Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Senate agrees to prevent illegal immigrant criminals from gaining legal status

It's a total no brainer, but sometimes those obvious points are the most difficult when it comes to government bureaucracy...

May 17 (Bloomberg) -- The Senate today agreed to exclude as many as 500,000 criminal aliens from a plan to give undocumented immigrants legal status, agreeing to compromise on a proposal that nearly killed immigration legislation last month.

The Senate voted 99-0 to accept an amendment by Republicans John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl or Arizona to bar felons, repeat offenders and other criminal aliens from gaining legal status under a provision to give many of the 11 million immigrants illegally in the U.S. a path to citizenship.

[...] Last night senators agreed to let some immigrants who have ignored deportation orders remain eligible for legal status if they show family hardship or prove they did not receive adequate notice of a deportation hearing.

[...] Yesterday, the Senate blocked an amendment that would have struck the guest-worker proposal and approved one reducing the number of guest-worker visas for foreigners to 200,000 per year.

Other amendments the Senate is likely to consider would require employers to advertise jobs to Americans before foreign employees can gain permanent residency, call for additional fencing along the border and make English the nation's official language.

Finally after all this time and all these demonstrations and all this arguing over illegal immigration, it looks like some good positive steps are being taken. Illegal immigrant felons should all be denied entrance to the US and those we have in custody ought to be deported to their native country if they'll match the punishment we've deemed necessary. Fewer guest worker visas approved; that's good. And of the other ammendments being considered, I'm a big fan of the fence and English as the official language of the USA. It's about time. Assimilation to US customs used to be the norm for immigrants and that included learning English. Somewhere along the way immigrants assimilating to our norms changed to us being forced to accept immigrants as they are, putting zero expectations on them as we grant them citizenship. It's probably the lawyers' fault.

Jason Coleman has a great post on the immigration debate, where he stands on the issue, and how all the infighting among Republicans on the issue is hurting us more than helping us, although interestingly enough, the infighting points to diversity of opinion among conservatives that you don't seem to see from the left.

UPDATE @ 3:55pm: The Senate OK's a fence at the border, 83-16. It was labelled as a "'real fence' as distinct from a virtual fence" across 370 miles of the Mexican border.

UPDATE @ 3:50pm on 5/18: The Rottweiler has another immigration ammendment that's passed. This one's not so hot.

WASHINGTON – The Senate reversed itself early this morning and passed an amendment to the proposed immigration reform bill that would allow guest workers to self-petition to stay permanently in the United States after working here for four years.

I wonder if they'll bother to refuse any of those petitions...