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Author Topic: The Immigration Bill
Lyrhawn
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Recent news looks like the Immigration Bill, which looked dead, might just come alive again so long as Democrats give billions in giveaways to Republicans.

But what do we think of the bill?

Personally, I like much of it, but I don't think it goes far enough. I think many of the provisions to keep the bill from being called "amnesty," like the fees, the 13 year waiting period, and the "touchback" for the head of household are too much, and will destroy a lot of families at worst, and at best, will keep illegals from ever coming forward. A lot of them will just stay in the shadows and not bother dealing with the hassle, regardless of the benefits.

Those 12 million people live not only as second class citizens, but they are a both a drain and a boon on our society. That drain ends when we leagalize them and bring them into the fold. Both sides seem to admit that they are here to stay, but Republicans are reluctant to let them be citizens free and clear.

Now I have no problem with better enforcements for the border to keep out future illegals, though I think that time and money would be better spent in fixing Mexico so that the problem ends at the source rather than the end point. And I have no problem with tucking a bit more money into the bill for enforcement. But enemies of "amnesty" I think don't understand the full situation, or the plight of illegals, let alone the role they play in America's society and economy.

They should make this a better bill, and pass it, ensuring these people come out of the shadows and become Americans.

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Lupus
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Here is my immigration bill.

Anyone who wants to come into the country gets a check to make sure they are not a violent criminal.

If they pass that check they get a work visa and a certain amount of time to find a job. If they can't find a job, they must leave the country. If they can find a job they stay for as long as they want and can work towards citizenship.

No artificial quotas, no limits. If there is work for you, then there is a place for you. If there is not work for you, then leave and work in your prior country until you can find work here.

If you still enter the country illegally you get booted out and can't come back. If you are here now...you get a chance to go through the same process is everyone else...but you have to do it now. Is that amnesty, sure...but so what. If a person already has a job, and are being productive why not document them?

I'm all for doing things legally, but we should make it easier for people to do it legally...no matter what country they come from. I don't like the idea of having millions of undocumented people living as second class citizens. It just seems un American to me.

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rollainm
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Something I thought of after the last Republican debate:

We're wasting all this time trying to pass bills that no one likes. In the end, there has to be some form of compromise, and an unfortunate side effect of any compromise is that one or both parties must make sacrifices. Of course both are quite reluctant to do so. We're just too fundamentally divided in our ultimate goals. When it comes to immigration, liberals are about equality and freedom for all humanity while conservatives are more concerned with national security and the preservation of our way of life.

But one thing we can all agree on is stricter border control. Why canít we start here? Get that fixed, and then we can move on to the difficult stuff.

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DarkKnight
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I do think we need to secure the borders first and then worry about what to do with all of the illegals second.
quote:
That drain ends when we leagalize them and bring them into the fold. Both sides seem to admit that they are here to stay,
How does the drain end once they are legal?
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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by Lupus:
Here is my immigration bill.

Anyone who wants to come into the country gets a check to make sure they are not a violent criminal.

If they pass that check they get a work visa and a certain amount of time to find a job. If they can't find a job, they must leave the country. If they can find a job they stay for as long as they want and can work towards citizenship.

No artificial quotas, no limits. If there is work for you, then there is a place for you. If there is not work for you, then leave and work in your prior country until you can find work here.

If you still enter the country illegally you get booted out and can't come back. If you are here now...you get a chance to go through the same process is everyone else...but you have to do it now. Is that amnesty, sure...but so what. If a person already has a job, and are being productive why not document them?

I'm all for doing things legally, but we should make it easier for people to do it legally...no matter what country they come from. I don't like the idea of having millions of undocumented people living as second class citizens. It just seems un American to me.

What sort of worker protections do these folks get? If the same as citizens, then I think this won't solve the problem (there will still be a huge demand for illegal cheap labor).

-Bok

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
But one thing we can all agree on is stricter border control. Why canít we start here? Get that fixed, and then we can move on to the difficult stuff.
By 'we' you mean 'Republicans and Democrats', right? Not 'all American citizens'?

'Cause I personally have no problem with throwing the doors wide open, provided those who enter are paying the same taxes as I am.

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vonk
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Is this a new version of the bill? I heard something on the news about there being fees that seemed extraordinarily high. I agree that it should be a smoother transition between being illegal and resident, and that it shouldn't be too difficult as to discourage people from doing it.

I disagree that any drain on society outweighs the benefits to society. The main drain that I have heard is on healthcare, and any reciprical effects that has.
quote:
How does the drain end once they are legal?
Their healthcare can be covered just as any other resident or citizen, thereby removing any drain.

As for beefing up security at the border, I agree. What I'm skeptical about is how this beefing up will happen. In the past some very insidious means have been used to protect the border, and I don't think an increase in that type of security would be a good thing at all.

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dkw
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It's also possible for folks to come here legally and then become "illegal" by missing a deadline or filling out a form wrong.

We have a family connected to our church who are working, were all legal, came as a family and filed everything the way they were supposed to. When the oldest son turned 18 they consulted the immigration office about how to file his forms. They got advice, but not in writing, and it was wrong. Suddenly he's an illegal alien. But if he pleads guilty to such he has to leave and can't come back. Until (unless?) his lawyer gets things straightened out he is at risk of being deported. And he's got a good lawyer and several local families willing to sponsor him. How much harder it must be for folk who don't have those advantages.

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vonk
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In the version of the bill that I read several months ago the son's family, lawyer and friends would be at risk of being charged with a felony for aiding an illegal alien [ETA, in my understanding, which lacks any legal training]. I really hope they took that part out of it. I'm gonna have to find a copy after coffee.
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fugu13
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Yes. In fact, it is not just possible, it is the majority (or at least has been those times I've seen statistics, and by a large amount) (edit: I should add that it is impossible to determine when the people involved are overstaying intentionally and when it is conditions outside their control that cause the period to be foreshortened; either way, I'm against criminalizing or kicking out people who have made a life here, and commonly arrived when overstaying was at worst a civil offense).

In fact, that wasn't even a criminal offense until fairly recently (I think in the last decade sometime), it was a purely civil matter.

We've made many offenses against people we welcomed into this country, and against the values that have served our country well.

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Bokonon
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Two things I think that have been glossed over in the current debates bills (one purposefully, one not, IMO):

1) How, and to what extent, do we prosecute/punish employers of illegals, moving forward? There are a lot of nebulous statements, but until THIS is resolved, all the other talk is pointless. In fact, I think this point, more than even border control, is something the US citizenry can agree on, even if the politicians are queasy about it.

After all, these are the actual US citizens committing a crime, as opposed to non-US citizens. I have a tendency to expect more from citizens, for some reason.

2) We need to find a way to make these newly documented/non-US workers attractive enough to employers that the employers don't find it worthwhile to hiring illegal citizens. My plan has been to lower payroll taxes on these workers (no social security, for instance, since they aren't allowed to collect on it, so the employer can waive that tax for these workers), as well as lowering the US minimum wage, and setting that as the minimum price. This is actually largely to try and make actual US citizens more attractive to hire, and is more robust/self-regulating than trying to set worker caps or something similar.

I am certainly willing to compromise on my ideas, if something reasonable is proposed. But without adequately addressing these two issues, I don't think any proposal, no matter how broad the appeal, will effectively improve the situation without compromising nastily on certain American ideals (like freedom, for instance).

-Bok

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Lyrhawn
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My question:

I'm guessing you want to lower the current minimum wage, not the new one just passed, so you want it below $5.

How are you going to keep people making less than $5 an hour above the poverty line? We already have a problem with poverty in this country, people can't live on that and expect to get ahead, heck, some can't even live on it. Illegals are already living in housing that would have made us sick in the 1920's, let alone the first decade of the 21st century.

Lowering payroll taxes won't help Americans, the people a paycut would hit the most are people who already don't pay any taxes. Unless you're going to combine it with a lower price of goods, or something ridiculous like sending checks to all the new poor people (over and above welfare), you're removing wealth from the American worker and putting it in the hands of corporations, and you're keeping millions in poverty, and adding even more.

I understand why you want to lower wages, but you can't just leave those people out in the cold.

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fugu13
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There are very few jobs paying the minimum wage, currently, and even fewer first jobs/non-teenager jobs paying the minimum wage (most people being paid minimum wage are either teenagers or have a second job paying over minimum wage).

I'm not sure why lowering the minimum wage would cause companies already paying more to lower their wages. It does not make sense.

However, I don't see a need to lower the minimum wage. I suspect most (not all, unfortunately) firms hiring illegal workers are hiring them not because they're having a hard time hiring people for the salary they're able to pay, but because they're having a hard time hiring people period.

Given an influx of legal workers willing to work those positions, I think most employees would hire those in preference to illegal workers without a wage differential, particularly given a modest increase in enforcement.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
There are very few jobs paying the minimum wage
You mean to currently legal American citizens right?
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scholar
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From my understanding, there is currently no legal way for unskilled labor to immigrate (there is a family provision but that is a huge waiting list and you have to have family already in the US). This law does not fix that. And no one in their right mind would apply to be a guest worker. Pay some fees so you can be a second class citizen with no real hope of ever having more.
Workers in Arizona have in some cases advertised jobs for decades without ever having a non-immigrant apply.

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pooka
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The only reason to make this bill is so we can start collecting FICA from immigrants to keep Social Security afloat, so exempting them from paying it is pointless. It not providing them with Social security is part of this plan, that's dumb. We need people paying in now. People who are 20-40 now are what we need.

Sure it's American to let people in to the country. The reason we stopped being able to do this because of the Depression and the new deal. We couldn't take in the poor huddled masses because we were broken ourselve. Our fix to that situation made it much harder on society to accept poor people than previously.

Just sayin'.

The amnesty, if it happens, is amnesty for employers, not for workers. It's a sick world.

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fugu13
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No, I mean period. Many illegal immigrants receive over minimum wage, too.

pooka: many illegal immigrants pay social security and other income taxes (because they used fake information to get the job, so the employer pays taxes listing that ssn), and don't file tax returns (largely because they can't). Most estimates I've seen put it at about a wash in terms of government income received that wouldn't otherwise have been and income not received.

And of course, we have high employment, so if those immigrants weren't filling the jobs there's not enough other people to do so. The government still wouldn't get social security for them.

And I certainly think that telling someone they're no longer of danger in being kicked out and away from their family and a life they've made is very much an amnesty for them, and very much a point. Plus, they get to take jobs here that pay higher wages than where they're from, even accounting for cost of living differences.

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rollainm
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
quote:
But one thing we can all agree on is stricter border control. Why canít we start here? Get that fixed, and then we can move on to the difficult stuff.
By 'we' you mean 'Republicans and Democrats', right? Not 'all American citizens'?

'Cause I personally have no problem with throwing the doors wide open, provided those who enter are paying the same taxes as I am.

Neither do I, but that's not very practical in the real world.

By "stricter border control" I mean simply that. I'm all for open immigration, but it has to be regulated.

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Bokonon
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fugu, I'd see lowering the minimum wage a concession to greatly increase compliance conformance. Also, only registered non-citizen workers wouldn't pay into social security. Which, by the way is still running a surplus, or would be if we didn't keep robbing the excess to pay for other things.

-Bok

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Battler03
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
'Cause I personally have no problem with throwing the doors wide open, provided those who enter are paying the same taxes as I am. [/QB]

If you meant that literally, then...NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

We have AQ sleeper cells ALL OVER this country. They come here through the southern border. The recruiters prefer to recruit ones who are already citizens, but the thing about that is that once you've lived in America for awhile, you realize how great it is, so you make a crappy terrorist.

It's not some crazy right-wing cliche. Terrorists really do, yes, view the southern border as a great way to get in.

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rollainm
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quote:
Originally posted by Bokonon:
\1) How, and to what extent, do we prosecute/punish employers of illegals, moving forward? There are a lot of nebulous statements, but until THIS is resolved, all the other talk is pointless. In fact, I think this point, more than even border control, is something the US citizenry can agree on, even if the politicians are queasy about it.

After all, these are the actual US citizens committing a crime, as opposed to non-US citizens. I have a tendency to expect more from citizens, for some reason.

I'm far less concerned with the legal aspects of this issue than I am with the wellbeing of our fellow human beings. That isn't to say I think it's okay to hire illegal aliens over U.S. citizens, or that we should push a border control bill necessarily ahead of one that punishes employers for hiring illegals. They're related yet separate issues, and should be dealt with individually.
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lem
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quote:
We have AQ sleeper cells ALL OVER this country. They come here through the southern border. The recruiters prefer to recruit ones who are already citizens, but the thing about that is that once you've lived in America for awhile, you realize how great it is, so you make a crappy terrorist.

It's not some crazy right-wing cliche. Terrorists really do, yes, view the southern border as a great way to get in.

And yet ALL the hijackers on 911 had valid credentials to be here legally and didn't sneak through anything.
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
We have AQ sleeper cells ALL OVER this country. They come here through the southern border. The recruiters prefer to recruit ones who are already citizens, but the thing about that is that once you've lived in America for awhile, you realize how great it is, so you make a crappy terrorist.
Even if that's true (and you've given no evidence that it is), it's not an argument against opening the border. Since they're not having any trouble getting in as it is, according to you, a wide-open border wouldn't make the situation any worse.

But honestly, I'm just not a fan of locking the doors tight and hiding behind the couch because someone bad might come in. We're a large, powerful country, and as such we'll always have enemies. Take some of the money we now spent on border control and beef up the FBI's antiterror department (I doubt that's the name of it, but I'm not going to look for the name).

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Lyrhawn
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There's no reason why we can't do both. You can open the front door but still lock the screen door. Let a lot of people in sure, but track them, know where they are, that involes something like an FBI team and better controls at the boarder, and you still have to have heavy security at the border to make sure people you don't want to get in don't get in.
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rollainm
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Exactly.
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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by rollainm:
quote:
Originally posted by Bokonon:
\1) How, and to what extent, do we prosecute/punish employers of illegals, moving forward? There are a lot of nebulous statements, but until THIS is resolved, all the other talk is pointless. In fact, I think this point, more than even border control, is something the US citizenry can agree on, even if the politicians are queasy about it.

After all, these are the actual US citizens committing a crime, as opposed to non-US citizens. I have a tendency to expect more from citizens, for some reason.

I'm far less concerned with the legal aspects of this issue than I am with the wellbeing of our fellow human beings. That isn't to say I think it's okay to hire illegal aliens over U.S. citizens, or that we should push a border control bill necessarily ahead of one that punishes employers for hiring illegals. They're related yet separate issues, and should be dealt with individually.
I disagree. As long as the demand is there, and the cost of the risk remains relatively low, the employers will find ways to get illegal aliens working for them. You could build a huge wall and man machine guns every 30 meters along it, but you'd just end up with a bunch of dead folks who could've otherwise been a net positive for the economy of the US. Plus businesses trying to get all new legislation passed to import more workers on visas like the H1B

-Bok

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AvidReader
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I've heard that Mexicans move north because they can't compete with the illegal immigrants in their own country for jobs. If that's true, I'd think we'd get the most bang for our buck by encouraging economic growth in Central America.

Let's take the money we're planning on spending on a fence and instead give it to universities as grants to establish branch campuses to teach economics and business. Or give it out as small business loans.

I'd like to see Americans give freely on their own. But if we agree that illegal immigration is a problem (and I'm in the camp that's still undecided on that) then maybe we as a nation should step up and do something positive about it.

Saying, "Go sit over there quietly and starve to death" will never stop illegal immigration. We need to give people another option.

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rollainm
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Very well put. I've always thought we should go to the source of the immigration problem. They come here because it's so unlivable there.
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Nathan2006
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I have a friend whose mom is from Honduras, and still is unable to become a US citizen. She came here legally, through the proper circles, and has been here for over twenty years. Her mother died in Honduras, and she couldn't visit, because it was a possibility that she couldn't come back into the US.

Anyway, I find I have a lot of sympathy with immigrants (Even the illegal ones I know).

I really don't know that much about the economic complexity in regards to immigration (I don't know that much about economics, period.), but I really have trouble with making it harder for some really good, honest, people to come to our country, or become citizens. Even if it does keep bad, dishonest people out.

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