Thursday, May 18, 2006

The White House Statement Doesn't Add Up

Thank God for Jim Sensenbrenner--maybe.

He makes it clear that the White House is playing games with the immigration issue. Well, we kinda thought that. On the other hand, 'playing games' is not the sort of thing that Our President wants on his official biography, is it?

"He basically turned his back on provisions of the House bill, a lot of which we were requested to put in the bill by the White House," Sensenbrenner said.

One provision he cited makes it a criminal offense to be in the country illegally. That followed a request from the Justice Department.

The House bill makes unlawful presence a felony, though Sensenbrenner and House leaders have agreed to reduce it to a criminal misdemeanor. It is currently a civil violation.

"The president seems to be running away from that now," Sensenbrenner said of the stiffened penalties in the House legislation.

But here's the part which does not add up:

"Under the president's plan, you have to pay stiff fines, follow the law, stay employed, learn English, and after achieving all those things, you still go to the back of the line. That's not amnesty."

"The back of the line?" Does that mean a 14-year wait for citizenship, as is the case with most Mexicans who actually go through the formal process?

So does the White House propose that these folks will be here in the US during all those years? Or living here part-time? What about "anchor babies?"

Sensenbrenner was similarly adamant in his disdain for the term earned citizenship, and in his view, what Bush is discussing "is an amnesty because it allows people who have broken the law to stay in the country."

Under the Senate plan, many of those people will end up achieving legal status much sooner than they would have by waiting for legal permission to enter, Sensenbrenner said.

One suspects that the REAL debate is here:

Sensenbrenner said he thinks a compromise could include provisions for temporary workers, if "that does not include an amnesty," and only if it includes "vigorous" enforcement of sanctions against employers for hiring illegal immigrants.

...which is anathema to a lot of large-contribution types.

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