Skip to comments.GOP aims to block immigration reform
Posted on 01/02/2005 9:54:08 AM PST by nanak
WASHINGTON -- President Bush's plan to liberalize the nation's immigration laws to allow millions of undocumented workers the opportunity for legal status appears to be on a collision course with newly aroused sentiment among House Republicans pushing for a crackdown on illegal immigration.
Bush describes his immigration proposal as one of the top goals of his second term, calling it a humane way to get a handle on the nation's mushrooming illegal immigration problem. Republican strategists, led by White House chief political adviser Karl Rove, also see the proposal as an important element in their plan to expand the party's base among the nation's fast-growing Hispanic population.
The key prong in Bush's plan is a temporary-worker program that would offer the nation's estimated 10 million illegal immigrants a chance to earn legal status that would allow them to stay in the country as long as six years.
Once they register as temporary workers, they would be eligible to begin the long process of applying for citizenship or permanent residency.
"It's a compassionate way to treat people who come to our country. It recognizes the reality of the world in which we live," Bush said during a news conference last week. "There are some people -- there are some jobs in America that Americans won't do and others are willing to do."
But an increasingly vocal group of House Republicans is threatening to undercut Bush's vision, which the president has discussed with passion but has not formally advanced since taking office in 2001.
Many House Republicans oppose any effort to grant legal status to undocumented workers, saying it would have the effect of rewarding law-breakers. Instead, they are seeking to ratchet up enforcement efforts against undocumented workers, an approach with proven voter appeal if unproven results when it comes to slowing illegal immigration.
When the new Congress commences this month, key House Republicans are promising to push legislation to complete a controversial fence along the Mexican border near San Diego, to make it tougher for immigrants to attain asylum and to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving driver's licenses. At the insistence of Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis. -- and with the White House's approval -- Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., has promised to attach those measures "to the first must-pass legislation" that moves in the House next month.
Earlier this month, House Republicans wrested a pledge from Bush to cooperate in enacting tougher immigration provisions by blocking legislation to restructure the nation's intelligence community. The intelligence bill passed only after Bush promised to "work with" House Republicans to enact those measures.
Bush's concession meant that Congress will begin the year on an anti-immigration note, which promises to continue as many of those pushing for the tough enforcement measures also are likely to oppose the president's "guest worker" plan.
"I'm no longer the only person in the caucus bringing the issue of illegal immigration to the American people," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who heads the House's 71-member Immigration Reform Caucus, which has a section on its Web site listing crimes, health problems and other problems it says are caused by illegal immigrants. "Now others appear to be willing to go to the mat on it."
How the White House plans to reconcile its stated desire for a temporary-worker program with its pledge to toughen immigration laws is unclear, although some supporters of Bush's plan say the two goals are not incompatible. Backers of a guest-worker plan argue that there is no way to effectively crack down on undocumented workers, given the ineffectiveness of the nation's immigration laws. The new program, they said, would create incentives for people to enter the country legally.
Efforts to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants have been largely frustrated by a booming industry in forged documents. Attempts to stem the tide by building a fence and beefing up patrols along the southwestern border have only shifted much of the flow of illegal immigrants east from California, often to the rugged Arizona desert.
Hundreds of would-be illegal immigrants have died attempting to make the perilous journey across the southwestern border, even as an estimated 1 million illegal immigrants make it into the country each year.
Many supporters say a temporary-worker program would enhance national security by identifying who is in the country; by boosting the economy with a continuing supply of highly motivated, low-skill workers; and by helping undocumented workers avoid exploitation by granting them the protections that come with legal status. The workers, meanwhile, would be free to return to their home countries, allowing them to stay connected with their families.
"The idea is to make the system respond to the fact that we have an integrated labor market that interacts with Mexico and Central America," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrants' rights group. "You are trying to transform it from a black market, chaotic, hard-to-control flow to a more orderly, regulated flow."
Still, tougher enforcement provisions are popular among voters, particularly in areas where residents feel overwhelmed by illegal immigrants.
Rubbish! Congress will hopefully begin on an anti-illegal alien note. Nobody is against lawful immigration.
President BUSH is a good man, we know. He is being ill-advised by KARL ROVE on ILLEGAL ALIEN issue.
Leave it to the MSM to try to twist the obvious. Every Repub should start a sentence with ILLEGAL immigration.
"There are some people -- there are some jobs in America that Americans won't do and others are willing to do."
Never did like that line, it sounds elitist. It's the other way around, they want Mexicans to fill the jobs so they can pay less than they would pay to Americans.
Yes, there is no doubt that Bush's heart is always in the right place but on this subject well he just seems to have a blind eye.
At least two states ARE doing something more constructive with this problem, Oregon and Arizona, I really like what Arizona is doing.
There is no doubt. This is a hot-button issue. The White House really had no concept of just how devisive it is. The GOP victory was far too narrow to concede the Southwest and Western states in the next election. It is obvious by how the propostions to limit benefits to illegal aliens pass by such large majorities that it is a very crucial matter. We in the West and Southwest will not be ignored. The GOP will do well to pay attention to it's "law abiding" voting citizenship rather than the open borders minority.
Opposition is being foolish because they are not working to establish that ANY temporary status is not convertable to permanent status.
Change will happen. Why not ensure that temp workers can ONLY apply from their home country? Why not ensure the non-convertability of temp workers? Why not ensure that ANY illegal is permanently ineligible for citizenship?
The debate can be used to get the message out. If we don't have this debate, the democrats will be happy to leave millions of illegals flooding across the borders.
You got that right. Rove may be a genius on many things but immigration policy isn't one of them.
Me too. Sort of like: we elitists just can get our hands dirty, so let the misery escaping illegals do it. It is obscene.
"Rubbish! Congress will hopefully begin on an anti-illegal alien note. Nobody is against lawful immigration. "
"Rubbish!" B.S.! Then EXTENDED family, then EXTENDED family on social security...
It is really sad when your only option is to punish your party for leaving the gate open by voting for the oppostion in the next election. It is however "leverage". One way or another the gate will be open. Punish the party in power when the issue is not dealt with. I only wish now that the issue would have been brought to a "head" prior to the election.
And naturally, these 10 Million CRIMINALS will all of a sudden start obeying the law and go home after six years?!? Ok, sure, I'll buy that
Then again, since murder rates are dropping in all the big cities, we do need 'immigrants' who'll now do that work "which Americans refuse to do"!
The idea is to make the system respond to the fact that we have an integrated labor market that interacts with Mexico and Central America," said Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrants' rights group. "You are trying to transform it from a black market, chaotic, hard-to-control flow to a more orderly, regulated flow."
This guy is the Problem. He and his group are more concerned about the rights of the Illegal Immigrants and filling the Jobs with cheap illegal workers than he is about the Security of the United States ans it's Citizens, and the Enforcement of the Immigration Laws. Once again the Citizens of the the United States, the people who bear the burden of the TAXES to pay for all of this crap cannot get the Eletist A$$E$ that we voted into Office to Control our own Borders and Control Who comes into this country!!
Time to go to Washington and Let them know how we really feel! Anyone except Hildebeast running for Office in 2006 that will Control Our Borders I'm looking real hard. Time to get these bums who will not carryout there most important Constitutional Duty MUST be replaced!!
"We in the West and Southwest will not be ignored. The GOP will do well to pay attention to it's "law abiding" voting citizenship rather than the open borders minority."
If Bush forces through amnesty, it's going to be an uphill battle for us in NM, NV, and FL if the Dems have the sense to run an anti-amnesty candidate (especially an anti-amnesty candidate other than Hillary.) And the Dems will have a shot at CO, AZ, and maybe NC or VA.
First Hand - I live in a packing plant town. I remember when the jobs paid $15-18 dollars per hour. This was back in the eighties. After using illegal labor to break the union these jobs start at $10-12 dollars per hour. Now will someone please tell me what benfits these illegals bring to our country. If Migra would just perch on the door-steps of these packing plants and enforce the laws on the books a man could make a "family supporting wage" once again in this industry. Americans will do this work for a fair and equitable wage. I will gladly pay more for my chicken sandwich if you just send the damn illegals home.
I agree 100%....There is no job in America that cant be filled when the MONEY IS RIGHT!...its part of the free enterprise system....SUPPLY AND DEMAND!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.