Bob's Weekly Report: THE SENATE AMNESTY BILL: NOT THE SOLUTION TO OUR IMMIGRATION PROBLEM
The United States of America is a nation of immigrants. The overwhelming majority of Americans can go back just a few generations to find ancestors who came to America, the land of opportunity. Legal immigration has blessed our nation with talent, diversity, and a commitment to freedom. However, we are also a nation of laws. Illegal immigration flaunts the law and mocks our system of justice. It costs our taxpayers billions of dollars every year, while taking jobs from law-abiding citizens and legal residents.
A recent study found that there are over twelve million illegal aliens currently living in the United States and that number continues to rise. Clearly, this situation has reached crisis proportions and cannot be allowed to continue.
Unfortunately, the compromise legislation that was recently proposed by Senator Ted Kennedy will do nothing to curb this ongoing problem. In fact, it will have the opposite affect. The Senate immigration bill actually rewards illegal immigrants who have consistently broken our laws by giving them amnesty. Under the Senate proposal, virtually all illegal immigrants who have not been convicted of three or more misdemeanors or a felony will be granted legal status and a work permit on the day they file for a visa.
While I believe that a limited and temporary guest worker program could meet the needs of some sectors of the American economy, I am opposed to amnesty. Amnesty undermines the laws of our country and encourages further illegal immigration. Amnesty grants lawbreakers with the same benefits we withhold from those who have played by the rules and are waiting their turn.
The Senate immigration bill not only rewards illegal immigrants with amnesty but it also fails to sufficiently address national security concerns or secure our borders. Under the Senate bill, illegal immigrants who receive a legalized status must consent to a background check, but that check must be finished in one day. If it is not finished, the Department of Homeland Security must give the illegal immigrant a legalized status anyway.
Additionally, the Senate proposal actually weakens some of our existing immigration laws. The proposed legislation reduces existing punishments for illegal reentry by convicted aliens from a maximum of ten years to two years imprisonment in certain circumstances.
Completely closing our borders to legal immigrants who seek to experience the American dream or who are needed in this country is not the answer. However, we need to aggressively crack down on illegal immigration. Now is the time to do so and to ensure that security within our borders is the highest priority. The Senate immigration bill, which allows the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S. from day one and then provides them a special pathway to citizenship, is not the solution to our immigration problem.