The GOP's Civil War
Put that non-American flag away
Bill to Broaden Immigration Law Gains in Senate
by RACHEL L. SWARNS
Published: March 28, 2006
ASHINGTON, March 27 — With Republicans deeply divided, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Monday to legalize the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants and ultimately to grant them citizenship, provided that they hold jobs, pass criminal background checks, learn English and pay fines and back taxes.
The panel also voted to create a vast temporary worker program that would allow roughly 400,000 foreigners to come to the United States to work each year and would put them on a path to citizenship as well.
The legislation, which the committee sent to the full Senate on a 12-to-6 vote, represents the most sweeping effort by Congress in decades to grant legal status to illegal immigrants. If passed, it would create the largest guest worker program since the bracero program brought 4.6 million Mexican agricultural workers into the country between 1942 and 1960.
Any legislation that passes the Senate will have to be reconciled with the tough border security bill passed in December by the Republican-controlled House, which defied President Bush's call for a temporary worker plan.
The Senate panel's plan, which also includes provisions to strengthen border security, was quickly hailed by Democrats, a handful of Republicans and business leaders, as well as by the immigrant advocacy organizations and church groups that have sent tens of thousands of supporters of immigrant rights into the streets of a number of cities to push for such legislation in recent days.
But even as hundreds of religious leaders and others rallied on the grounds of the Capitol on Monday, chanting "Let our people stay!," the plan was fiercely attacked by conservative Republicans who called it nothing more than an offer of amnesty for lawbreakers. It remained unclear Monday night whether Senator Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, would allow the bill to go for a vote this week on the floor or would substitute his own bill, which focuses on border security. His aides have said that Mr. Frist, who has said he wants a vote on immigration this week, would be reluctant to move forward with legislation that did not have the backing of a majority of the Republicans on the committee.
Only 4 of the 10 Republicans on the committee supported the bill. They were the committee chairman, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Sam Brownback of Kansas. All eight Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the legislation.
The rift among Republicans on the committee reflects the deep divisions in the party as business groups push to legalize their workers and conservatives battle to stem the tide of illegal immigration. Mr. Specter acknowledged the difficulties ahead, saying, "We are making the best of a difficult situation." But he said he believed that the legislation would ultimately pass the Senate and would encourage the millions of illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows.
There's supposedly a controversy about flags now.
If they wave the American flag, they're dirty immigrants stealing American jobs. If they wave their national flags, they don't want to be Americans.
OK, let's cut the bullshit and wish fulfillment for a minute.
You like to eat? Well, guess who buses your table and delivers the food. We all like to pretend it's someone else exploiting immigrants. Well, it's us and we like cheap labor just fine. We like what it brings and how it allows us to have nice jobs in offices which someone else cleans.
You know, I live in a neighborhood filled with Mexicans. Once all Puerto Ricans, now mixed. And you know, the men work two jobs, the women raise their young families and you see the kids learning English the way everybody else does. Crime is way fucking down.
Even when you try to become legal, and those who can do, ICE is a fucking nightmare. Stand outside the Javits federal building any weekday, long fucking lines, they lose papers, miss deadlines, screw things up beyond imagining. When we talk about legal immigrants is that they get the shitty end of the stick as well.
It's easy to engage in the fantasy of tossing all illegals, but the fact is that is a fantasy and for the most part, they do jobs like cutting meat and picking fruit and cooking in restaurants.
You want to be able to tell who really belongs here, ICE is more problem than help.
It's not like you can snap your fingers and become a citizen. If you live in New York, you read about this once a month or so. And the law abiding get screwed.
posted by Steve @ 2:14:00 AM