Friday, June 15, 2007

Immigration Bill Must Be Revised To Pass

Due to both bitter past and present experience, and despite a lot of pablum being produced right now by the bipartisan coalition headed by President Bush, it seems likely that without substantial revision the immigration legislation being considered by Congress will not pass this year.

The recent vote against cloture in the Senate is a strong indication that most Republicans in Congress and a significant number of Democrats are not willing to go along with anything that does not incorporate far more action to keep the American border with Mexico more firmly
closed to illegal immigrants, and, at the same time, restrict amnesty for the 12 million already here.

The fact is that despite the polls, there is a substantial and perhaps decisive minority of the American people who are uneasy about the massive illegal immigration that took place after passage of the 1986 Immigration act and continues to this day.

In 1986,, there were an estimated three million illegal immigrants in the United States, and the law's sponsors promised that the amnesty provisions approved that year, combined with better enforcement at the border, would solve the nation's immigration problems.

Far from doing that, the 1986 legislation only encouraged millions more people to come, largely from Mexico and Latin America, but from both Asia and Europe as well. Enforcement proved entirely inadequate.

This is really not surprising. The fact is, both the government's resources and willpower are lacking, and without a major change in attitude will continue to be lacking. We see from recent experience that the U.S. Government can't even successfully implement new requirements that every American citizen returning to the country carry a passport, including those coming from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Since the State Department was inadequately staffed to process the number of passport applications that flooded in, the requirement has had to be postponed.

The immigration legislation already proposed talks of border enforcement, but, as Time magazine pointed out in a long article this week, it has many caveats stating that this will go ahead only if the money is available. So far, it isn't available, and, even if it were, it is doubtful the Immigration and Naturalization Service could gear up expeditiously to use it.

If there is anything that has become clear from recent experience -- both with Iraq and Hurricane Katrina -- it is that the national administration is prone to vastly underestimate the numbers of men and women that will be required, if major policy goals are to be successfully implemented. Inadequate numbers of people on the ground, inadequate resources, have meant substantial failure thus far in both the war and the hurricane relief.

The senators who voted against cloture are certainly going to insist upon passage of a number of amendments, before they agree to cut off debate on the immigration bill, and we have already seen that the skills and perseverance of the Senate majority leader, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, are very much in question. He not only often says the wrong thing, he does not really understand the psychology of the Senate.

The tactic adopted by the bill's proponents on the amnesty is to incorporate a number of fees and bureaucratic restrictions to impede it. But to say the least, these rules have to be altered to make the bill more acceptable, and more workable. Time magazine took issue this week with those, like Sen. John McCain, who have proclaimed this is not really an amnesty bill. It is, but it is so loaded with impediments, it may actually, in its present form, make things worse for those struggling to legalize themselves.

There is no real reason for optimism that Congress will be able to work all this out. As I said at the outset of this blog, I doubt we're going to see this legislation passed this year.

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Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo has been proven in recent weeks more clearly than ever before to be an unsatisfactory public official. He is unwilling to be truthful or even mildly informative about the circumstances of an accident that occurred to his city-provided SUV, he has been fined for campaign funding violations, and he has sought to improperly take cases away from the District Attorney, who he is planning to challenge in the next election. His hardline statements in the Paris Hilton affair were ludicrous, given his own wife's record of driving with a suspended license and serving no jail time whatsoever.

Already, last year, he tried to defeat Jerry Brown for the Democratic nomination for state Attorney General through demagoguery, and he turned out to have lied about his resume.

Under these circumstances, Delgadillo should resign his office and leave public life permanently. If he were an attorney, which he is not, I'd say L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez would be a good replacement. (That is meant as a joke).

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1 Comments:

Anonymous McRib said...

Rocky, (Tee-Hee, what a bogus name) might want to apply for Nifong's old job. I hear there's an opening. He would fit right in with the faithless Duke faculty and administration.

6/15/2007 1:50 PM  

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