Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Security and enforcement funding a part of today's Presidential pitch

From FOX News:

GOP negotiators of an immigration reform bill are crafting a large border security amendment with mandatory, immediate funding that they hope will assuage concerns of both Republicans and Democrats, FOX News has learned.

The senators are looking at a way to please conservatives who are skeptical Congress will ever fund the bill's border security provisions, as well as keep Democratic negotiators on board in a last ditch effort to save the comprehensive reform bill.

It is a political tightrope fraught with peril, but the members know they need more Republican support to break through the logjam.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a principle author of the amendment with Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and Mel Martinez, says his amendment is designed to be "a confidence builder" to address members' concerns that ramped up border security provisions in the bill won't, in the end, get funded.

Graham hopes to provide $4.4 billion the day the bill is signed, through an estimate in fees and fines in the current immigration bill, to be used to beef up all the border security measures in the bill, with an additional $800 million for further measures, taking from measures put forward last year by New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg who called for more investment in capital infrastructure, like unmanned aerial vehicles and new Coast Guard boats.

Graham said this $4.4 billion would be borrowed from the Treasury and repaid once the fines and fees from the bill are collected, like the $5,000 fine each illegal has to pay for a work visa, called a "Z visa." Graham said it would be better to do it this way, rather than an emergency funding bill, which goes directly to increasing the deficit.

"If you put the money into this bill, it goes a long way toward building confidence," Graham predicted.

Visa overstays will become a crime under the Graham-Kyl-Martinez amendment, and repeat offenders would face mandatory jail time, deportation, and a ban from ever re-entering the U.S. It is unclear what Democratic negotiators like Sen. Edward Kennedy will do. He has not supported this kind of stiff penalty in the past.

Graham would also forever bar employers from participating in the guest worker program if they have violated immigration laws repeatedly.

It is unclear if this approach can work. "They tell me it can be done," Graham said, but he added that his staff is investigating this now.

OK, two points to start with. First, Senator Kennedy isn't going to go along with the sort of penalties they're talking about regarding employers. Second, and most importantly, where's the guarantee? They can allocate all the funds they want to, but there is no guarantee yet in this bill that all the enforcement and security measures will be attended to. It's sort of like promising a kid around Christmas that Santa will give them what they want the most, and then having a very disappointed child on Christmas Day when Santa doesn't come through.

Furthermore, while they may "break the logjam" in the Senate, can they do that with America? Can they get the nation behind this bill. "Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you; you're not getting a third chance to fool me now." I just don't see how this changes anything. Not only do these so-called "concessions" not change our mind, but we're still waiting to see how they're going to treat people that come from jihadist-sympathizing nations regardless of whether or not those nations publicly proclaim their support in our war for us.

If I were in any of these negotiations today, I think I would've told those present that they don't have a deal. Better to be right than bought, and that's what these negotiations smell like. Also, I'm not sure of Graham's idea of "borrowing" the funds can work. As it stands, the provisions for forcing illegal aliens to pay back taxes equates to raising revenue. As Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution stipulates, all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House, so I'm not sure that will work.

This bill still has several problems, the least of which is passing Constitutional muster, along with enforcement and national security. We hope that the "holdouts" don't fall for this. It doesn't seem to us like it will pass by Senator Kennedy with ease, and it still looks like it might be dead heading to the House.

Publius II


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