Skip to comments.Immigration bill's failure disappoints president
Posted on 03/23/2002 12:25:55 AM PST by sarcasm
WASHINGTON -- In the weeks leading up to President Bush's trip to Latin America, including a stopover in Mexico, the White House was aggressively pushing Congress to approve a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States while applying for green cards.
The bill passed the House but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote.
The failure to get the bill signed into law in time for the trip abroad was a disappointment for Bush, who wanted to show Mexican President Vicente Fox that his administration was serious about helping the estimated 3 million to 4 million undocumented Mexican immigrants who live in the United States.
Bush, speaking to reporters the day before his Latin American trip, insisted that congressional approval of the measure is a friendly gesture to its southern neighbor.
"I want to show our friends, the Mexicans, that we are compassionate about people who live here on a legal basis, that we don't disrupt the families for people who are here legally," he said.
Passage of the bill would, in fact, allow certain undocumented immigrants to file residency applications without having to leave the country. Current law, covered by Section 245(i) of the U.S. immigration statute, requires such immigrants to return home for as long as 10 years.
To qualify, immigrants would need a family member or employer as a sponsor and need to prove the relationship existed before Aug. 15, 2001. They also would have to pay a $1,000 fine and prove that they were in the country on or before Dec. 21, 2000.
The Mexican government claims between 300,000 and 500,000 Mexicans could be eligible under 245(i).
But immigration experts said passage of 245(i) is a minor issue between the United States and Mexico, affecting a small number of immigrants.
"I think some people in the White House had hoped that this 245(i) bamboozle might fool Mexicans into thinking it was an extraordinary gesture, but the Mexicans understand this one is a minute gesture," said Demetrios Papademetriou, co-director of the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute. A change in 245(i) change "is to pretend as if we were doing something."
If the debate over 245(i) is any indication, that kind of legislation would be doomed.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said objections to the 245(i) provision by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va, and some Republicans made it difficult to bring the measure to a vote before the Senate left town.
Byrd is chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which has a major say in how much the administration can spend each year.
In an angry speech on the Senate floor this week, Byrd said he opposed the measure because he thought it would encourage more illegal immigration and would reopen "another crack in the system through which a potential terrorist can crawl."
"Section 245(i) acts as an incentive, a lure, for illegal immigration by suggesting that it is quicker and more convenient to enter the country illegally than to wait outside the United States to complete the visa application process," he said.
In one case a state trooper mentioned, there were hundreds of illegals together at a park beside a lake. The troopers were told by INS, "Let them go."
They arrest illegals all the time for various crimes. The first time a guy is arrested, his name is "Juan." He has false ID. "Juan" posts bond and never appears in court. The next time they arrest the same guy, his ID says he "Manuel." Law enforcement officers have no idea who the people they arrest really are! Illegal aliens SHARE the same ID card info with many of their own by simply using different photos on the cards.
We, who are citizens with proof of our identity, are going to be held accountable for our law-breaking. They know exactly who we are. Illegal aliens simply get away with all kinds of things because INS won't deport them and there is such massive identity fraud among them.
These law enforcement officers made it clear. Citizens have fewer rights and lattitude than illegal aliens.
Americans are now second-class citizens in our own country!"
What concievable business is this of Mexico's?
Why have I suddenly fallen in love with Senator Byrd? He isn't afraid to say the things our dear Republicans are terrified to say. I may move over to West Virginia and vote for him next time.
I know what you mean. And all this after the impeachment of Clinton on the basis that he violated the "rule of law". You have to wonder what that phrase means to Republicans (we know what it means to the Dems). Was the impeachment pure politics? Are principles just a farce for the Republican caucus? Is the "rule of law" simply an ad hoc bludgeon to use opportunistically? I don't like what I'm thinking.
So much for the President's down-payment on pandering to Latinos.
"We need more Amnesties."
Don't forget - that's a DemocRAT speaking.
They allowed the slime to "crawl" around in the White House during the '90's and rubber-stamped his initiatives -
and we ended up with 9/11.
Let's not forget that during all this hot-aired bluster.
I don't think this Frankenstein has been killed yet. But the peasants with torches and pitchforks are chasing it down.
More than a few have floated this theory, and I have posed this (yet unanswered) question to them:
If the Latinos flock to the GOP because the Dems blocked an Amnesty extension...
What will the RINOs have to promise them to stay?
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