Monday, June 24, 2013

The Rush Is On (A Certain Immigration Update)

A daily dose of immigration-related links collected by Fred Bauer
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It's Monday.  At 5:30 pm, it will be time to vote for cloture on 1200-page immigration bill amendment that was just introduced on Friday afternoon.  The main event of today is the cloture vote, and the main immigration-policy event of this weekend was reading those 1200 pages to see what was changed or added.  (Tom Jones has a helpful version showing text changes here.)

Here's a partial round-up of these findings on Corker-Hoeven.

  • 1. It’s so darn expensive
  • 2. It’s Congressional micromanagement on steroids
  • 3. The trigger isn’t as powerful as it seems at first blush
  • 4. System to track foreigners will have big gaps
  • 5. Tens of billions for the border, but little further away (PS: Even Corker admits severe limits to internal enforcement)   
--The Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment doesn’t change the bill’s amnesty first framework.  Instead it goes even further and creates an automatic amnesty for future illegal aliens.  Section 2302 says if you overstay your visa in the future you can still apply for a green card and become a citizen.  It is permanent lawlessness.  Joined with existing language that restricts future enforcement, it guarantees unending illegal immigration.
--Contrary to their rhetoric there is no border surge.  The Secretary doesn’t even have to start hiring new border patrol agents until 2017, and the amendment only gives her until 2021 to increase the number by 20,000.  According to the National Association of Former Border Patrol Agents, this hiring process could take up to 20 years.  Much like the 2006 law requiring a 700-mile border fence, it’s never going to be happen.
--To raise money, the amendment increases fees on visas for legal immigrants, but keeps the same low fees and fines for those applying for amnesty – favoring illegal over legal immigrants.  Under the 2007 comprehensive immigration bill, amnesty applicants had to pay up to $8,000 – vastly more than the fines in the current plan which total only $2,000 and are subject to numerous waivers.  The Gang has repeatedly claimed their bill is completely paid for by fees.  However, under the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment, the American taxpayers are on the hook for $38 billion.
Bill Jacobson: Yes, DHS can still waive a lot of the requirements.

Byron York surveys some of the details of this new bill...and a new jobs plan in it...

Mickey Kaus reminds folks that these enforcement promises could easily be broken:
Nothing this Congress does, remember, can prevent future Congresses from reneging on the back end of this “legalize first” deal. Budget considerations alone will mean the advertised ”surge” won’t be sustained–as Obama’s earlier 1,500 man National Guard surge wasn’t sustained.  Future lawmakers will be looking around for “offsetting” spending cuts and that bloated 40,000 man border patrol will stick out like a nail that wants to be hammered. Plus, once
Democrats have eaten their meal illegal immigrants have their legalization in hand, Democrats will lose 80% of their motivation to make good on the law’s elaborate promises. They’re already unhappy with the back end of the deal–Sen. Leahy calls it “a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.”  Meanwhile, militarizing the border is drawing immediate protests. Business interests–especially farmers–can be expected to oppose the requirement that they use a computerized system to check new hires. There will be little to stop these forces–the ones that have blocked enforcement until now–except some Republican pols saying “But … but you pwomised!”
Kaus also notes some loopholes for the fencing, E-Verify, the border patrol, and more...

The Hill: "A Senate Republican amendment to the immigration bill that calls for tougher border security includes language that could allow millions of immigrants to apply for a green card without most of the new enforcement measures in place."

Who might benefit from this new amendment?  The media have noted numerous set-asides inserted into this bill.

For Alaska's Murkowski (R) and Begich (D), as Byron York reports:
The Hoeven-Corker amendment says the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research must “devise a methodology…to designate shortage occupations in zone 1 occupations, zone 2 occupations, and zone 3 occupations.” And then it adds, pretty much out of nowhere: “Such methodology must designate Alaskan seafood processing in zones 1, 2, and 3 as shortage occupations.” The next paragraph reiterates: “Alaskan seafood processing in zones 1, 2, and 3 must be designated as shortage occupations.” No other state receives such special treatment. Just Alaska, in what appears to be a favor to a powerful fisheries industry looking for low-cost labor. Why did Alaska merit such special consideration? The bill doesn’t say. But Sen. Murkowski has been an early non-Gang supporter of the immigration reform effort, and Sen. Begich is an endangered Democrat up for re-election in 2014 who needs to show Alaska voters that he is delivering for them.
For Nevada's Reid (D) and Heller (R), some help in the tourism industry is included (as Breitbart reports below):

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) have inserted a provision that amounts to little more than a handout to Las Vegas casinos into the repackaged immigration reform bill, Breitbart News has learned. This provision, a brazen example of crony capitalism, was inserted into the immigration law enforcement section of the bill despite the fact that it has nothing whatsoever to do with "immigration" or "law enforcement."

On page 66 of the repackaged bill, the following provision appears:
“CORPORATION FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION.—Sec- 9(d)(2)(B) of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (22 U.S.C. 2131(d)(2)(B)) is amended by striking ‘‘For each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015,’’ and inserting ‘‘For each fiscal year after 2012.”
The Travel Promotion Act (TPA) of 2009 allows the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to spend up to $100 million on promoting travel to specific areas of the country. If the provision Reid and Heller inserted into the proposed immigration reform legislation becomes law, the benefits of the TPA would be extended indefinitely.

Pundits react: Jay Cost: "Increasingly, it looks as though the Corker-Hoeven amendment is a Christmas tree of goodies meant to secure wavering lawmakers"...Bill Kristol is not impressed....neither is Brit Hume...Yuval Levin: "Is this any way to make such an important set of decisions about the country’s future?"....Good round-up of the Sunday shows' clash of the senators on immigration at Hot Air...

Sarah Palin isn't exactly fond of the immigration bill:
But a key part of American exceptionalism is the rule of law. Border security is fundamental to the rule of law, as is incentivizing those who follow the legal path to citizenship instead of punishing them by promoting lawbreakers. This is non-negotiable.  It’s time our lawmakers remember that we are a sovereign nation of laws. This bill ignores that, and ignores the will of the people. The continued porous border goes against what politicians assured us was in this mountain-high bill, and in typical D.C. style it flies in the face of what many politicians campaigned on. I heard their campaign promises. You heard them, too.
It’s time for concerned Americans to flood our legislators’ phone lines with the input they need to hear from We the People. Join the mama grizzlies who are rearing up tirelessly to swat away false claims that amnesty is a good thing. Michelle Malkin rightly said the issue is not secure the border first, it’s “secure the border. Period.” Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter have also offered superb warnings on amnesty’s economic impacts to the middle class.
The US Chamber of Commerce is unleashing a new ad on Monday to support the Gang of Eight's bill.  Two ironies:
  • It features a speech made by Sen. Rand Paul, who has denounced S. 744.
  • It encourages voters to call to end "de facto amnesty," even though millions will stay in "de facto amnesty" (as Marco Rubio puts it) even if the bill passes.
In NYT: Yes, the White House played a major role in drafting immigration bill...and potentially some Democrats are still on the fence because of fears about what this bill might mean for average Americans: "Liberals like Mr. Sanders and Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, remain concerned about new visa programs and their effect on American workers and wages. The jobless rate, 7.6 percent, is three percentage points higher than six years ago, and income inequality has widened."  Interesting point in latter NYT story: "most Democrats concede that barring an abrupt shift in the political climate, they will almost certainly fall in line behind their leaders."

(Link to this issue here.)   

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