EMERSON RADIO ADDRESS: Immigration Bill Crosses the Line
"It doesn't make any sense at all to put your cart before your horse, but the U.S. Senate is debating a proposal that will do something far less logical than that if a recent immigration reform proposal is passed.
Calling the bill a compromise (it is not) and saying it does not include amnesty for illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S. (it does) are just two of the many incongruities between what this bill is and what proponents say it is.
Starting with the obvious, some in Congress have seemingly forgotten that citizenship in our great country is a privilege, not a right. We have a proud tradition of immigration to the United States, they claim; and we do. But that tradition is one of legal immigration, through which our ancestors observed the process written in American law in order to come to the land of opportunity. It should not be changed to accommodate those who flaunt the rule of law in the country they wish to live in.
Allowing millions of illegal aliens to automatically receive immediate legal status in this country is an inexcusable dismissal of people from around the world over the ages who have abided by the process set forth in American law.
Specifically, the bill would create a renewable, four-year "Z Visa," a document which would cost $5,000 and all but guarantee a pathway to citizenship for those who wish to pursue it. For those who do not, the "Z Visa" could be repeatedly renewed and the illegal immigrant could become a legal permanent resident of the country. Though the Senators who constructed this legislation assure the public that illegal immigrants would not be allowed to jump in line ahead of anyone who now has an application pending, that is not entirely as it seems, either.
Illegal immigrants would have to wait three or eight years for their application to be processed while the backlog at U.S. Immigration is cleared. However, they would be allowed to stay in the U.S. while their citizenship application is processed.
Unfortunately for those who choose the legal path to immigration, they remain in their home countries while they wait.
Proponents of immigration reform also claim they would put border security measures in place before any temporary or permanent residencies are given away to illegal immigrants. But this points to another problem: Congress last year passed a great many improvements to our system of border security, but this bill would not give them enough time to be thoroughly implemented or proven to work before opening the citizenship door to millions of illegal aliens now in the U.S.
The worst thing about this proposal, however, is the fact that it allows illegal immigrants and potential immigrants, legal and illegal, to the U.S. to assume that we are not a serious nation when it comes to enforcement of the law. It says that the easiest and fastest way to U.S. citizenship is to rush in now and get your green card later.
Already, one portion of this proposal has been voted down in the U.S. Senate. No longer would a temporary, two-year "Y Visa" be available through a worker program. I sincerely hope the rest of this misguided proposal soon meets the same fate as that one provision already has - because this bill represents a terrible precedent by which we solve the problem of mass lawbreaking by changing the laws of our land which are being broken. Our nation simply cannot cross this line on amnesty and ever expect to be able to turn back.."