Chinga La Migra

The bi-partisan immigration reform plan from the gang of 8 sounds like “amnesty” to me:

* While these security measures are being put into place, we will simultaneously require those who came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the government. This will include passing a background check and settling their debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status, which will allow them to live and work legally in the United States. Individuals with a serious criminal background or others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal status and subject to deportation. Illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes face immediate deportation.
[…]
* Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.

Minor children who entered the country with their parents won’t face those hurdles, so this essentially includes the DREAM act. Those who entered the country to work as migrant farm labor have a special agricultural worker program, which isn’t detailed in the proposal but is apparently less stringent.

The first participant to take a match to this thing in last year’s Republican Presidental Debates would have been given a ten minute standing ovation. It’s got a lot of tough enforcement talk, but as far as I can tell, it’s essentially what the Democrats have wanted all along. I can’t believe it will pass the House.

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68 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    It’s got a lot of tough enforcement talk

    I am concerned about press reports that say some of the benefits won’t kick in until certain enforcement goals are met. That condition could be a way to gum up the works. Too soon to tell, however.

  2. 2
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Tough enforcement talk?

    Does it have the mandatory stripping of citizenship and forced deportation to Somalia of employers that make a practice of hiring undocumented aliens?

    No? So not so tough.

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    This part concerns me:

    We recognize that Americans living along the Southwest border are key to recognizing and understanding when the border is truly secure. Our legislation will create a commission comprised of governors, attorneys general, and community leaders living along the Southwest border to monitor the progress of securing our border and to make a recommendation regarding when the bill’s security measures outlined in the legislation are completed.

    Several of the provisions of the plan are contingent on this commission declaring the border secure. Does anyone think that Jan Brewer for one will *ever* declare the border to be secure? Even if it’s lined with a moat filled with sharks with frickin laser beams on their heads?

  4. 4
    Mark S. says:

    “settling their debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes”

    I need more details. I remember one of the proposals back in 2006 had a $25,000 fine for illegal immigrants.

  5. 5
    nalbar says:

    The house? This won’t pass the Senate! The wolves are already howling for RINO blood.

  6. 6
    Anonymous At Work says:

    The Guest Worker program and the “history of employment” provisions send shivers down my spine. Both of those might be helpful but might also be ways for employers to knowingly hire currently- or formerly-illegal immigrants and control their lives.
    Also, as Georgia and Alabama’s rotten crops attested to, the border states aren’t the only ones using illegal immigrants as field workers. How those states try to get into the cheap labor market for guest workers will be a key wrinkle.

  7. 7
    Face says:

    others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible

    Ya cant get much more vague, subjective, and thus open to abuse than this clause.

    Too, also please tell me they define “serious crime”, otherwise this is guarenteed to be watered down and interpreted by the Jingos as anyone with a parking ticket.

  8. 8
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Would these immigrants be absorbed in the EB category? Are they increasing the green card quotas allotted to this category? Is USCIS going to hire more people to deal with all the extra paper work this is going to generate?

    My prediction, chance of success less than 10%

  9. 9
    Geoduck says:

    Put me in the “it’ll never pass the House” camp. I don’t see much of anything passing the House..

  10. 10
    Culture of Truth says:

    I think it could pass. Having said that, it always better to vote no, saying ‘it didn’t go far enough’ or ‘it didn’t have enough enforcement’ or this, or that…

  11. 11
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Geoduck: Or the Senate either. The immigration reform that did not pass the Congress when Bush was President was more stringent than this and the GOP was less crazy, it still did not pass. This bill will revive the flagging careers of many a hate radio jocks and Lou Dobbs. Is he still on TV?

  12. 12
    chopper says:

    so obama is supposed to unveil his version tomorrow, and so a bunch of senators try to cock block him, including rubio.

    i know rubio wants to run in ’16, but when this thing fails obama looks much better than he does. especially if it fails in the senate. the fact that O is behind comprehensive immigration reform means the GOP will strangle this thing in the cradle.

  13. 13
    chopper says:

    @nalbar:

    maybe schumer will finally be willing to push hard for filibuster reform after watching his immigration reform package get filibustered to shit.

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    if it passes the House you will know who is running the GOP currently. It will pass if the 1% who own the GOP are actually running the show. If it fails to pass that means the teabaggers are running the show.

    The GOP needs to make this issue go away & the only way they can do that is to piss all over their previously “deeply held” beliefs – and the teatards. It would be fun to cheer for them to crush the bill but that would cause too much pain to too many people who do not deserve it. We have to hope it passes but that the goopers are still publicly insulting and demeaning to people of non-European ancestry so that we never forget who they really are

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    @Geoduck: Couldn’t this pass the House the same way the other shit has? 20-30 non-crazy GOPers and all the Dems?

  16. 16
    dr. bloor says:

    It’s got a lot of tough enforcement talk, but as far as I can tell, it’s essentially what the Democrats have wanted all along.

    If only Senator Lieberman was still in the Senate to save us from ourselves.

  17. 17
    Elizabelle says:

    @dmsilev:

    What does it matter if the “border is secure”?

    If migrants realize they will be hired and will make money once they arrive, that fence could be fifty feet high and have little effect.

    Serious and relatively fast penalties on employers who hire those without work authorization? (We’re not talking nannies and gardeners here; maybe companies with more than, say ten or fifteen employees and up, in either full-time or part-time status.)

    That will be more effective.

    And raise the cost of labor.

    Which is why it apparently has not been pursued.

    Got to remain business friendly. And build that damn useless border wall.

  18. 18
    General Stuck says:

    It really is amnesty, as defined by the tea party xenophobes, and fascinating that this is the result of a first attempt that republicans signed on to. It is as if they already know that a pathway to citizenship was required to pass the House, with dem votes. The tea tards could be democrats dreams come true.

    This is like the same splitting of the dems into DLC and liberals that Reagan accomplished. Maybe dems can stop being afraid of Reagan’s ghost, finally put to rest by the Kenyan Usurper. Poetic justice. Ride MUP Ride

  19. 19
    Joey Maloney says:

    @dmsilev: They can top the border wall with all the headless corpses found in the Arizona desert.

  20. 20
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Given that Republicans desperately need the Latino vote (or more of it), I can’t imagine that some form of immigration reform won’t pass the House.

  21. 21
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Would be nice for the Senate to pass this, then have Reid send out mailers to his NV peeps about they “crushed the conservatives, broke their spines, and raped their llamas”, ala the McConnell mailer about the filibuster shit. That would send the AM dial on fire and popcorn sales would explode.

  22. 22
    Todd says:

    @Elizabelle:

    And build that damn useless border wall.

    I’ve been appalled at the number of “conservatives” who’ve been so eager to give up on the longstanding agricultural and ranching use of the entire length of the Rio Grande, all to assuage their racism.

  23. 23
    Cassidy says:

    I got an economic question. When immigrant workers get paid and send the cash back home, is that literally taking money out of our economy? Does it somehow work it’s way back? Would it be better for our economy as a whole to say “bring the whole family, amigo”?

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    What was the point of them coming out with this today? Just to be out with something before President Obama unveils his proposal tomorrow?

  25. 25
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Patricia Kayden: the house members who are in office didn’t need that vote and probably won’t for awhile.

  26. 26
    General Stuck says:

    All dems need to pass a bill like this is a minimum of five GOP votes to beat a filibuster. Maybe one of two more to cover possible nay blue dog votes. Senators aren’t quite as belligerent as House wingnuts on the amnesty thing, but it would have to have some sizable border security efforts. That dems won’t go for if those security measures are contingent to when the path to citizenship kicks in. The best and most rational theory is after the welcoming and organizing provisions for a temp worker program is in effect, that will do more to slow down the sneaking in on foot at the border. And less enforcement would be necessary.

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    “Making the border secure” is a total pain in the ass for people who live near the border. I have a friend who works in an area near our southern border and just to do his job he has to go through an immigration checkpoint. Adds up to an hour every time he has to drive that route, which is most days of the week.

  28. 28
    dmsilev says:

    @Violet: I saw one analysis which posited that since many Republicans have an uncontrolled allergic reaction to anything Obama proposes, having the Senate float a plan first has the potential to remove a few Obama-cooties from the idea.

  29. 29
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Suffern ACE: But RMoney only got 27% of the Latino vote — the lowest for a Republican since Bob Dole. That seems to sting them each time its mentioned.

  30. 30
    wonkie says:

    Yes, It’s all about who is runing the show. Republicans don’t really care about the substance of legislation. They only care about the optics and the opportuinties for posturing. It wo’t matter tot hem that this bill has everything iin ti that they previously opposed. What will matter is how they see it affectiing their chances of re-election. In other words, is it more important to demogue now about evil illegals, or is it more important to stop pissing off brown people who wil vote agasint them in the future?

  31. 31
    Todd says:

    @Cassidy:

    When immigrant workers get paid and send the cash back home, is that literally taking money out of our economy

    The theory is that money sent away isn’t inflationary, as it isn’t chasing goods or services here.

  32. 32
    max says:

    It’s got a lot of tough enforcement talk, but as far as I can tell, it’s essentially what the Democrats have wanted all along.

    Well, here’s a bad case of half-empty, half-full. Or all-empty, all-full.

    Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.

    Another word, Hispanics who have lived for 15 years don’t get to be citizens eventually, they eventually get to be ‘lawful permanent residents’. Or another words, if they’ve been here for a long time and have (obviously) been getting by, they have to pay a bunch of money and go to a bunch of civics classes for the opportunity to not be citizens.

    Look, man, my dealbreaker here is that if they don’t get to be citizens in a reasonable period of time without engaging in the labors of Hercules, I don’t see any reason to give the R’s what they want on everything else and also let them off the hook.

    If this is what the Democrats wanted, then they have been wanting the wrong things.

    Minor children who entered the country with their parents won’t face those hurdles, so this essentially includes the DREAM act.

    That would be good, yes.

    Those who entered the country to work as migrant farm labor have a special agricultural worker program, which isn’t detailed in the proposal but is apparently less stringent.

    You know those movies with the white prison guard carrying a shotgun and watching a bunch of black guys working on a road? I expect that any ‘agricultural’/’guest worker’ program is pretty much going to look like that until they show me the protections that make it otherwise. If the path to citizenship is too difficult, we get a situation in which resident hispanics effectively wind up finding it easier to be ‘guest workers’ and off we go. That’s a lot of things, but amnesty it ain’t. This doesn’t nearly as good as 1986 under St. Ronnie.

    The first participant to take a match to this thing in last year’s Republican Presidental Debates would have been given a ten minute standing ovation.

    And he’ll get one next time too.

    I can’t believe it will pass the House.

    It might not, but clearly they’re better negotiators than we are.

    max
    [‘I am totally with Anonymous at Work.’]

  33. 33
    General Stuck says:

    I wish democrats would stop with the filibuster death fantasies. It is not going anywhere, as no senator wants to give up that power in the here and now. And dems have so much more to lose with the event of another republican run government like Bush had. Not going to happen, other than some changes around the edges. And no, Bush didn’t get everything he wanted with dems using or threatening filibuster, and also no that republicans would certainly ditch the filibuster on legislation, due to fearing dems would go full commie. As well, the evidence is that republicans are finally paying some price for their intransigence and obstruction, at the polls and in low general approval of the right wing brand as is, where it should be.

  34. 34
    Todd says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    But RMoney only got 27% of the Latino vote — the lowest for a Republican since Bob Dole

    Note that even Grampy McGrumpy actively sought out Latinos – remember the incident when he brought the music act that did “Gasolina” to that predominantly Latino high school? Classic misunderstanding of what the song meant, but he was at least giving it a shot.

    Back when I was a sort of wingnut, I noticed that the goobers were taking over on immigration, and was puzzled as to why, because I thought it would beecome an electoral disaster for the GOP.

  35. 35
    PeakVT says:

    @Cassidy: I think you’d need to look at that on a country-by-country basis, comparing remittances with the trade balance. Anyway, total remittances were about $50 billion in 2009 according to the intertubes, which was about 0.3% of the economy.

  36. 36
    Mark S. says:

    @max:

    Look, man, my dealbreaker here is that if they don’t get to be citizens in a reasonable period of time without engaging in the labors of Hercules, I don’t see any reason to give the R’s what they want on everything else and also let them off the hook.

    I agree.

  37. 37
    Roger Moore says:

    @max:

    Another word, Hispanics who have lived for 15 years don’t get to be citizens eventually, they eventually get to be ‘lawful permanent residents’.

    Except that any permanent resident can apply for citizenship after 5 years. There’s no quota system, which makes it a much easier process in practice than getting permanent residency in the first place.

  38. 38
    General Stuck says:

    The beauty of the current conditions in congress for passing bills, is that the only possible way something like this becomes law, it will have to be largely a dem/liberal bill on the key sticking points, to get the votes to pass the House. And if the nutter leaders don’t comply, then the bill fails and republicans get all the blame because they run the House. It is elegant in a permanent self administered GOP bitchslap/

  39. 39
    schrodinger's cat says:

    And even in getting permanent residency it is the first step, approval of the intent to immigrate, or form I-140 that is the biggest hurdle.

  40. 40
    gene108 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Would these immigrants be absorbed in the EB category? Are they increasing the green card quotas allotted to this category? Is USCIS going to hire more people to deal with all the extra paper work this is going to generate?

    My feeling is Congress doesn’t have enough of an understanding of how USCIS works for them to be able to think far enough ahead to figure out what category of Green Card the amnestied illegals will fall into, the quota limits that are already backlogged for Mexico that would need to be increased or else the amnestied illegals will be waiting 20 years for a GC and the need for additional man power to push the paperwork.

    Kind of like with the PPACA requiring businesses to give out 1099’s to people they don’t normally give 1099’s to and having that provision dropped because it wasn’t workable.

    At some level, Congresscritters just don’t understand how things – in the government or private sector – work.

  41. 41
    NotMax says:

    Registering undocumented immigrants with the government is the first step to their being confiscated.

    Or something.

    settling their debt to society

    So their labor (often at a rate of pay below the legal minimum) and what that labor has provided the society holds no value whatsoever, huh?

  42. 42
    Feudalism Now! says:

    The Border Moat and training for the sharks with head lasers is a stimulus program for Canadian border states.
    This has no chance to pass the Teahadis.

  43. 43
    sb says:

    I can’t believe it will pass the House.

    I can’t shake the thought that this is the chance for sane Repugs to finally break from the Tea Partiers, assuming there are sane Repugs left. I can see the TPers voting against it but enough sane Repugs will vote for it because the sane R’s know that if they don’t appeal to a broader demographic–hell, any demographic outside of caucasian males–they’re going to have a helluva time winning an election.

    Then again, this analysis is being pulled out of my ass so maybe punditry is in my future?

  44. 44
    Nylund says:

    So, it goes to the house. The Tea Party base of the GOP screams “RINO!” at anyone who votes for it. That person gets beaten in the GOP primaries by a good ol’ fashioned “real American” bigot. The crazy person who wins the primaries loses the general race. Result is Democrat wins, and a “moderate” immigration package happens. It takes a few years, and/or can be screwed up if the crazy GOPer can win the general (say, if it’s a house rep and the district is heavily gerrymandered). And that right there, is why the political power of the modern GOP relies so heavily on how you draw the district lines.

  45. 45
    MattF says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how the bipartisanship caucus will deal with the (I predict) partisan opposition to this proposal. Particularly if Obama just says “Hey, I think that’s pretty good.” I can’t see any winger supporting anything that Obama might approve of.

  46. 46
    General Stuck says:

    @sb:

    Then again, this analysis is being pulled out of my ass so maybe punditry is in my future?

    I personally use the golf grip model of hand over thumb for a better grip pulling the punditry out from its dark and stinky lair.

  47. 47
    sb says:

    @General Stuck: Damn, I wish I thought of that before I posted.

  48. 48
    sb says:

    @General Stuck: See, I use the interlocking grip. Probably why I get so much slippage.

    Yeah, I’ll stop now.

  49. 49
    liberal says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki:

    Does it have the mandatory stripping of citizenship and forced deportation to Somalia of employers that make a practice of hiring undocumented aliens?

    This is precisely the point.

    As we all know, businesses love immigration, because it lowers the cost of labor.

    And “enforcement” flat out doesn’t work, except perhaps to put immigrants in an even greater bind, leading indirectly to more downward pressure on wages.

    Something that would work would be nasty, draconian penalties on employers (stiff fines and prison terms). But that would never fly.

  50. 50
    General Stuck says:

    It is Shakespearean , a tragicomedy with tectonic features for American politics. The wingnuts are faced with the near certain specter of becoming a permanent minority party if they don’t get this done, and if they do, it is stepping into the breach of an intraparty civil war to break free of the super crazies. There isn’t enough popcorn in the world.

  51. 51
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I see the bill has the right amount of middle of the roadiness for lots of people here to hate it.

  52. 52
    Cassidy says:

    @PeakVT: I have no clue about the topic. That’s why I’m hoping someone here can give it the Army (6th Grade) treatment for me.

  53. 53
    liberal says:

    @max:

    I expect that any ‘agricultural’/’guest worker’ program is pretty much going to look like that until they show me the protections that make it otherwise.

    Agreed, but even less-nasty-looking things like H-1B have the appearance of indentured servitude.

  54. 54
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @gene108:

    My feeling is Congress doesn’t have enough of an understanding of how USCIS works

    My guess is that you can count the number of congresscritters who have a good understanding of how USCIS implements the patchwork quilt of immigration law without needing a second hand.

    Cynically, why should they? For the most part, their election and re-election doesn’t depend upon people who have experience of the immigration system. In the House, particularly, you can get your state leg to gerrymander your district so that it’s barely an issue. Even in the rural southern states where there’s a tacit understanding of the role migrant workers play in the economy, it didn’t get translated into anything on election day.

  55. 55
    General Stuck says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    It’s like clockwork.

  56. 56
    PeakVT says:

    @Cassidy: In a simplistic two country model, if residents of country A send residents of country B some money in currency A, the recipients have the choice of 1) hoarding it or burning it for fuel (same practical effect), or 2) using it to import stuff from country A. If the senders in country A are choosing to forego some consumption of things produced in country A in favor of relatives in country B consuming imports from country A, then it shouldn’t make any difference in employment in country A. A globalized economy makes reality a bit more difficult to analyze. But since remittances are small relative to the economy, the effect on jobs is likely to be small as well. At most, remittances would reduce the number of jobs by about 0.3%.

  57. 57
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Some of the same people who have had an experience with the immigration system do eventually become naturalized citizens. I remember reading in Slate, that the GOP lost the newly naturalized citizen vote pretty badly, like 70% to 30% or something like that.

    All this anti-immigrant talk makes the newly naturalized citizens, anti-GOP. You don’t have to be Latino for that.

  58. 58
    Yutsano says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: My mom’s cousin is Canadian. She has had a work visa that gets relatively easily renewed each time it comes up and has her green card, but when I asked if she thought about citizenship I got the stare of death. She also made sure her kids are dualies, although they’ve never been up North. I should kidnap them for a long weekend, they’re fun girls. Just an anecdote, no real point.

  59. 59
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Yutsano: A friend of mine, who is from Russia, married to an American citizen, became a citizen after a long time as a permanent resident, just to teach GOP a lesson in the last election She is very liberal.

    The Green Card is an immigrant visa, you don’t a special work visa if you are a permanent resident. You just need to renew it every ten years, I think. Also if you so choose you can become a citizen after 5 years. There are many people who are
    content to be permanent residents without becoming citizens, your aunt is not alone.

  60. 60
    sal says:

    How are they supposed to provide employment history, when by definition any employment has been illegal? Are employers going to fess up to employing them and face fines and/or whatever other de facto toothless penalties currently exist? I guess solving conundrums like this is why the JOB CREATORS!!!! rake in the big dough.

  61. 61
    Egypt Steve says:

    Still recall the dirty, withering look I got from my high school Spanish teacher when I once offered “chingar” as an example of an “-ar” verb. Had to wash my mouth out with a sopapilla.

  62. 62
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    The Green Card is an immigrant visa, you don’t a special work visa if you are a permanent resident. You just need to renew it every ten years, I think.

    Every two years, actually.

  63. 63
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Tonybrown74: It is 10 years

    How to Apply To Renew a Green Card

    If you are a permanent resident whose 10-year green card has expired or will expire within the next 6 months, you may begin the renewal process by:

    Online E-Filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
    Filing a paper Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card by mail.

    If you are a permanent resident whose 10-year green card has expired or will expire within the next 6 months, you may begin the renewal process by:

    Online E-Filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
    Filing a paper Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card by mail.

    More at this link from the USCIS

  64. 64
    Suffern ACE says:

    @max:

    engaging in the labors of Hercules

    There is nothing laborious in those requirements that you mention. In fact, it seems surprisingly light, given that those are what legal immigrants need to go through to either obtain work permits or naturalization. Illegal immigrants who wish to become legal so that they can work legally will need to do what the other immigrants have to do before or after they arrive.

  65. 65
    Heliopause says:

    Divorced from its political context the bill is punitive and stupid. Masses of people treated like criminals and forced through pointless bureaucratic hoops, billions wasted on danged fences and security guards in the desert. Yet, it’s probably the best we could reasonably hope for, so might as well pass it (assuming it’s possible to pass anything in the House).

  66. 66
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Heliopause: O.K. What is the punative part of it? They have to pay their back taxes? They need to pass a background check like the other immigrants do? Deal with government bureaucrats like the legal immigrants do? Have to take the civics test like the naturalized citizens do? Pay the fine in lieu of deportation?

  67. 67
    Heliopause says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Yes, some of those things, plus some others. Our country, like many other countries, is rather assholish to immigrants.

  68. 68
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Tonybrown74:

    Every two years, actually.

    Actually, no. Permanent residence is just that. You now have to renew the card every ten years — partly for an updated photo, partly to put money in the USCIS bank account, partly to nudge people who are eligible for naturalization to become citizens. There’s conditional permanent residence, where the conditions are removed after two years, but that’s mainly for those recently married to US citizens.

    Born-in-the-USAians largely don’t need to know this stuff, but they ought to be aware of some of it in order to have a conversation about immigration policy.

    @Suffern ACE:

    Illegal immigrants who wish to become legal so that they can work legally will need to do what the other immigrants have to do before or after they arrive.

    There’s a strain of thought that any legalization process entails forcing those previously illegal to endure the Kafkaesque mess of the existing system, because people who took the legal route had to suffer through it. Here’s a novel suggestion: why not make the system less shitty for legal immigrants at the same time?

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