By Rhonda Deniston
The 2013 Immigration Reform Bill leaves American’s with a sense of skepticism, lack of confidence and trust in government. First, the bill is touted as a bipartisan effort; can we really call 68-32 bipartisan? Fifty-four Democrats, and fourteen Republicans, noting three times more Democrat’s as Republicans, cast votes in favor of passage.
The bill on its surface sounds pretty wonderful. However, there are problems with some of the primary measures in the bill. The bill calls for doubling the size of the Border Patrol (BP). The problem seen with this is that already the BP has been limited in its capability by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). There has been many reports that BP and local law enforcement have had their hands tied by DHS and have in many cases been rendered impotent by DHS. It seems meaningless to double the size of BP if they are not allowed to preform their duties adequately. Furthermore, there has been no talk of what to do with illegal immigrants once they are detained. Does the bill call for more facilities to detain foreign intruders; or do we let DHS release illegal immigrants into the general population due to budget constraints, to include criminal aliens?
In addition the bill promises 700 miles of border fencing. Border fencing has already been promised under the Secure Fence Act in 2006 authorizing 700 mile of fence then, as well as in 2010. Here we are in 2013 and 700 miles of border fence being promised as if it is a new idea. Furthermore, the President would have veto power to again delay, deter or refuse this fencing, leaving the American people with a sense of distrust and no confidence in government.
The bill also calls for DHS to “establish” a biometric tracking system to track visa over-stays. Establish doesn’t effectively mean implement, which seems more like just a play on words than any active enforcement. Also, the Senate bill restricts the number of agricultural visas. Restricting agricultural visas will not support the need for unskilled labor and the unintended consequence of this restriction is, more illegal immigration in order to meet the demand for agricultural help. It makes more sense to let temporary workers have work visas rather than legalization. In addition, the bill includes E-verify, great idea, but those who continue to hire illegal immigrants are not going to use E-verify anyway. Strict penalties should be imposed on employers who partake in these kinds of practices, but who will enforce employers fines for misconduct or will government continue to turn a blind eye?
The biggest concern Americans view is the promise that the border will be secure first. However, the executive branch under the Senate Bill has the power to certify whether the border is secure or not. As seen in the past the American people hear echoes that the border is more secure now than ever before. Some how the American people are not buying that statement any longer. The power to certify whether the border is officially secure should be by congress, not the president. The American people fear the border will not be secure and that mass amnesty will take place as a result of full passage of the bill and the border will never be secured.
The prediction is that the House of Representatives will not pass the Senate version of the bill. Moreover, we can expect to see the House produce a bill of their own; a bill that would entertain the idea of rewarding cities and states with grants for enforcing border security, rather than demonizing and punishing states for doing the job the federal government should be doing effectively in the first place.
Will our borders truly be secured first as promised; or will Americans see mass amnesty and will our borders continue to stay wide open to the demise of American sovereignty? The Senate version of immigration reform is certainly believed to be genuine, and from the heart with good intentions. However, who is listening to what American’s want? Americans fear just like the healthcare bill, that we will have to pass the bill before we really know what is in it, and that it will be passed against the will of the people. The government has consistently sold the American one version of an idea and has a long track record of doing exactly the opposite. We can expect the American people are no longer going to sit back and allow a lack of accountability in government.