Sunday, June 23, 2013

Immigration Bill Debacle

The "Gang of Eight" have crated and re-crafted the immigration bill full of goodies to gain votes but concentrating on debating those is the distraction the cobblers of this bill want us to focus on. When Minnesota faced a Constitutional Amendment on requiring a photo ID for voting, opponents debated from the stand point of an Amendment solving an problem that doesn't exist.

In 1986, Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). The IRCA required the following:

  • that employers to attest their employee's immigration status
  • made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants
  • legalized certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants
  • legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously  with the penalty of fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt. 
  • increased enforcement of U.S. border
The proposed "Gang of Eight" bill re-addresses each of these points above. Why? The unofficial number of illegal immigrants, I mean those living in the shadows, is 11 million. In Harold Holzer's book Lincoln President-Elect, Holzer (p 225) writes, "Even Americans opposed to slavery were anxious about what might happen to slaves - and to themselves - if the institution died. Full integration into free society, and with it, competition with white workers for low-paying menial jobs, was not yet a political option in the Republican mainstream." 

In April of this year, on NPR, host Celeste Headlee discussed the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill with Harold Holzer and Lesley Jordan - a food industry worker in Los Angeles.  The focus of the dialogue was the impact the immigration bill would have on the African-American community. 

Headlee asked, "Well, explain to me. Have you had any incidents that occurred in which you know for sure that an illegal immigrant, for example, either got a job that would've come to you otherwise or negatively affected your ability to get a job?"

Jordan responded, "Absolutely. Because in the food services, in the restaurant, you have the back of the house, which is the kitchen area. And those are Latinos working in the kitchen. And if you can't speak the language, then why would the chef  - why would the restaurant, why would they hire you? And that's been my experience. I don't speak Spanish. I don't feel that I should have to speak Spanish. But unfortunately I don't and I've been passed over for jobs because of it. And I know this for a fact"

The concern that Lesley Jordan echoes a concern that Holzer wrote in his book of Whites prior to Lincoln taking office. The only thing the new "Gang of Eight" bill will address is the expectation that all illegal immigrants will need to learn English otherwise the rest of the bill echos the 1986 legislation. It is that echo that concerns me and should concern the rest of America.

The problem with illegal immigration is not rooted in the vast number of illegal immigrants hiding in the shadows; rather it is the lack of resources given to the 1986 bill. Currently, Congress is in search of a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. By not existing, my meaning is that America never fully completed the decree of the 1986 legislation. Instead of reinventing reform law why not just fund the 1986 legislation and stop coming down on States, like Arizona, who want to assit the Federal government in enforcing the current law on the books. 

The issue of illegal immigration is not that reform is required; rather it is enforcement of current law and freeing up resources to build the wall along the Southern border.