005.

  • Between 2000 and 2005 the number of unauthorized migrants from Mexico increased by about 1.5 million. Other large increases occurred among unauthorized migrants from Central America (+465,000) and South and East Asia (+365,000).

Family Characteristics

  • There were 5.4 million adult males in the unauthorized population in 2005, accounting for 49% of the total. There were 3.9 million adult females accounting for 35% of the population. In addition, there were 1.8 million children who were unauthorized, or 16% of the total.

  • Among adults, males make up 58% of the unauthorized population while females make up 42%
  • .

  • As of 2005, there were 6.6 million families in which either the head of the family or the spouse was unauthorized. These unauthorized families contained 14.6 million persons.

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the children living in unauthorized families are U.S. citizens by birth, an estimated 3.1 million children in 2005.

Labor Force Characteristics

  • Unauthorized migrants accounted for about 4.9% of the civilian labor force in March 2005, or about 7.2 million workers out of a labor force of 148 million.

  • Unauthorized workers are employed in a variety of occupations, although the distribution of the unauthorized workforce across occupations differs from that of native-born workers. For example, nearly a third (31%) of

    unauthorized workers were employed in service occupations compared to one-sixth (16%) of native workers in March 2005. Unauthorized migrants are underrepresented in white-collar occupations.

  • About 19% of unauthorized workers were employed in construction and extractive occupations, 15% in production, installation and repair and 4% in farming.

  • Unauthorized migrants make up a large share of all workers in a few more detailed occupational categories. They were 24% of all workers employed in farming occupations, 17% in cleaning, 14% in construction and 12% in food preparation industries. Within those categories, unauthorized workers were a very large share of all workers in certain specific occupations. For example,

    the unauthorized were 36% of all insulation workers and 29% of all roofers and drywall installers, 27% of all butchers and other food processing workers.

  • The concentration of unauthorized workers in broad industries is not as marked as the concentration in broad occupation groups. Only in "leisure & hospitality" and in "construction" does the share of unauthorized workers greatly exceed the share of natives. About 1 in 5 unauthorized workers was in the construction industry (20%) and 1 in 6 was in the leisure & hospitality

    industry (17%). Only about 7%-8% of native workers was in each of these industries.

  • There are fewer detailed industries with high concentrations and significant numbers of unauthorized workers than detailed occupations. Nonetheless, there are some industries with substantial concentration of unauthorized workers. The unauthorized were 21% of the workers in private household industries. They were between 12% and 14% of all the workers in food manufacturing, farming, furniture manufacturing, construction, textiles, and food services.


As of today it appears that there are two major schools of thought on immigration reform:

Those that favor "enforcement only" proposals that favor the stiffening of criminal penalties for both undocumented immigrants and those who hire them, and increasing security at the border to try to prevent the flow of illegal immigration. They believe that if the climate that fosters illegal immigration were changed it would stop and we need to try to stop the flow immigrants at the border by building barriers both physically and through law enforcement.

A second school of thought are those supporting "comprehensive immigration reform" who believe that in order to control immigration the system needs to changed and accommodations must be made to make the immigration process easier. They believe that if the system allowed for more "legal" immigration there would be far less need for those who wish to come here to make a better life to do so "illegally". That if immigrants could live and work legally in the country many if not all of the problems caused by illegal immigration would be eliminated.

These two schools of thought can be seen in the competing legislation now being debated.

Enforcement Only Bills

The "enforcement only" advocates have lined up behind the bill passed in the House in December sponsored by Representatives Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and King (R-NY); the "Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005"  (HR4437)  and it's Senate equivalent the  "Securing America's Borders Act"  ( S.2454) put forward by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN).

Although Frist's bill varies slightly from HR4437 both bills would:

  • Increase security forces and surveillance along the border and the building of a 700 mile long wall along the southern border.

  • Give the power to immigration officials within 100 miles of the border to expel without a hearing anyone believed to be a recently arrived illegal immigrant.

  • Expand mandatory detention to apply to all non-citizens arriving at a port of entry or "along" the border.

  • Limit the basic rights of immigrants to judicial review, even by the constitutionally guaranteed writ of habeas corpus.

  • Criminalize all violations of immigration law, even if the violation was unintentional or the result of processing delays

  • Give additional powers to detain non-citizens indefinitely without judicial review, potentially placing many non-citizens in a legal black hole that subjects them to a life sentence after having served a criminal sentence, or, in some cases, without ever having been convicted of a crime.

"Expedited Removal": Deportation Without a Lawyer, Hearing, Or Court Review

Expedited removal under current immigration laws is applied to non-citizens arriving at airports with apparently improper documents, to un-documented non-citizens arriving by sea, and a few other narrow categories of non-citizens. Basically, if you show up at JFK without paperwork, you are put on the next plane back without having any sort of hearing or review.

H.R. 4312 will expand on the policy of "expedited removal," and grant powers to even low-level immigration officers to remove individuals anywhere along the border. It would require the border patrol to pick up and deport, without any administrative hearing, anyone within 100 miles of the border that an agent thinks is an undocumented immigrant who has been present less than 14 days. How the officers are to determine the legal status of the deportees is not addressed in the legislation. The de facto result of this legislation is that anyone within 100 miles of the border (north or south) who is suspected of being here illegally could by deported without any sort of hearing or reviews.

Mandatory Detention

Under current law, individuals who arrive without documents, including asylum-seekers, are subject to mandatory detention. Again this applies mainy to those arriving at airports or by sea. 60% of detainees are held in local jails under contract to the federal government, where they are generally not segregated from the criminal population even if they are asylum-seekers and others with no criminal record.

Under this new bill, the mandatory detention policy would be extended to all non-citizens who are detained at any port of entry or anywhere "along" the border for any reason.

"Illegal Presence" and "Aggravated Felonies,"

Section 203 of HR 4437 calls for the creation of a new federal crime of "illegal presence". As defined in the bill it includes any violation, even technical, of any immigration law or regulation. Even if the immigrant was to fall "out of status" unintentionally, or do to paperwork delays. In essence, the bill makes every immigration violation, however minor, into a federal crime. As drafted, the bill also makes the new crime of "illegal presence" an "aggravated felony" for immigration purposes. This classification would have the further effect of restricting ordinary undocumented immigrants (including those with pending applications) from many forms of administrative or judicial review. Those convicted of an "aggravated felony" would be subject to indefinite detention and/or expedited removal.

Indefinite Detention

Indefinite detention currently applies to non-citizens ordered removed from the United States whose countries refuse to accept them or who have no country because they are stateless. Most often they come from countries without good relations with the United States.

HR 4437 would permit indefinite detention of an increased broad class of non-citizens, including:

  • those with a contagious disease

  • any non-citizen convicted of an "aggravated felony," (see above)

  • non-citizens whose release would pose foreign policy problems

  • non-citizens charged even with very minor immigration violations who, based on secret evidence, are deemed a national security risk.

The bill also includes provisions to "combat the hiring of illegal workers"

The bill calls for an employment eligibility verification system in which employers will check the Social Security numbers and alien identification numbers provided by employees against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records in order to weed out fraudulent numbers and ensure that their employees are not working in the U.S. illegally. The system is modified from a voluntary pilot program currently in use. The bill also increases civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring or employing an illegal worker.

Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of the legislation is Sec. 202 of HR 4437 which in effect makes it a crime to "assist" in any way someone who is in the country illegally. It is this provision that has raised so much concern from humanitarian groups, doctors, lawyers and church officials. Although proponents of the bill assure that the measure would not be aimed at humanitarian workers, most remain skeptical. Sen. Frist's version raises further concerns since he seemed to address the issue by making a provision for the church to allow for an  "alien who is present in the United States to perform the vocation of a minister or missionary for the denomination or organization in the United States" and decimalized the  giving of  "emergency humanitarian assistance, including emergency medical care and food, or to transport the alien to a location where such assistance can be rendered".  While appearing to be a capitulation to humanitarian workers, Sec. 274 a 3, still furthers the restrictions that concern most of the groups involved by limiting it's waver of criminality to "emergency assistance" only and to the recruitment of clergy.

One of the biggest criticisms of all the "enforcement only" legislation is that they make no provisions for the 12 million immigrants already in the country. These bills assume that if they make the penalties harsh enough, millions of immigrants will simple back up and go home. When asked about what would happen to the 12 million undocumented immigrants if new legislation was to pass, chief spokesmen for the enforcement only approach to immigration reform, Rep.Tom Tancredo (R- CO.) flippantly replied; "adios". But as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said yesterday in the Senate Judiciary deliberations,  "what is home, where is home for these people?"...for many undocumented immigrants the US is home ... home is where they have lived and worked for ten or twenty years ... where they have married and raised their children.  The enforcement only proponents simply make no account for that situation.

Comprehensive Immigration Bills

Essentially the bill that will go to the floor of the Senate today is the Senate Judiciary Committees "Chairman's Mark" of the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006" which now contians many of the provisions of the  bill originally put forward by Senators Kennedy (D-MA)  and McCain (R-AZ), the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act"  (S.1033). We do not yet know the specific language of the bill (It will be published within a day or two), we do know that it contains these major provisions:

  • Increased border security and cooperation with Mexico and Canada

  • Creates a "virtual wall" of unmanned vehicles, cameras and censors to monitor the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Doubles the border patrol over five years adding 12,000 agents

  • Provides a path to legalization and citizenship for the 12 mil undocumented immigrants as long as they pass security clearance, pay all back taxes, pay a criminal fine for breaking immigration laws, remain employed, have no criminal record, acquire a level of English proficiency, and  eventually pass the civics section of the citizenship exam. Current illegal residents cannot begin to apply for legal status until all current immigration requests have been processed

  • Creates a guest worker program that allows approximately 400,000 unskilled workers to come and work for up to six years. Additionally, after a certain amount of time the guest workers who qualify may apply for permanent residency.

  • Doubles all current fines for employers who hire illegal workers

  • Quotas will become adjustable according to a given formula

  • The Department of Labor will maintain an updated Job Bank of willing employers looking for workers

  • The DREAM program will be continued allowing children of undocumented immigrants who have graduated from high school to be allowed to apply to Colleges without having their parents immigration status taken into consideration

  • The inclusion of an agricultural provision that will allow 1.5 million agricultural workers to work in the US legally

  • Redefines the "aggravated felony" language of HR4437 to exempt those already here from prosecution.

As previously noted, the exact wording of the bill will be available shortly so the specifics might change slightly.

The criticisms of this approach are many. Critics claim that providing a path to legalization is no more than an amnesty and that would be rewarding those who have broken the law. That guest workers provided business with a cheap source of labor while preventing US citizens access to valuable jobs. And that immigrants put undue stresses on our already taxed social services programs and unfairly compete for limited resources with those already at the bottom of the economic ladder.

What Happens Now

Whether this bill makes it to the floor and what happens after that is still to be seen.

...the plan was fiercely attacked by conservative Republicans who called it nothing more than an offer of amnesty for lawbreakers. It remained unclear Monday night whether Senator Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, would allow the bill to go for a vote this week on the floor or would substitute his own bill, which focuses on border security. His aides have said that Mr. Frist, who has said he wants a vote on immigration this week, would be reluctant to move forward with legislation that did not have the backing of a majority of the Republicans on the committee.

Only 4 of the 10 Republicans on the committee supported the bill. They were the committee chairman, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Sam Brownback of Kansas. All eight Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the legislation.

The rift among Republicans on the committee reflects the deep divisions in the party as business groups push to legalize their workers and conservatives battle to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Mr. Specter acknowledged the difficulties ahead, saying, "We are making the best of a difficult situation." But he said he believed that the legislation would ultimately pass the Senate and would encourage the millions of illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows.

"We do not want to create a fugitive class in America," Mr. Specter said after the vote. "We do not want to create an underclass in America."

"I think this represents a reasonable accommodation," he said, referring to the divergent views on the panel. "It's not a majority of the majority, but it's a good number."


Any legislation that passes the Senate will have to be reconciled with the tough border security bill passed in December by the Republican-controlled House...


Going forward the only thing that is known for sure is that the immigration reform battle has just begun. It will most likely become one of the defining issues in upcoming election cycles and could change the face of both the Republican and Democratic parties. But that's a story for another diary.... This one was quite long enough already....

Originally posted to Duke Reed on Tue Mar 28, 2006 at 11:35 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I just read an article about the protests. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Duke1676, Truza

    I was wishing someone would write a good diary on the issues being debated. I opened up DailyKos and your diary was the first one I saw. Thank you, it's very informative.

    •  Thanks (10+ / 0-)

      It's a very complex issue and this diary only covers the issue in the most cursory way, but I hope it helps add some perspective.

      •  Great Overview Diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        em dash

        Explore the dimensions of the issue first. Then focus on the legislative remedies. Should be a template for other issues. Like others, I've been looking for something exactly like this. You should consider reposting something like it if it doesn't make the rec list. Posting it in the early morning might limit those that will see it.

        The issue is very complex. I think we have to acknowledge that there are many industries that are dependent on low cost immigrant labor, much of it coming from undocumented workers. Increasing quotas so that many become documented will go part of the way to improving the living standards of these workers. It is very important that there is companion legislation that raises the minimum wage and increases the presence of unions in these industry sectors. Business always claim that this will hinder the development of industries in this sector of the economy. They overstate the case. With every rise in the minimum wage (talking ancient history here) you would think that the growth of the fast food industry would slow and the price of the happy meal would wreck the budgets of consumers. It never happens.

      •  it figures (0+ / 0-)

        About 19% of unauthorized workers were employed in construction and extractive occupations, 15% in production, installation and repair and 4% in farming.

        Odd how farm employment went from 3% to 24% back to 4% in just one year, you are out to screw low income earners aren't you? Nice to see you and GW are on the same page

        "no, how dare you sir!"-Jack Ryan

        by Rudykip on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 11:31:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  math lesson 101 (0+ / 0-)

          I'll help you out here:

          4% of all immigrants work in agriculture AND make up 25% of that workforce.

          The numbers are not at all contradictory as you imply.  

          (by the way: The 3% number you quote from a pevious diary was not my number .. but rather yours -  taken from an older and outdated survey)

          I'm not here to get into another flame war with you ... I understand your point of veiw and you are welcome to have it.. I don't come to your diaries just to start trouble ... I ask that you do me the same courtesy... I'm not trying to change your opinion and your attacks will certianly not change mine. If I report something that is FACTUALLY incorrect, and you can cite a source to prove it then fire away...BUT... if you just want to argue for arguements sake.. I'd appreciate it if you'd take it elsewhere.

          thank you in advance for your understanding.

          •  statistical analysis (0+ / 0-)

            If I report something that is FACTUALLY incorrect, and you can cite a source to prove it then fire away.

            The latest numbers available from the USDA.


            release date

            March 2005. This release includes data for 2002 and revises estimates for 1998-2001.
            total farm and farm related employment 23,848,888 times 25% equals 5,962,222 illegal workers. (6 million thats alot Duke!),So if that number represents 4% of illegals then there are 149,055,550 million illegals in America. MAN! Duke you are so full of shit. Go fuck up someone else' country instead of this one. Your efforts to prop up the Mexican gov. by maintaining the flow of $17 billion in money orders does this country no good. Do another shot.

            "no, how dare you sir!"-Jack Ryan

            by Rudykip on Thu Mar 30, 2006 at 06:27:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  statistics 101 (0+ / 0-)

              Pew says:
              About 19% of unauthorized workers were employed in construction and extractive occupations, 15% in production, installation and repair and 4% in farming.

              They were 24% of all workers employed in farming occupations

              You quote USDA:
              total farm and farm related employment

              why don't you call them both and see what each classifies as "farming", Farming occupations" and "Farm related employment" ... what exactly is  classified  as "farm related"? selling seed and feed, processing, it's like saying "retail related" or "construction related occupations" working in a lumber yard is construction "related".... that's a pretty large category.  

              to compare statistics you must be sure they are both using the same parameters ... they obviously are not since the numbers don't jive.  

              Since both the Pew Research Ccenter and the USDA are highly reputable sources of information ( if you watched the Senate immigration hearings you would have seen that Senators from both sides of the debate quote from Pew as there major source of statistics)...I tend to believe that they are both right... just looking at different things... it's apples and oranges...

              But then again that wouldn't fit into your racist Reconquista myth that anyone who supports immigration reform must work for Mexico... Maybe you should notify Ted Kennedy, Arlen Specter, Lindsey Graham and John McCain that they are agents of a foreign government... I'm sure they weren't aware of that fact.

              Adios Amigo ... PAZ

              •  que? (0+ / 0-)

                But then again that wouldn't fit into your racist Reconquista myth that anyone who supports immigration reform must work for Mexico... Maybe you should notify Ted Kennedy, Arlen Specter, Lindsey Graham and John McCain that they are agents of a foreign government... I'm sure they weren't aware of that fact.

                Not anyone, you. Paul Simon would call you a one trick pony, the problem dividing the Democratic Party; the reason W is president. A corporatist hack, who looks forward to the day when America is a maquiladora to Blue Chips.  Ted Kennedy, Arlen Specter, Lindsey Graham and John McCain, are vying for votes. My sis-in-law from Guaymas would protest the tired racist line. The Mexican Americans I know aren't particularly thrilled that their wage are depressed, their benefits costs soar or their children’s education suffers. Living in the Washington bubble may work for the elected, but these electors on the front line see your specious arguments and would like to show you National City and San San Ysidro and give you a broom. Cut and past some more from Pew, as you ignore the real world and do Monsanto and DuPont’s bidding. You ignorant fuck. Have another Patron.

                "no, how dare you sir!"-Jack Ryan

                by Rudykip on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 06:40:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Very informative diary. (0+ / 0-)

    And recommended.  What I find interesting is how we've managed to go this long without settling the issue.  Clearly there's a wink and nod when it comes to enforcing immigration laws and securing the borders.  Yet nobody seems willing to pass the legislation necessary to make these workers legal.

    There's a sleazy kind of status-quo going on.  Those on the right want the pool of unprotected laborers to work the fields (while using their presence to drum up fear of illegals), and some of us on the left seem unwilling to deal with the extremely ugly realities of actually enforcing the law.

    My feeling is that enforcing standing laws will pressure big business into lobbying for the kind of immigration reform we obviously need.  But it all seems to begin with real border enforcement.  [/lou dobbs]

    Bayh-partisan: it's the new joementum

    by gogol999 on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 12:10:01 AM PST

  •  Immigrant reform Bill? (0+ / 0-)

    Just so much noise, that's all. It is an election year and that is the only issue they can safely "discuss" show bi-partisan interest and give hope to people on both sides of the issue. They obviously cannot discuss the pre-war intelligence or wire tapping or the civil war in Iraq or global warming or any thing like that. This is a nice feel good issue “everybody wants to solve” - except, not really.

    Illegal immigrant problem can only be addressed once the security at the border is made effective. If not, 20 million more will enter the US while the legalization method is being "discussed" in congress. Illegal immigrants will still try to come here; only more will die trying to do so. We need some of these workers and they must be given a legal way to come here. We need real immigration reform at all levels because you cannot solve the illegal immigrant problem without addressing the problem of people still waiting in line trying to immigrate through legal means. The problem is too big and complicated, will require a lot of give and take, will piss off half the population and no politician will take the risk he/she does not have to. Put his/her cushy job on the line for something that he/she does not have to? Not in America, not our billionaire politicians.

    Besides, the corporations that benefit from cheap labor do not want the issue resolved. Once these people become legal in this country, they will need to be paid a legal minimum wage defeating the very reason the border has been maintained as a porous border for the past 40 odd years. What politician, Republican or Democrat wants to buck the powers that be?

    Sure, Presidents can do it. Regan did it. Bush could do it too, and maybe he wants to do his guest worker program thing, if not for anything else, for some kind of a consolation prize legacy but his poll numbers are in the toilet and he may not be able to count on the rubber stamp congress.

    In conclusion, Americans should stop worrying too much and illegals should not get their hopes up too high. Nothing is going to happen. Nothing is going to change.

  •  Robert Scheer article (0+ / 0-)

    at TruthDig echoes your sentiment of getting undocumented workers out of the shadows.

  •  Its the economy stupid. (0+ / 0-)

    Illegal and uncontrolled immigration at the low end of the socio economic ladder cost lots this country lots of money and hurts the people at the low end of the socio economic ladder.  Its about the economy, stupid - as the saying goes.  Nice diary.

    Patriot Party 08: Feingold, Murtha, Boxer, Harkin, Conyers, Kucinich, Sanders & Dean.

    by dkmich on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 02:12:49 AM PST

  •  Sad (0+ / 0-)

    You post all of these statistics.

    Where did you post American poverty rates?

    Why did you not mention that the "admitted" percentage of illegal immigrant workers nearly equals the country's "admitted" unemployment rate?

    At what point did your patriotism begin to focus on immigration?

    Will you still be here touting statistics when this country can no longer support its population?

    Would you agree,  or disagree that this could very well, indicate a beginning to an end?

    Are you willing to curtail the food consumption of YOUR family to support those who flaunt the very laws you live by?

    Are you willing to take a major cut in pay and, benefits to help out in your cause? You are expecting others to do it.

    If the statistics you posted are the best you have to offer, you have proved my point several times over. Though, unfortunately, most will not be able to see past the curtain.

    No matter how much lipstick you put on this Pig, it's still a pig. You all keep talking as if you're the defining element. In the end, you'll be voting to take away what little rights these people ever get. How do I know? You're doin' it now brudda!

    NOWHERE IN ANY OF THIS IS THE OPINION OF THE PEOPLE THESE DECISIONS WILL AFFECT! Therefor, there is NO debate in reality. Just pontification by the people who make injustice possible in our land of "liberty".

    Funny thing, not one of you has bothered to mention that what we are REALLY looking at, is competing with third world countries. And doing them no favors.

    I refuse to call you names. Or lable you. Or, remove you of a lable. But you annoy me.

    You live in a house of mirrors that has no reflection whatsoever.

    •  Sad (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Serendipity, Truza, monsterrules

      You didn't post any statistics in response.  Or in your own diary on the subject.

      If you disagree, you compete with facts, not rhetoric.

      At what point did your patriotism begin to focus on immigration?

      That makes no sense.  

      Would you agree,  or disagree that this could very well, indicate a beginning to an end?

      A beginning to an end of what?

      Are you willing to curtail the food consumption of YOUR family to support those who flaunt the very laws you live by?

      Can you show us statistics backing up this claim, that food consumption of the average family would be compromised?  And how can you attack the diarist, who made no claims towards a solution? (this is a diary about the weaknesses of a particular piece of legislation, not a solution towards the immigration problem)

      Are you willing to take a major cut in pay and, benefits to help out in your cause? You are expecting others to do it.

      Can you show us statistics backing up this claim, that major cuts would be necessary in pay?  And again, where does the diarist indicate his/her solution to the immigration problem that allows you to project this?

      If the statistics you posted are the best you have to offer, you have proved my point several times over.

      What point?  And how was it proved?

      Again, and I can't stress this enough: If you disagree with a stance, you have to compete with facts, not empty rhetoric.

      Therefor, there is NO debate in reality.

      A fitting description of your post.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 02:44:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's a reply (0+ / 0-)


        What can I say. You ask for "statistic's"? Are you serious? Is that how you judge reality?

        Here's a statistic for you. I HAVE suffered by illegal immigration. Have YOU prospered?

        I HAVE seen the good that immigration can do, without profiting from it. HAVE YOU?

        You don't understand my words for the same reasons George Washington would not be able to understand "Cup-O-Soup".

        I might point out that "Cup-O-Soup" likely lost some market shares to "Ramen Noodles". But you wouldn't get that either.

        You question my statements. You say some of the things I say make no sense. You base this on?????????????

        If I was a Leper, trying to explain the "In's and outs" of Leprosy to you, you would say much the same. If it isn't served up to you, (I'm guessing), on a silver, "Associated Press" platter, you just pass it off as so much crap. Of course this is an assumption.

        I quoted Dr. Martin Luther King for a reason. But you didn't get that either. That's alright. But I'm pretty Fly for a white guy. I can judge you with filters you cannot even comprehend. (Again, an assumption).

        If the immigration issue is based on "good will", and "human rights", PROVE IT!

        Show ME where I'm going wrong! Show me the proof that this is based on ANYTHING other then profit potential. ANYTHING.

        Be aware, however, I just might invite some of the people you supposedly represent, to comment on your comments.

        It just dawned on me that, as my daughter takes mandatory tests, to judge her education, the "STATISTICS" that made all of this happen were based on a system that was busy absorbing some xxmillions of ILLEGAL immigrants.

  •  Thanks for a very informative diary (0+ / 0-)

    One thing struck me on the proposed Kennedy/McCain bill.

    We are doubling Border Patrol but I see no mention of doubling the amount of overseers who ensure that corporations are not hiring illegals. Is that addressed at all? I see the increased fines but if no one is looking for violations, how do they get caught?

  •  how does this proposed reform compare... (0+ / 0-)

    with Europe? (For example)

    I am curious because I am only beginning to understand immigration issues. How has Europe, where one country can be surrounded by four or five others, deal with immigration problems/issues?

    Are the laws similar? Could we learn anything?

    I am asking out of pure curiosity...

    •  The EU (0+ / 0-)

      Citizens of EU member states may (generally) travel, work and live in other EU nations without visas or permits. It's pretty similar to the relationship between New York State and California. It's a little more complicated for new entries to the Union, but not much.

      --- Long Beach - Serving Long Beach, California.

      by opendna on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 05:41:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Immigraton between EU countries isn't (0+ / 0-)

        as relevant because, for now, the economies are similar.  I know that there is a lot of immigration into the EU from poorer areas.  When I was in Finland the machine shops were full of Russians.  This must be under discussion there now, given how the upsurge in religious extremism is affecting the EU countries, and historically the middle east has been a big source of EU country immigrants.

  •  A minimum degree of English proficiency. (0+ / 0-)

    Reminds me of literacy tests in the south during the Jim Crow era. Don't most immigrants who come here legally lack proficiency in English? Why are they let in? Hopefully, this and other harsh requirements will be deleted from the endgame on Kennedy-McCain. And there are other aspects that one cannot agree with. Still, as a minority in Congress, unless the Frists and the Kyls have their way, it is about the best we can hope for given that moderate Republicans are on board.

    •  Gaining a minimum proficiency in English (0+ / 0-)

      would be just fine as a requirement, ***if*** this legislation included additional funds for more language programs. I don't know if it does, but am skeptical. Probably just another unfunded mandate.

      Many people don't know that CURRENTLY most adult-level ESL programs have a waiting list. That is, lists of people who would like to learn English and are willing to put in the time but who can't get into a class.

  •  Well done... (0+ / 0-)

    Kudos to Duke1676 for producing a substantive primer.

    The Kennedy-McCain proposals are definitely preferable to the Frist/Sessenbrenner bills, but I think that any reform must be joined to an increase in the minimum wage nationwide, along with greater resources for enforcing these reforms at the employer level, not just more border security.

    Another key talking point against the "punish only" approach, as heard on Big Ed Schultz's radio show, is how are we going to extract 12 million unwillingly from our nation when we couldn't even get 100,000 out of NOLA when they were begging to get out?

  •  Assumptions (0+ / 0-)

       A problem is that somehow permitting the illegals to legitimate themselves assumes, without evidence, that massive, rapid growth is good for the nation.  It has never been good for Los Angeles.  Indeed, massive, rapid growth is rather destructive, especially now that the nation is "filled" according to many environmental studies.

  •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

    thanks this is a great diary

  •  Not Bad, But You Missed 1/2 of the Law (0+ / 0-)

    First off: Ask yourself if you trust the President to implement any law - even the one you would write yourself - with any competence. Then ask yourself if you really want to be having this national conversation right now. I think the answer to both those questions is "No" so our position should be "You bastards aren't competent to do this reform. Fix the stuff you broke, then we'll talk."

    Back to your post: If you don't include Non-Immigrants, you don't get an accuate picture. Most immigrants actually arrive in this country as non-immigrant. These include H1B technology workers, F1 students, B2 vacationers, etc.

    The President's request for a "Guest Worker" program is redundant (and proof he doesn't know snot about his power over immigration). He could expand the number of H3 visas issued without any new legislation.

    Some of the other things listed, like the characterization of Expedited Removal are ill informed. To say someone is removed without any sort of hearing is misleading because the ER process basically requires someone to say "Nope, I've got no excuse for being here." The phrase "apparently improper documents" challenges the competence and professionalism of front-line immigration officers (now CBP officers), who are frankly way out of your league. If anyone is competent to determine if a document is altered, counterfeit or presented by an imposter, it is a Journeyman Inspector (not a judge).

    I've gotta run, but I encourage all of you to consider the possibility that the laws are not broken. The border may not even be broken. It is possible that our so-called "immigration problem" is in fact a policy decision which could change tomorrow if the President directed his cabinet to fix it.

    That means we need to change the President.

    --- Long Beach - Serving Long Beach, California.

    by opendna on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 06:02:41 PM PST

    •  question (0+ / 0-)

      is this generally agreed on - that most immigrants start out as legal nonimmigrants?

      •  It is among immigration officers. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm writing an immigration policy proposal of my own, and I'll release numbers with it, but: Over three years, it was my experience that immigrants followed one of the paths below. It's consensus among immigration officers that K1 (fiancee visa), H1B/L1 change of status and B2 change of status are the most common ways to get a Green Card. All of these mean the intenting immigrant entered on a nonimmigrant visa and then changed status to a Lawful Permanent Resident.

        • Petitioned by employer; entered as an L1, H1B, O1, etc and changed status in the USA.
        • Petitioned by US citizen fiancee; entered as a K1 (smart) or B2 (not smart) and changed status in the USA.
        • Petitioned by US citizen family member (e.g. spouse, parent or child); most people jumped the line by entering as a non-immigrant (e.g. vacationer visa B2) and change status in the USA, but a few wait for the immigrant visa over seas.
        • Petitioned by Immigrant spouse; generally the ride-alongs for immigrants who are petioned by their employer (L2, H3, etc).
        • Amnesty by Reagan. Many are still waiting for their green cards.

        I'd guess that all immigrants I met who had waited overseas for their immigrant visa (and did not change status from a non-immigrant visa) accounted for less than 10% of people traveling on green cards. But I include in that number people who left the country when their immigrant visa was ready and re-entered.

        --- Long Beach - Serving Long Beach, California.

        by opendna on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 12:36:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  destroying wages (0+ / 0-)

    the unauthorized were 36% of all insulation workers and 29% of all roofers and drywall installers, 27% of all butchers and other food processing workers.

    Just peachy, vocations that at one time could support a family in some comfort, have eroded substantially.

    for drywall installers

    Wages - Statewide:  

    To give you an idea of how much you might earn, we have given you the average hourly wages and average yearly wages for this career throughout California. Wages can vary greatly in different parts of the State.  

     Hourly Average Wages:  $  21.69

    Instead of $100 a day for day labourer, $73 less, and no benefits. As any good corporatist would, you have lowered the wages for all. Good Boy! Should we talk about the poor quality of inexperienced unqualified labor? nah too easy.

    "no, how dare you sir!"-Jack Ryan

    by Rudykip on Thu Mar 30, 2006 at 06:59:50 PM PST

  •  good diary (0+ / 0-)

    please repost the whole thing when you have updates.

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