Every week I will write a political issue that affects you and the world on you.
This week: Immigration
“Immigration Today? or Immigration Tomorrow? Stay Tuned for the Next Episode..”
Who would have thought that “Immigration Reform” could be the number one hit drama reality series in American Politics? For 10 episodes Politicians were behind Immigration Reform, but now face impasse? What is going on with Immigration Reform that has been stopped in its tracks? We’ve been waiting for at least eight years for a comprehensive Immigration reform (especially now with conservative support) but it looks like it will be another re-run episode. So what is really going then?
Here are the some of the issues (or episodes I would say) that Congress are facing and what are making “Immigration Reform” the number one hit series in American Politics.
Ep. 1.: Pathway to Citizenship
Fact: There is an estimated 11 million undocumented illegal immigrants in America. Hurdle: accommodating 11 million undocumented illegal immigrants legal status. And so in this episode it’s not so much the philosophy of citizenship but how to accommodate all 11 million immigrants.
The prospects of a bipartisan immigration deal, improved dramatically when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor groups approved deal on working visas, but the real test will come after the Senate’s Gang of Eight reveals in FINE PRINT the entire reform package next week.
The hurdles to obtaining probationary legal status would be minimal: a small fine and a criminal background check–but the idea that illegal immigrants will be gaining easier access to citizenship than legal immigrants (that have waited in line for their citizenship) does paint a condescending image. However, no image is worse than seeing children being taken away from their parents.The Gang of Eight have already made it clear that they want to make it easy for all undocumented workers to get citizenship, however, it’s about accommodating all 11 million immigrants–in terms of legal permanent addresses.
Ep. 2.: Anger “Conservative Media” Management
It’s no surprise that Fox News, and conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh are notorious for shredding every proposed legislation from the White House and from the Democratic party. But now with new conservative support, in the Senate Gang of Eight, conservative talk show hosts must hold their tongues or face another let down in the Latino community. It’s not that they hate Latinos, they just don’t want to “show” or “express” that they do.
In other news, Facebook is pushing immigration reform into High Tech Gear. The 28 year-old billionaire Mark Zuckerberg will be joining religious leaders, agricultural workers, advocacy groups and law makers to stump for immigration reform. Facebook will be officially launching a bipartisan team early this month.
To Follow Facebook Story: Tech Immigration Push
Ep. 3: Businesses Barking up the Wrong Immigration Tree.
A deal has just been made between by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor groups: to provide visas for low-skilled workers. A deal which some to believe would clear a path for immigration reform in the Senate, but instead, business are already barking at it; and are ready to go full throttle to tear it down dooming yet again an impasse. Construction industries and several business lobbyists industries, are saying the following: “Deeply concerned” about the temporary worker program; the cap on construction visas is “simply unrealistic and destined to fail”; “guest worker program fails to provide sufficient number of visas to meet market demand”; “guest worker programs will make it harder to fill critical labor openings”; and “guest worker programs will make it impossible to secure the border.”
The two main issues that are coming from a lot of business are: employment verification and capping the overflow of foreign workers in the U.S.. Labor unions have already successfully lobbied to cap 200,000 low-skilled foreign workers. Even though this deal would cap 15,000 visas per year to construction occupations, construction groups are arguing that adding another cap would hurt the recovering construction economy–and that the cap should be based on market demand, since this industry employs 6 million workers.
Since I am not an expert on subject matter of economics, it’s really hard for me to determine what is the market demand for construction workers–to make this argument a valid one? However, Tamar Jacoby, a spokesman from ImmigrationWorks USA (a coalition of business groups) praised the efforts of this deal while at the same time pointed its problematic flaws: “The Republican Senators in the Gang of Eight did the best they could..but the deal was skewed by union demands…the program is too small.” Jacoby along with Steve Calderia (CEO of International Franchise Association) believe that a guest worker program that permits a market based supply of a lower-skill worker is essential. Without it no reform bill would exist.
Ep. 4: Congress: Welcome to the Congressional House of Pain
Where all legislative bills begin and end life, passing a comprehensive Immigration Reform bill through both the House and Senate will take every ounce of will-power and most importantly bipartisan tolerance, If America wants to do right with Latino-voting Community. In Congress, everyone seems to be on the same page on Immigration, but not everyone seems to be turning the page at the same time.
Marco Rubio–Florida Latino Republican, Member of the The Gang of Eight, and last hope for a bipartisan immigration deal–has expressed deep concerns of the immigration reform process, saying that he wishes to call for “extensive hearings on the soon-to-be-unveiled immigration bill.” In other words, Marco Rubio along with other prominent Republicans wishes to slow down than rush legal citizenship–more importantly the word “amnesty” offends a lot of Republicans.
“I think this is a very high risk operation and a very dangerous game,” said Sen. Jeff Session (R-Ala.), a leading critic of the effort. “I think that if we have a bill that includes amnesty for people who knowingly broke the law, there will be strong opposition, said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). “Just because you’re eligible to apply for a green card doesn’t mean you get it on that day.” says Sen. Marco Rubio. Democrats on the other hand wishes to see the process of Immigration Reform much faster.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy vowed to move swiftly on immigration legislation despite conservative cowardice. Leahy: “I have every intention of ensuring that debate and consideration of any future comprehensive immigration reform will be thorough..I will however remain mindful of the urgent need for us to actually get to the work of debating and considering amendments without unnecessary delay.” A slow down of the legislative process would undermine any bipartisanship to pass this bill–this has been going on since it was introduced in the Bush Administration years–however one thing still remains: Can Marco Rubio buy it or sell it?
Rubio is the lead actor in this episode, and he is the face of bipartisanship. He must decide whether to join the Senate group and unite to defeat controversial amendments or to side fellow conservatives who want to move the bill further to the right, even if it may upset the fragile bipartisan coalition. Not only that but the House must approve it. And they (which is the controlled Republican majority), have their own amendments in mind that they would like to see added onto the bill: undocumented immigrants must “plead guilty” to breaking immigration laws before even considering their legal status.
5.) Who’s gonna pick up the Check?
Every idea is great but who is going to finance it? Better yet who is going to pick up the check? American tax payer money or from thin air? The main argument of why not to push Immigration Reform too quickly is that it’s too costly. Here’s is what the mathematical equation would look like if immigration reform does pass into law:
11 million undocumented immigrants (X) the cost of one immigrant to receive English and civic training (X) the cost of one immigrant to gain access to Medicare and Obamacare benefits (+) Increase border security= $$$$$
The Center for immigration Studies, a major conservative critic of a comprehensive bill, released a study Tuesday predicting that the government would have to incur an average cost of $2,000 for each immigrant who would be brought into the system. Sen Jim DeMint (R-SC) plans to soon release cost estimates, arguing that federal benefits eventually given to millions of additional green card holders and citizens would worsen the country’s already dire fiscal situation.
These are the Episodes that are making Immigration Reform the number one hit drama series in American Politics Stay tuned next week, to see the unveiling of the Gang of Eight’s Immigration Reform package.