I am sending this to 11,264 activist participants in the NumbersUSA Action Network who live in Georgia -- and to tens of thousands of other Georgians who are on our list of 1.5-million email subscribers. You are in every Congressional District and every county of Georgia. If you are a local Republican Party leader, use your position today. If you know Republican Party leaders in your county, contact them today.
It is imperative that Chambliss and Isakson announce as soon as possible that they oppose the legislative language in the Grand Compromise. Other Senators are considering voting for the amnesty right now on the basis of the Georgia Senators' support. If they get off the bill early enough, they can pull several other Senators off with them. We have a real chance to kill this bill on the basis of just your success in Georgia in helping your Senators read the fine print.
These Failures in the Bill Ensure that Illegal Immigration Will Continue After the Amnesty
You don't need to bother reading any of the talking points, myth/fact sheets and rebuttals from the White House that your Senators hand out, unless they address the following failures.
The reason? No matter what else the bill might have in it, if it doesn't address the failures listed below, there will continue to be massive illegal immigration in this country.
Failure #1: BUSH/KENNEDY BILL DOES NOT REQUIRE EXIT SYSTEM TO ENSURE AGAINST 'OVERSTAYED' ILLEGAL ALIENS IN FUTURE
If the tradeoff for giving legal status to 12-20 million illegal aliens is that this bill will ensure an end to illegal immigration in the future, the bill has to aggressively combat the problem of people entering the country legally on temporary visas and then failing to leave at the appointed time.
An estimated 40% of all illegal aliens came to this country legally on temporary visas as students, tourists and workers.
It was easy for them to stay because our government has no idea whether the millions of people entering for short-term visits each year ever leave.
The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act called for an automated entry/exit (or check-in/check-out) system that would record the arrival into and the departure from the United States of every alien. In theory, when someone failed to check out on time, the computer would flag the person's record so he could be apprehended the next time he came into contact with the government.
But the Clinton Administration and Bush Administration dragged their feet in implementing the exit portion of the system (US-VISIT is the entry portion). Last year, the Bush Administration just announced that it had no intention of implementing an exit system!
Not surprisingly, the Bush White House made sure that its Grand Compromise leaves out a requirement that a computerized exit system be in place and working before any new immigration programs can begin. This ensures that if this bill passes, we will continue to have hundreds of thousands of legal visitors becoming illegal aliens each year.
Failure #2: NO MONEY FOR ENFORCEMENT
Some of the relatives of the victims of the 9/11 attacks immediately pointed this out, noting that all the enforcement measures are subject to future appropriations.
The 9/11 Families for Secure America noted that Congress has been passing all kinds of enforcement measures through the years that never got implemented because the White House refuses to ask for funding and because the Congress routinely short-changes them.
Without appropriations, none of the talk about increased enforcement means much -- based on the track record of the last three Administrations (including the first Bush) of ignoring immigration laws.
Failure #3: AMNESTY HAPPENS BEFORE ENFORCEMENT
Of course, the White House says this is not true. They point out that the part of the amnesty that puts illegal aliens on the path to green cards and citizenship doesn't start until the enforcement triggers are met.
The triggers must be met before the Z-visas are given out to illegal aliens.
But the big hole in that argument is that illegal aliens get their legal status long before the z-visas. They get their "probationary" legal status, including a work permit and social security number, at the very beginning after the bill passes. If the z-visas are never offered (because the enforcement triggers aren't met), the bill would allow the now-legal aliens to work and live in the U.S. the rest of their lives under the probationary status.
Failure #4: ENFORCEMENT TRIGGERS ARE ABOUT PROCEDURE BUT NOT ABOUT RESULTS
The enforcement triggers are tied to starting an expanded foreign guest worker program and to extending the rewards of amnesty from lifetime residence to getting on a path to U.S. citizenship.
The triggers are all about process and nothing about results.
The bottom line for the American people is not that we want more enforcement but that we want less illegal immigration.
Without results, we couldn't care less how many Border Patrol or detention beds we have. What we care about is reports that instead of adding a net of 500,000 (official numbers) to our illegal population each year we are adding a net of 100,000 or preferably zero.
None of the triggers are tied to numbers of illegal aliens getting across our borders or overstaying their visas or absconding after a court orders them removed.
The triggers can be met without any reduction in future illegal immigration at all.
Rosemary Jenks writes:
So the triggers do NOT require that DHS has operational control of the border;
..... they do NOT require that DHS comply with the law and build all of the fence;
..... they do NOT require that DHS implement the exit system that would allow us to know if "guest workers" actually leave, even though it has been in the law since 1996;
..... they do NOT require work site enforcement;
..... and they do NOT require that DHS increase its apprehension rate or its alien absconder removal rate.
(Read Rosemary's short summary of S. 1348.
Obviously, Sens. Chambliss and Isakson are pushing the process triggers because they believe they would result in less illegal immigration. But given the insistence of the last three Presidents that law enforcement agents not aggressively use the laws at their disposals to stop the flow of illegal workers, why should any American trust a trigger that is not tied to results?
Without a results trigger, we are left entirely to the matter of trust.
The fact is that S. 1348 primarily gives Pres. Bush the power to do what the law already requires him to do or allows him to do but which he has refused to do for six years.
He has taken our border security hostage and now suggests that he might do these things that current law requires/allows if Congress will just pay him a ransom of amnesty and an expanded guest worker program.
As I said earlier, Chambliss and Isakson apparently think paying the ransom is worth it if Bush really means it this time that he will obey the law. But there is virtually nothing in the bill that should give them or us any confidence.
The only effective triggers in this bill are connected to weapons aimed at the heads of American citizens.
For a great analysis of the weakness of these triggers, be sure to read Sen. Grassley's (R-Iowa) "Trigger" floor speech.
As a Senator who was hoodwinked by Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1986 to support an amnesty in exchange for enforcement that never happened, Sen. Grassley is a man whom every Senator should consult before making the same kind of 20-year costly mistake.
WHAT ABOUT THE GOOD THINGS IN THE BILL
If you frame the political context as do Sen. Kyl (R-Ariz.) and your Georgia Senators, you can see how they expect us to praise them.
From their perspective, without their participation, Pres. Bush and the Democrats who control Congress would pass an amnesty bill at least as bad as the one the Senate passed last year but the Republican-controlled House stopped.
In their way of thinking, they have saved the country immensely by:
Increasing annual legal immigration by 300,000 a year instead of by a million a year.
Eliminating chain migration categories 16 years from now -- after doubling the level of chain migration for the next 16 years. (See Rosemary Jenks' chart showing the annual increases in green cards and guest worker visas.)
Eliminating the visa lottery (55,000 a year).
Creating a more substantial system of workplace verification of employees, and seeking larger increases in enforcement tools.
There is no doubt that they have forced the White House and Sen. Kennedy to make some concessions. And there is no doubt that some things in the bill like the elimination of the lottery and the enhancement of workplace enforcement and the attempted elimination of chain migration are fine gestures.
But there was no reason to negotiate ransom for these things.
The Senators who claim they don't really like rewarding illegal aliens but had to do it to keep the rewards down forget that if they had all stood their ground, they could have added up to the 40 Senators it will take to kill the bill on a cloture vote.
The only reason the Bush/Kennedy Comprehensive Amnesty of any kind has a chance of getting through the Senate is because of Senators like Chambliss, Isakson and Kyl who negotiated for the lesser of evils instead of stopping the evil.
It is not too late. They can all stop negotiating ransom with the hostage takers, stop this bill and begin working to fund enforcement and to force the Bush Administration to implement the laws on the books.