Friday, June 29, 2007

The Sky is falling. Slavery Returns!

Well, not exactly. The hyperbole coming from some of the left and the NAACP would make you think so however. Regarding the recent SCOTUS decision about forced integration in the K-12 schools for the purpose of "diversity", the Supremes made a minor adjustment. In his majority opinion, Justice Roberts said this..."The way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." That should be in the next edition of Bartletts. But you would think that the world was coming to an end if you read this editorial in the NYT.

The Supreme Court ruled 53 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated education is inherently unequal, and it ordered the nation’s schools to integrate. Yesterday, the court switched sides and told two cities that they cannot take modest steps to bring public school students of different races together. It was a sad day for the court and for the ideal of racial equality...Yesterday, the court’s radical new majority turned its back on that proud tradition in a 5-4 ruling, written by Chief Justice John Roberts. It has been some time since the court, which has grown more conservative by the year, did much to compel local governments to promote racial integration. But now it is moving in reverse, broadly ordering the public schools to become more segregated.

I call Bullshit. So does Juan Williams in the very same NYT.

LET us now praise the Brown decision. Let us now bury the Brown decision.

With yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling ending the use of voluntary schemes to create racial balance among students, it is time to acknowledge that Brown’s time has passed. It is worthy of a send-off with fanfare for setting off the civil rights movement and inspiring social progress for women, gays and the poor. But the decision in Brown v. Board of Education that focused on outlawing segregated schools as unconstitutional is now out of step with American political and social realities.

Desegregation does not speak to dropout rates that hover near 50 percent for black and Hispanic high school students. It does not equip society to address the so-called achievement gap between black and white students that mocks Brown’s promise of equal educational opportunity.

And the fact is, during the last 20 years, with Brown in full force, America’s public schools have been growing more segregated — even as the nation has become more racially diverse. In 2001, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the average white student attends a school that is 80 percent white, while 70 percent of black students attend schools where nearly two-thirds of students are black and Hispanic.

Read both columns and tell me who is the Chicken Little here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bi-partisanship in Action

The overwhelming defeat of the Amnesty Bill can't be laid at the feet of just one party. 16 Democrats and 1 Independent voted Nay
12 Republicans and 1 Independent voted Yea
Sorry Harry, that dog won't hunt. I think even the Democrats were turned off by the back-room secret shenanigans going on and the heavy handed tactics used by Reid and company.

Amnesty Bill Goes Down in Flames

It wasn't even close. Apparently the grassroots efforts against this travesty was heard by many Senators. And there are some strange bedfellows on the nay side of the vote. Many of the former ayes switched because of the public outcry. Find the 53 nays and the 46 ayes here.Thank those who supported you. We should show our pleasure with the outcome just like we show our displeasure.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

White House Report Hides the Real Costs

In another follow-up on the Heritage report about the costs of this amnesty bill, Robert Rector answers the White House.It is a long response but well worth reading. An excerpt:

Last week, the White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report entitled "Immigration's Economic Impact" which defended the President's promotion of the Senate's "comprehensive" immigration legislation (S.1348).[1] On June 25, the White House issued a follow-up editorial elaborating on the points made in the CEA report.[2] These publications criticized Heritage Foundation research on the fiscal costs of low skill immigration and amnesty.

The Heritage research criticized by the White House made the following basic points about immigration and its costs:

  1. Individuals without a high school degree impose significant net costs (the extent to which benefits and services received exceed taxes paid) on taxpayers.
  2. The net fiscal cost of families of immigrants who lack a high school degree is not markedly different from the net fiscal cost of families of non-immigrants who lack a high school degree.
  3. Immigrants are disproportionately low skilled; one-third of all immigrants and 50 to 60 percent of illegal immigrants lack a high school degree.
  4. Unlike low and moderate skill immigrants, immigrants with a college education will pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits; therefore. immigration policy should increase the number of high skill immigrants entering the country and sharply decrease the number of low skill, fiscally dependent immigrants.[3]

Heritage research has shown that low skill immigrants (those without a high school degree) receive, on average, three dollars in government benefits and services for each dollar of taxes they pay. This imbalance imposes a net cost of $89 billion per year on U.S. taxpayers. Over a lifetime, the typical low skill immigrant household will cost taxpayers $1.2 million.[4]

Future taxpayer costs will be increased by policies which increase (1) the number of low skill immigrants entering the U.S., (2) the length of low skill immigrants' stays in the U.S., or (3) low skill immigrants' access to government benefits and services. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Senate immigration bill does:

  • The bill would triple the flow of low skill chain immigration into the U.S.
  • By granting amnesty to at least 12 million illegal immigrants, the bill would greatly lengthen their stay in the U.S., particularly during retirement years.
  • The bill would grant illegal immigrants access to Social Security and Medicare benefits and, over time, to more than 60 different federal welfare programs.
  • Although the bill does not currently permit Z visa holders to bring spouses and children in from abroad, this would likely be amended at some future point on humanitarian grounds, resulting in another 5 million predominantly low-skill immigrants entering the country.

Heritage research has concluded that the cost of amnesty alone will be $2.6 trillion once the amnesty recipients reach retirement age.

In an effort to defend the Senate bill, the White has contested these conclusions. As described below, many of the assertions made by the White House are inaccurate or misleading.

More on Amnesty

Here is what Jim DeMint has to say about this bill.

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) said Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bears responsibility for the immigration bill after Reid used his powers to guarantee votes on a few amendments while blocking all others. According to the Senate historian, this has never been done before in U.S. history.

“Senator Reid has been trying to portray this immigration nightmare as solely the responsibility of President Bush, but today we saw just how bad Reid wants it. He used his power as Majority Leader to manipulate and abuse the rules of the Senate to ram this bill down our throats. He has set up a process that guarantees votes on a few amendments while blocking all others. This has never been done before, and it’s the most heavy-handed and rigged thing I have ever seen. This bill may have Ted Kennedy’s name on it but it belongs to Harry Reid now.”

After the Senate voted to cut off debate on the question of whether to resurrect the Senate immigration bill, Senator Reid set up unique debate process that guarantees votes several hand-picked amendments but blocks consideration of all others. Senator Reid used a parliamentary tool called a “clay pigeon” to divide a giant amendment into multiple amendments and then moved to block all others. No other member of the Senate besides Reid could have accomplished all of this without being stopped by another Senator. No other Majority Leader in history has done this.

“Republicans need to take a step back and realize what happened today. Senator Reid turned the Senate into the House and fundamentally undermined minority rights,” said Senator DeMint. “I was always told the Senate was the saucer that cooled the pot, but Senator Reid is forcing us to drink straight from the spout. Republicans better wake up soon or they can expect Senator Reid to use this tactic in the future to raise taxes, increase spending, and weaken our national security.”

I agree for the most part with him but that doesn't take away the fact that it is co-owned by President Bush and the "Grand Bargainers" of the GOP in their back room dealings. Stanley Kurtz has it about right.
Something about this immigration battle doesn’t sit well. For all the bitterness of our political battles, there’s at least the sense that the government responds to the drift of public opinion. The Republicans in Congress turned into big spenders and the war in Iraq went poorly. As a result the Democrats prospered in 2006, if narrowly. That’s how democracy works. Our politics are often angry and ugly (and that’s a problem), but this is because the public is deeply divided on issues of great importance. Deep down, we understand that our political problems reflect our own divisions.

Somehow this immigration battle feels different. The bill is wildly unpopular, yet it’s close to passing. The contrast with the high-school textbook version of democracy is not only glaring and maddening, it’s downright embarrassing. Usually, even when we’re at each others’ throats, there’s still an underlying pride in the democratic process. This immigration battle strips us of even that pride.

I’m still stuck on the way this bill was going to be pushed through without a public airing of crucial provisions, in the two or three days before Memorial Day recess. But I should be stuck even further back–on the way this bill was cooked up in a backroom deal that bypassed the ordinary process of public hearings. We take them for granted, but those civics textbook fundamentals are there for a reason. We’re going to pay a steep price for setting the fundamentals aside.

If that is not enough to make you thoroughly disgusted with our leaders, here is an editorial from NRO that highlights the eight Senators that may be convinced to change their vote and come out against cloture in the next vote. Jim Webb, who was just elected and campaigned against amnesty, should be reminded of his campaign promises.
The Senate Tuesday voted to revive its misbegotten immigration bill, with the help of a handful of senators who claim to oppose amnesty but voted to proceed. They are now getting what they voted for, as H. L. Mencken put it, good and hard — with a 370-page “clay pigeon” amendment that is supposed to be digested and voted on by the end of the week. If the bill had been defeated yesterday, it would have been gone for at least two years and probably longer. Instead, it is a little closer to passage. But first it has to overcome another cloture vote scheduled for tomorrow. Again, the bill needs 60 votes to survive.

It got 64 votes yesterday. If all of the senators who voted against cloture stand firm, then, five senators would have to switch to no to defeat the bill on Thursday. Those votes are available from a bipartisan group of eight senators who have profound doubts about this bill. Our reporting suggests these senators are most likely to be persuaded to vote no on Thursday and derail amnesty. They are Sens. Kit Bond (R., Mo.), Sam Brownback (R., Kan.), Richard Burr (R., N.C.), Norm Coleman (R. Minn), John Ensign (R. Nev.), Ben Nelson (D., Neb.), Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) and Jim Webb (D., Va.).

Senators opposed to amnesty tended to justify their votes for cloture Tuesday by saying that they want one last shot at improving the bill. That sounds reasonable enough. But the entire exercise in the Senate is about passing the core “Grand Bargain” — that is, immediate legal status for illegal aliens in exchange for promises of enforcement later. Any amendment that truly threatens the bargain won’t pass, although the Republican Grand Bargainers are willing to go as far as they dare in putting more enforcement around the edges of the deal. For weeks, they insisted that the bill was tough on enforcement, but suddenly it now needs all sorts of enhancements. It is transparent that their commitment to these enhancements begins and ends with the need to pick off enough Republican votes to get through the next cloture vote.

Read it all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx) Speaks Volumes

I salute my home state Senators for standing up for reason.

WASHINGTON— U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, top Republican on the Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee, made the following statement regarding today’s vote by the Senate to proceed to a deeply-flawed immigration reform bill. Senator Cornyn, along with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, voted against the decision to proceed to the legislation without adequate opportunity to amend it.

“Free and open debate is a hallmark of the United States Senate. So it is deeply disappointing that political expediency today took precedence over a serious public review of what is perhaps the most important domestic policy issue facing our country.

“On an issue as critical to America’s future as immigration reform, there should be a full and fair debate conducted in the light of day before the American people. Instead, this process was conducted behind closed doors and the Majority Leader refused to allow Senators, such as myself, to even have important amendments considered.

“I have made clear that very serious loopholes exist in this bill, which strike at the heart of America’s national security. Yet, the Senate failed to review, and even consider, efforts to fix it in a number of key areas. I fear that like in 1986, we are promising something to the American people that we cannot, and will not, deliver. If not addressed as the legislative process moves forward, this flawed bill will have very serious consequences for America’s future security.

“I have worked for years to find a common sense solution to our dysfunctional immigration system. I regret that a closed internal process this time has prevented several of my ideas from being considered, and has stopped the U.S. Senate from having a full and fair opportunity to debate and amend the current bill. Even so, I will continue to do my best to pursue a rational immigration policy, one that restores integrity and respect for our laws.”

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Budget Committees. In addition, he is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee’s Airland subcommittee.

That speaks for itelf and for me. And also for 75% of Americans.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Vote for Cloture is a Vote For Amnesty.

The Senators cannot use the dodge that they voted against this bill if they voted for cloture. If they think they can, they think we are as stupid as they are lacking in integrity. We will note who they are and remember how they voted on cloture for this garbage yet in order to cover their asses, they vote against the bill knowing it will pass anyway, is not only the height of hubris but the depths of perfidy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Senate changes lipstick color on pig. Still not Kosher.

The Heritage Foundation has the newly numbered and soon to be introduced Immigration Bill. Included in the post is a link to the PDF of the whole nine smelly yards. They have this to say:

The Senate's Second Secret Immigration Bill

For weeks, Americans were told that there are only two options for dealing with the nation's illegal immigration problem: stay with the status quo or accept a "grand bargain"--a tenuous behind-closed-doors deal, first made public by The Heritage Foundation, which contained nearly 800 pages of flawed policies. In the face of overwhelming criticism from all sides, this legislation was withdrawn from the Senate.

Now, an altogether new bill (S. 1639) has been introduced by Senators Ted Kennedy and Arlen Specter. It seems to incorporate the previous legislation, with some amendments. After it is read into the Senate calendar on Wednesday, the Majority Leader will be able to proceed to consider this legislation anew at any time; debate is likely to follow later this week, with a final vote very soon thereafter.

This schedule will afford lawmakers even less time for consideration and deliberation than they had before. It will deny them the various procedures long associated with America's deliberative lawmaking process--hearings, testimony, committee debate and amendments, floor debate, and the possibility of further amendments. Instead, according to reports, this legislation will proceed based on an altogether new and expedited procedure designed for the sole purpose of forcing the bill's many ill-conceived policies over legitimate minority objections.

As it has before, for the sake of open deliberation and public education, The Heritage Foundation is making this legislation publicly available to encourage widespread debate and discussion. Heritage Foundation analysts will be reading this legislation and considering its implications--as will everyone outside the confines of the narrow group that conceived it--as quickly as possible.

Download S.1639: The Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (PDF, 20 MB)

I am curious about what is in the "new and improved version" of this bill. A different color lipstick perhaps?

Inhofe at Captains Quarters

Senator James Inhofe guest appearence at Ed Morrisseys Captains Quarters.

I am pleased to welcome Senator James Inhofe, R-OK, for his first guest post at Captain's Quarters. Senator Inhofe introduces his petition drive to get grassroots action on immigration that focuses on securing the nation's borders.

Thank you, Captain Ed for allowing me to submit this guest post. I want to briefly discuss illegal immigration, an issue I know many, if not all, CQ readers care deeply about.

Before long, the U.S. Senate will engage in yet another round of debate and backroom deal making on the comprehensive immigration reform bill. And once again, the overwhelming majority of Americans who are deeply concerned about this bill will stand up in opposition. It’s the American people that have prevented its passage so far, and only the American people can stop it a second time. My fellow Senators, under tremendous pressure from party leaders, need to be reminded now more than ever that American citizens have strong opinions on immigration reform and border security.

The inescapable fact is that this bill guarantees amnesty for 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants with no clear indication that the border will be secured once and for all. Until real progress is made in stepping up border security and preventing the flow of new illegal immigrants, the question of what to do about illegal immigrants already here is irrelevant. As long as the source of illegal immigration, a porous border left irresponsibly neglected, remains unaddressed, it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion about a path to citizenship for those already here.

In preparation for the upcoming debate, I’ve started the Secure Borders Now online petition at It gives American citizens a direct voice into the Senate debate. Already, just a few days after the site launched, we have received thousands of signatures and touching personal messages in opposition to the bill. They range from a story of personal achievement for a proud Texan who immigrated legally to a story from a gentleman who gave twenty years of military service, but now wonders how his children and grandchildren can remain safe when we don’t even enforce our own border security laws.

Now, more than ever, we need signatures from every part of the country. I’ll be sending each Senator the petition signatures from the citizens of his or her state as well as a summary of the tremendous response nationwide. We must remind them how passionately the American people feel about this issue.

Please take a moment to sign the petition at, and I hope you will share the link with your friends and family who care as much as I do about protecting this country and doing what’s right.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Crossing the Rubicon for the GOP

The Republican Party along with the President has sold out the conservatives that are concerned with security for the amnesty crowd. Instead of representing 76+ percent of the American people in this Amnesty bill, they are ignoring us and with such obvious disdain, actually have the hubris to insult us. Ted Kennedy says that it is too complicated for the people to understand and the rest of the leadership, especially on the Republican side of the aisle concurs. From Trent "porkbarrel" Lott, to Lindsey Graham, McCain, McConnell and many others in the leadership. Do they think that stiffing the electorate will get them re-elected? Sure didn't work last time and this coming election may prove to be an unmitigated disaster. They may indeed be crossing the Rubicon with this bill. This is not about right vs left or Democrats vs Republicans. This is about the conflict between the public and the political class. It crosses party lines and is one of the few things that Americans agree on. 76 percent agreement on anything is not something one sees often and the Congressional leadership and the President are still in the full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes mindset of saying "screw you America".

This bill is rotten to the core. It does not matter how many spices you add to tainted meat, it is still tainted meat. Throw it out and start over. Just one small aspect of this bill, and there are many as bad, is the idea that they are going to do full background check on the illegal aliens in 24 hours. That is ludicrous on its face. Does anyone think that we are stupid enough to believe that? Apparently they do. Check out what the Washington Post has to say about this in dealing with legal immigrants.

Since 2005, the backlog of legal U.S. immigrants whose applications for naturalization and other benefits are stuck on hold awaiting FBI name checks has doubled to 329,160, prompting a flood of lawsuits in federal courts, bureaucratic finger-pointing in Washington and tough scrutiny by 2008 presidential candidates...
About 90 percent of name checks, officials say, emerge with no matches within three months, after an automated search of databases. But the remaining 10 percent can take months or years, as 30 analysts and assistants must coordinate with 56 field offices and retrieve files stored in 265 locations nationwide
And they want us to believe that employers etal will get background checks on 12 million illegal aliens within 24 hours.

Michelle Malkin has an excellent overview of just how ridiculous that is.

*The backlog of 600,000-plus fugitive deportee cases.

*The backlog of 4 million immigration applications of all kinds.

*The backlog of an estimated 100,000 FBI background checks for legal immigrant applicants.

*The disappearance of 111,000 citizenship applications.

And that is just one small part of this Amnesty fiasco bill. Not even the worst part. It is even now taking 6 to 17 months for American Citizens to get a freaking passport. Your government efficiency in action.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Chambliss/Isakson letter to Bush

As noted in my previous post, here is the letter from the two latest defectors from the Grand Plan. It seems that they actually listened to the voters of Georgia on the recent trip home.

Dear Mr. President:

Although the Senate’s effort to reform our nation’s immigration laws through the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 is stalled, illegal immigration remains our nation’s number one domestic issue. We therefore believe it is incumbent upon us and our colleagues to tackle this issue and not leave this problem for future generations to solve.

As we travel around Georgia and continue to hear from our constituents, the message from a majority of Georgians is that they have no trust that the United States Government will enforce the laws contained in this new legislation and secure the border first. This lack of trust is rooted in the mistakes made in 1986 and the continued chaos surrounding our immigration laws. Understandably, the lack of credibility the federal government has on this issue gives merit to the skepticism of many about future immigration reform.

We believe the way to build greater support for immigration reform in the United States Senate and among the American public is to regain the trust in the ability of the federal government to responsibly administer immigration programs and enforce immigration laws. There is bipartisan agreement that we need to secure our borders first, and we believe this approach will serve as a platform towards addressing the other issues surrounding immigration reform.

To that end, we believe that you and your administration could alleviate many of the fears of our constituents by calling for an emergency supplemental bill to fully fund the border and interior security initiatives contained in legislation currently pending in the Senate, as well as any outstanding existing authorizations. Such a move would show your commitment to securing the border first and to stopping the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into our nation. It will also work towards restoring the credibility of the federal government on this critical issue.

We urge you to carefully consider this request, and thank you for the opportunity to express the views of the people of Georgia on this matter.

Saxby Chambliss Johnny Isakson
United States Senator United States Senator

Immigration Bill...what really happened?

That is a question being answered in a memo now circulating on the Hill.
It is a PDF file but well worth reading it all about what they don't want you to know. Just a few excerpts from the memo. It has more to do with process than substance but does answer some questions.

There are three primary reasons the bill failed:

* The complicated legislation, constantly being tweaked by the White House and Deal-Makers, is full of loopholes and problems that deserved amendment and full consideration -- consideration denied by the Democrats.

* The White House, certain Democrats and the Deal-Makers blatantly disregarded the legislative process -- drafting the bill behind closed doors, skipping the committee process, jamming the bill through the system, limiting the number and type of amendments that could be offered and trying to close down debate on the bill long before appropriate concerns with the bill had been addressed fully.

The handful of Senators in the coalition never showed the bill to anyone prior to dumping it on the Senate and demanding that the committee process be bypassed and the debate schedule truncated. Even Harry Reid could not abide that kind of arrogance and extended the debate so that people could actually read the bill. The Senate then took on the role of Committee Of The Whole, but on such an accelerated rate that Reid had to ration the number of amendments. In the end, he didn't leave enough time for the bill to have its proper review, and it failed -- and quite properly.

Regardless of the merits and demerits of the bill, this process was atrocious and arrogant. Had the bill come through committee as was proper, we wouldn't have had the parliamentary free-for-all we saw these last two weeks. It would have allowed for interested parties to carefully peruse the legislation, fix its myriad problems, and have an intelligent debate over amendments. Instead, we had the ridiculous fire drill of a nine-day scrum to determine the overhaul of our entire immigration and border security systems, starting in ignorance and ending in ignominy.

Read the whole thing. Meanwhile thanks to Captain Ed at Captains Quarters, we hear about a couple of defectors.

In a development that underscores the death of the current bill, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isaacson appear to have defected from the Grand Coalition, and now want a supplemental spending bill that focuses on border security:

We believe the way to build greater support for immigration reform in the United States Senate and among the American public is to regain the trust in the ability of the federal government to responsibly administer immigration programs and enforce immigration laws. There is bipartisan agreement that we need to secure our borders first, and we believe this approach will serve as a platform towards addressing the other issues surrounding immigration reform.

To that end, we believe that you and your administration could alleviate many of the fears of our constituents by calling for an emergency supplemental bill to fully fund the border and interior security initiatives contained in legislation currently pending in the Senate, as well as any outstanding existing authorizations. Such a move would show your commitment to securing the border first and to stopping the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into our nation. It will also work towards restoring the credibility of the federal government on this critical issue.

"Outstanding existing authorizations" means the 854 miles of border
barriers authorized and funded by the last Congress. Build that, and we'll get back to you, Chambliss and Isaacson told the President in this statement.

Update: Having read this memo of unknown pedigree I feel that I need to add a caveat.If this memo and what it says it true, then the lawmakers in DC are living in more of a bubble and sequestered from the people than even I could imagine or the writer is looking through the wrong end of the telescope. I personally think/hope that the hundreds of thousands of e-mails and phone calls and letters written to the Senators by ordinary voters had something to do with this defeat. Everything that I have read says that all of the communications reaching DC from the voting public ran 99 to 1 against this legislation. It may be naive of me to think that the American people had as much to do with this past defeat as the egotism and feeling of being dissed by their colleagues that led to the defeat of this rotten piece of legislation.

Immigration Bill or "How to Eat an Elephant"

Scenario...There is a rogue elephant in the room. First step is to identify the elephant. Second step is to formulate a plan on how to deal with said pachyderm. Next thing needed is a plan on how to properly dispose of the animal for the good of all. The only way to eat said elephant is one bite at a time. What does this have to do with Immigration and the bill that won't die? Instead of insisting on an all or nothing approach, euphemistically called a "Comprehensive Approach" let's start over with nothing, show the country that they (the Government) is willing to enforce the laws that are already on the books, build the fence that was overwhelmingly approved last year, increase border security, stem the flood and enforce employer laws, cut off federal money to
Sanctuary Cities" and then we can talk about dealing with the illegal immigrants already here and maybe a guest worker program. The bill that is under consideration is so gangrenous and rotten that is smells from its core.

If President Bush is successful in his attempt to revive this fiasco as part of his legacy, it will indeed go down as part of his legacy and it is not the kind of legacy most people would find attractive. He and several of his party, formerly my party, in collusion with many of the Democratic party are willing to spit in the face of 73% of the American people. As low as Bush's approval rating is, it is almost twice what Harry Reid's approval rating is at the time. That may not last. There are a few heroes in the GOP. Among them are Cornyn, Hutchison, Coburn, Demint, Sessions and others but there are also a perfidious few that are in a race to the bottom. This elephant is down but not out and remains indigestible in its present state.

Why is the Senate and Bush so enamored with this bill? Why does it need to be 'comprehensive" and try to address both the enforcement and the amnesty at the same time. Why not separately? Because this puts them on both sides of the issue which is what most politicians want. Plausible deniability depending on the audience and set of voters they happen to be addressing at the time. They can say that it was the best they could get and had to compromise to do it. Expect to hear various forms of the canard "We just could not sacrifice the good in pursuit of the perfect." In fact what they have done is settled for the bad rather than pursue the good or at least much better. I'll say it again, better no bill than this bill. This may be a watershed moment for some of the GOP Senators when it is time for the primaries. Voltaire said it best. "Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres" In this country, it is wise from time to time to kill an admiral to encourage the others. Some of these Senators may indeed face a career ending primary firing squad.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cornyn, Hutchison Followup Letters

I received two follow-up letters from Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison today and thought I would share them with you. It does seem that some of the Senate is listening. I hope they continue to listen to the people and not to the President and others including Kyle, Graham, Kennedy and McCain.

Dear Mr. Heard:

Thank you for contacting me about immigration reform. The need to fix our broken system is clear, and I appreciate having the benefit of your insight on one of the most important issues of our day.

Immigration reform ultimately must be about improving our system for legal immigration, not about creating new benefits for illegal aliens. Although we are a proud nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. If policymakers will agree that all immigrants must abide by the rule of law, then we can reach a consensus on ways to improve the legal process so that it meets the needs of our society, our economy and our national security.

Recently, the Senate began to debate S. 1348, a comprehensive immigration reform bill. It is encouraging that the Senate is taking up this important matter and attempting to address the problems that plague our immigration system. However, I have serious concerns that the legislation, as drafted, will repeat the well documented mistakes of the 1986 amnesty bill. Further, if we fail to address the rampant fraud and fail to close all loopholes in our current broken system, then we will fail to truly reform our system.

I have been working throughout my time in the Senate to develop a solution to this problem that I believe will work. I would invite you to visit my website at to acquaint yourself with the immigration reforms I support. As we consider this bill in the Senate and beyond, I will continue to promote these policies, but I will oppose any bill that rewards illegal conduct and encourages further disrespect for our laws.

I appreciate the opportunity to represent the interests of Texans in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.


United States Senator

517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2934
Fax: (202) 228-2856

Here is the letter from Senator Hutchison.

Dear Mr. Heard:

Knowing of your interest in the issue of immigration, I wanted to send you a copy of an opinion editorial that I wrote with Senator Cornyn three weeks ago about the immigration bill currently being considered by the U.S. Senate. The editorial appeared in newspapers throughout Texas.

Secure Borders and Immigration Reform Without Amnesty

by Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn

Published in Texas newspapers the week of May 21, 2007

As your U.S. Senators, we have been heavily involved in the Congressional debate on immigration reform for several years. We have taken a leadership role on this issue because we represent a state that uniquely benefits from the contributions of legal immigrants, but is also uniquely vulnerable to the dangers of illegal immigration. Throughout this process, our principles have been clear and consistent: We must secure our borders, and we cannot encourage illegal behavior through amnesty.

Last week, the Bush administration, along with a small group of Senators, announced a compromise immigration bill that would take a necessary first step in improving border security. We did not join in the announcement. While our efforts had a positive influence, we were not convinced the announced proposal guarantees repair of our current broken system. We are particularly concerned that we may be repeating the mistakes of the failed 1986 national amnesty.

As of late Friday, the actual text of the “grand compromise” had not yet been published. Major questions remain about details of the plan, and how it would work. , We believe the bill – which was negotiated privately – deserves a full public airing before it’s considered.

The bill promises some long-term positive changes, including significant border security measures, an end to chain migration, and a switch to green card distribution based on merit.

But many problems have not been satisfactorily addressed. For example, we must make certain that convicted criminals are not eligible for any legalization, and if these individuals attempt to stay here, that they are arrested and promptly deported.

We must ensure that only those who have played by the rules – and not those engaged in identity theft – receive Social Security benefits. This proposal would enable illegal immigrants to collect Social Security benefits for the time they were unlawfully in our country. At a time when we are already facing major shortfalls in our ability to pay benefits for future retirees, this represents an unfair burden on the American taxpayer. We must end the rampant document fraud that plagues our workplaces today, and do it in a way that is legally enforceable.

Some of our colleagues, sensing the fragile nature of the proposed compromise, want to rush it through the Congress immediately. This would be a major mistake. It is too important and too complicated to rush. The legislation requires extended Senate debate, with full opportunity for public input and criticism, and an open process for amendments to strengthen its provisions.

In 1986, the Congress approved a similar compromise plan that, in return for amnesty for most immigrants here illegally, promised an end to porous borders and disregard for our laws. Those promises were not honored. The amnesty legislation instead actually encouraged further disrespect for our laws, and led directly to the situation we face today.

As the bill reaches the Senate floor this week, our goal will be restoring the integrity of our borders, providing guest workers with opportunity, not amnesty, and preserving our social security for all who legally qualify. Our contributions to the debate will continue to be positive, and constructive.

Our country needs immigration reform. We must ensure that it’s done, and done correctly.

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Please do not reply to this message. If you have additional comments, send your remarks through Senator Hutchison's website at Thank you.

I am working on a "how-to eat an elephant" piece as a way to immigration reform.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

20 Loopholes in the Senate Immigration Bill

Thanks to Jack M. at Ace of Spades we can read what Jeff Sessions of Alabama identifies as what more is wrong with this shamnesty bill.

20 Loopholes in the Senate Immigration Bill

Loophole 1 – Legal Status Before Enforcement:

Amnesty benefits do not wait for the “enforcement trigger.” After filing an application and waiting 24 hours, illegal aliens will receive full “probationary benefits,” complete with the ability to legally live and work in the U.S., travel outside of the U.S. and return, and their own social security card. Astonishingly, if the trigger is never met and amnesty applications are therefore never “approved,” the probationary benefits granted to the illegal alien population never expire, and the new social security cards issued to the illegal alien population are not revoked. [See pp. 1, 290-291, & 315].

Loophole 2 – U.S. VISIT Exit Not In Trigger:

The “enforcement trigger,” required to be met before the new temporary worker program begins, does not require that the exit portion of U.S. VISIT system – the biometric border check-in/check-out system first required by Congress in 1996 that is already well past its already postponed 2005 implementation due date – to be in place before new worker or amnesty programs begin. Without the U.S. VISIT exit portion, the U.S. has no method to ensure that workers (or their visiting families) do not overstay their visas. Our current illegal population contains 4 to 5.5 million visa overstays, therefore, we know that the U.S. VISIT exit component is key to a successful new temporary worker program. [See pp. 1-2].

Loophole 3 – Trigger Requires No More Agents, Beds, or Fencing Than Current Law:

The “enforcement trigger” does not require the Department of Homeland Security to have detention space sufficient to end “catch and release” at the border and in the interior. Even after the adoption of amendment 1172, the trigger merely requires the addition of 4,000 detention beds, bringing DHS to a 31,500 bed capacity. This is far short of the 43,000 beds required under current law to be in place by the end of 2007, or the additional 20,000 beds required later in the bill. Additionally, the bill establishes a “catch, pay, and release” program. This policy will benefit illegal aliens from countries other than Mexico that are caught at the border, then can post a $5,000 bond, be released and never show up for deportation hearings. Annual failure to appear rates for 2005 and 2006, caused in part by lack of detention space, doubled the 2004 rate (106,000 – 110,000 compared with 54,000). Claims that the bill “expands fencing” are inaccurate. The bill only requires 370 miles of fencing to be completed, while current law already mandates that more than 700 miles be constructed [See pp. 1-2, & 10-11, and EOIR’s FY2006 Statistical Yearbook, p. H2, and The Secure Fence Act of 2004].

Loophole 4 -- Three Additional Years Worth of Illegal Aliens Granted Status, Treated Preferentially To Legal Filers:

Aliens who broke into the country illegally a mere 5 months ago, are treated better than foreign nationals who legally applied to come to the U.S. more than two years ago. Aliens who can prove they were illegally in the U.S. on January 1, 2007, are immediately eligible to apply from inside the U.S. for amnesty benefits, while foreign nationals that filed applications to come to the U.S. after May 1, 2005 must start the application process over again from their home countries. Last year’s bill required illegal aliens to have been here before January 7, 2004 to qualify for permanent legal status. [See pp. 263, 282, & 306].

Loophole 5 – Completion of Background Checks Not Required For Probationary Legal Status:

Legal status must be granted to illegal aliens 24 hours after they file an application, even if the aliens have not yet “passed all appropriate background checks.” (Last year’s bill gave DHS 90 days to check an alien’s background before any status was granted). No legal status should be given to any illegal alien until all appropriate background checks are complete. [See pp. 290].

Loophole 6 – Some Child Molesters Are Still Eligible:

Some aggravated felons – those who have sexually abused a minor – are eligible for amnesty. A child molester who committed the crime before the bill is enacted is not barred from getting amnesty if their conviction document omitted the age of the victim. The bill corrects this loophole for future child molesters, but does not close the loophole for current or past convictions. [See p. 47: 30-33, & p. 48: 1-2]

Loophole 7 – Terrorism Connections Allowed, Good Moral Character Not Required:

Illegal aliens with terrorism connections are not barred from getting amnesty. An illegal alien seeking most immigration benefits must show “good moral character.” Last year’s bill specifically barred aliens with terrorism connections from having “good moral character” and being eligible for amnesty. This year’s bill does neither. Additionally, bill drafters ignored the Administration’s request that changes be made to the asylum, cancellation of removal, and withholding of removal statutes in order to prevent aliens with terrorist connections from receiving relief. [Compare §204 in S. 2611 from the 109th Congress with missing §204 on p. 48 of S.A. 1150, & see missing subsection (5) on p. 287 of S.A. 1150].

Loophole 8 – Gang Members Are Eligible:

Instead of ensuring that members of violent gangs such as MS 13 are deported after coming out of the shadows to apply for amnesty, the bill will allow violent gang members to get amnesty as long as they “renounce” their gang membership on their application. [See p. 289: 34-36].

Loophole 9 – Absconders Are Eligible:

Aliens who have already had their day in court – those subject to final orders of removal, voluntary departure orders, or reinstatement of their final orders of removal – are eligible for amnesty under the bill. The same is true for aliens who have made a false claim to citizenship or engaged in document fraud. More than 636,000 alien fugitives could be covered by this loophole. [See p. 285:19-22 which waives the following inadmissibility grounds: failure to attend a removal proceeding; final orders of removal for alien smuggling; aliens unlawfully present after previous immigration violations or deportation orders; and aliens previously removed. This appears to conflict with language on p. 283:40-41. When a direct conflict appears in a statute, the statue is interpreted by the courts to the benefit of the alien.].

Loophole 10 – Learning English Not Required For A Decade:

Illegal aliens are not required to demonstrate any proficiency in English for more than a decade after they are granted amnesty. Learning English is not required for an illegal alien to receive probationary benefits, the first 4-year Z visa, or the second 4-year Z visa. The first Z visa renewal (the second 4-year Z visa) requires only that the alien demonstrate an “attempt” to learn English by being “on a waiting list for English classes.” Passing a basic English test is required only for a second Z visa renewal (the third 4-year Z visa), and even then the alien only has to pass the test “prior to the expiration of the second extension of Z status” (12 years down the road). [See pp. 295-296].

Loophole 11 – Earned Income Tax Credit Will Cost Taxpayers Billions In Just 10 Years:

Current illegal aliens and new guest workers will be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit designed to encourage American citizens and legal permanent residents to work. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this loophole will cost the U.S. taxpayer up to $20 billion dollars in just the first 10 years after the bill’s enactment. To be consistent with the intent of the 1996 welfare reforms – which limited new immigrants from receiving public benefits until they had been legal permanent residents for five years – the bill should withhold EITC eligibility from amnestied aliens until they become legal permanent residents. Closing this loophole will save the taxpayers billions of dollars. [See p. 293 after S.A. 1190 was adopted, p. 307, p. 315, §606. All that is required for EITC eligibility is a social security number and resident alien status. Nothing in the bill’s tax provisions limit EITC eligibility. The issuance of social security numbers to aliens as soon as they apply for amnesty will ensure they are able to qualify for the EITC.]

Loophole 12 – Affidavits From Friends Accepted As Evidence:

Records from day-labor centers, labor unions, and “sworn declarations” from any non-relative (acquaintances, friends, coworkers, etc) are to be accepted as evidence that the illegal alien has satisfied the bill’s amnesty requirements. This low burden of proof will invite fraud and more illegal immigration – even aliens who are not yet in the U.S. will likely meet this burden of proof. DHS will not have the resources to examine whether the claims contained in the “sworn declarations” of the alien’s friends (that the alien was here prior to January 1, 2007 and is currently employed) are actually valid. [See p. 293: 13-16].

Loophole 13 – Taxpayer Funded Legal Counsel and Arbitration:

Free legal counsel and the fees and expenses of arbitrators will be provided to aliens that have been working illegally in agriculture. The U.S. taxpayer will fund the attorneys that help these individuals fill out their amnesty applications. Additionally, if these individuals have a dispute with their employer over whether they were fired for “just cause,” DHS will “pay the fee and expenses of the arbitrator.” [See p. 339:37-41, & p. 332: 37-38.]

Loophole 14 – In-State Tuition and Student Loans:

In-state tuition and other higher education benefits, such as Stafford Loans, will be made available to current illegal aliens that are granted initial “probationary” status, even if the same in-state tuition rates are not offered to all U.S. citizens. This would normally violate current law (8 U.S.C. §1623) which mandates that educational institutions give citizens the same postsecondary education benefits they offer to illegal aliens. [See p. 321: 8-31].

Loophole 15 – Inadequacy of the Merit System:

The “merit system,” designed to shift the U.S. green card distribution system to attract higher skilled workers that benefit the national interest, is only a shell of what it should have been. Though the merit system begins immediately, it will not increase the percentage of high skilled immigrants coming to the United States until 2016, 8 years after enactment. Of the 247,000 green cards dedicated to the merit based system each year for the first 5 years, 100,000 green cards will be reserved for low-skilled guest workers (10,000) and for clearing the current employment based green card backlog (90,000). From 2013 to 2015, the number of merit based green cards drops to 140,000, and of that number, 100,000 green cards are still reserved each year for low-skilled guest workers (10,000) and for clearing the current employment based green card backlog (90,000). Even after 2015, when the merit system really begins (in 2016) by having 380,000 green cards annually, 10,00 green cards will be reserved specifically for low skilled workers, and points will be given for many characteristics that are not considered “high-skilled.” For example, 16 points will be given for aliens in “high demand occupations” which includes janitors, maids, food preparation workers, and groundskeepers. [See p.260: 25 – p. 261: 20, p. 262, & The Department of Labor’s list of “occupations with the largest job growth” available at].

Loophole 16 – Visas For Individuals That Plan To Overstay:

The new “parent” visa contained in the bill which allows parents of citizens, and the spouses and children of new temporary workers, to visit a worker in the United States is not only a misnomer, but also an invitation for high rates of visa overstays. This new visa specifically allows the spouse and children of new temporary workers who intend to abandon their residence in a foreign country, to qualify to come to the U.S. to “visit.” The visa requires only a $1,000 bond, which will be forfeited when, not if, family members of new temporary workers decide to overstay their 30 day visit. Workers should travel to their home countries to visit their families, not the other way around. [See p. 277:1 – 33, and p. 276: 38-43].

Loophole 17 – Chain Migration Tippled Before Being Eliminated:

Though the bill will eventually eliminate chain migration (relatives other than spouses and children of citizens and legal permanent residents), it will not have full effect until 2016. Until then, chain migration into the U.S. will actually triple, from approximately 138,000 chain migrants a year (equal to 14% of the 1 million green cards the U.S. currently distributes on an annual basis) to approximately 440,000 chain migrants a year (equal to 45% of the 1 million green cards the U.S. currently distributes on an annual basis). [See pp. 260:13, p. 270: 29 – pp. 271: 17]

Loophole 18 – Back Taxes Not Required:

Last year’s bill required illegal aliens to prove they had paid three of their last five years of taxes to get amnesty. This year, payment of back taxes is not required for amnesty. The bill requires taxes to be paid at the time of application for a green card, but at that time, only proof of payment of Federal taxes (not state and local) is required for the years the alien worked on a Z visa, not the years the alien has already worked illegally in the United States. Though Senator McCain’s S.A. 1190, adopted by voice vote, claimed to “require undocumented immigrants receiving legal status to pay owed back taxes,” the amendment actually only required proof of payment of taxes for “any year during the period of employment required by subparagraph (D)(i).” Since the bill does not contain a subparagraph (D)(i), nor require any past years of employment as a prerequisite for amnesty, the amendment essentially only requires proof of payment of taxes for future work in the U.S., not payment of “back taxes.” [See p. 307, and p. 293 as altered by S.A. 1190, amendment p. 2: 19-20.]

Loophole 19 – Social Security Credits Allowed For Some Illegal Work Histories:

Aliens who came to the U.S. on legal visas, but overstayed their visas and have been working in the U.S. for years, as well as illegal aliens who apply for Z visa status but do not qualify, will be able to collect social security credits for the years they worked illegally. Under the bill, if an alien was ever issued a social security account number – all work-authorized aliens who originally came on legal visas receive these – the alien will receive Social Security credits for any “quarters of coverage” the alien worked after receiving their social security account number. Because the bill requires social security account numbers to be issued “promptly” to illegal aliens as soon as they are granted “any probationary benefits based upon application [for Z status]” (these benefits are granted 24 hours after the application is filed), an illegal alien who is denied Z visa status but continues to work illegally in the U.S. will accumulate Social Security credits. [See pp. 316:8 – 16, and pp. 315: 32-39]

Loophole 20 – Criminal Fines Not Proportional To Conduct:

The criminal fines an illegal alien is required to pay to receive amnesty are less than the bill’s criminal fines for paperwork violations committed by U.S. citizens, and can be paid by installment. Under the bill, an illegal alien must pay a $1,000 criminal fine to apply for a Z visa, and a $4,000 fine to apply for a green card. Eighty percent of those fines can be paid on an installment plan. Under the bill’s confidentiality provisions, someone who improperly handles or uses information on an alien’s amnesty application can be fined $10,000. Administration officials suggest that the bill’s “criminal fines are proportionate to the criminal conduct.” Why, then, is the fine for illegally entering, using false documents to work, and live one-tenth the fine for a paperwork violation committed by a government official? [See p. 287: 34, p. 317: 9, p. 315:6-8, & remarks made by Secretary Gutierrez on Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4:00 May 31, 2007]