June 29, 2007
Posted by Brian Sikma under Congress
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By: Brian Sikma
On Thursday the flawed comprehensive immigration reform bill that was before the Senate failed to receive enough votes to proceed to a final vote. A benchmark of 60 votes was needed to move the bill forward and the final vote tally was 46-53, with the majority voting against amnesty. Several senators switched their votes after hearing from thousands of constituents who urged them to abandon a bill that rewards law breakers. At one point, the U.S. Senate switchboard was shut down because of the thousands of phone calls pouring into Senate offices.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) spoke after the bill’s demise and said that “the big winner today was obstruction.” In a way this is ironic since Sen. Reid, his party, and their weak Republican allies such as Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), tried to force this bill through the Senate under streamlined procedures. The whole atmosphere of debate that surrounded this legislation obstructed the ability of constituents, policy analysts and even fellow senators to have a full say in what the bill contained.
If any obstruction took place, it was the people obstructing the ability of Senate Old Guards to ram legislation through a procedure that minimized accountability and clarity. That’s the kind of obstruction Washington could use more of.
In some of the “after action” commentary that has been going on, some have pointed out the growing group of young, conservative senators joined forces with the handful of older conservative stalwarts in defeating this bill. In this debate older senators tended to be a little more political on this issue while senators such as Coburn, DeMint, and Thune aggressively stood for principled policy. In the future, when issues as important as immigration reform come up, we need to stand by those senators who are principled even in the face of establishment opposition.
June 28, 2007
By: Brian Sikma
Today the Senate is poised to hold a cloture vote on S. 1639, the immigration reform legislation that is supposed to resolve the problem of 12 to 15 million illegal aliens in this country. In previous articles I have attempted to outline some of the more outrageous portions of this legislation. This bill is an amnesty bill and, at the rate the Senate is acting, no amendments can change that.
Throughout the floor debate on this legislation the Democratic majority has refused to allow minority conference senators to voice their own opinions on this bill. Senators who rose to speak on any particular portion of the bill were allowed to only respond to either the amendment then under consideration or some statement given by a Democratic senator.
The fact that Senate leaders such as Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) are attempting to ram this cobbled piece of legislation through the Senate without following normal channels of debate is disturbing. When legislation so critical and so wide ranging in its impact on our society is cobbled together behind closed doors with the help of special interests, it would be a wise thing to allow individual senators ample floor time to express their objections to the bill and offer amendments.
When the future of American border security, the future of our immigration and citizenship process, and the question of whether or not we will mandate that new immigrants and guest workers learn to assimilate themselves into our country are at stake, we must not allow seriously flawed legislation to passed whenever more reasonable and law respecting solutions are possible. Some senators have argued that this bill is the best we can get; we would do better enforcing the laws currently in place than in enacting S. 1639.
In press releases aimed at constituents back home, one senator used tough language to talk about deporting those who would violate S. 1639 once it became law. If we’re going to start talking about deportation, why not start right now in deporting the roughly 600,000 individuals who have been order to leave but have not yet left?
Please contact your senators today and urge them to vote no on the cloture motion for S. 1639! The website www.senate.gov has the tools you need to find out who your senators are and what their contact information is.
Amnesty Eight, By: The Editors of National Review
Don’t forget to check out the Newt Gingerich video at the bottom of the previous article.
June 27, 2007
By: Brian Sikma
After losing the battle for the first immigration bill, the Senate is proceeding to consider a “new” bill that contains many of the same flawed features that its predecessor had. S. 1639’s solution to the 12 to 15 million illegal aliens in this country is to offer them a blanket amnesty. Although the bill contains provisions for a guest worker program and strengthened border security, the majority of the bill’s 400 pages spell out a complex series of new regulations that will govern the amnesty process.
With important parts of the bill written in broad and sweeping language, S. 1639 is not exactly comprehensive. This bill is every immigration lawyer’s dream, every immigration lawbreaker’s hope, and every taxpayer’s nightmare. In one section, applicants for a proposed “Z-A” visa will be allowed to appeal a denial of visa and utilize the help of an attorney paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
The central legal vehicle for turning illegals into legals is the “Z” visa. This visa will come in two forms. First, within 180 days of this law’s enactment the Department of Homeland Security will be required to begin issuing probationary Z visas. Nearly every single illegal alien will be eligible for these visas. In fact, you have to be here illegally to be eligible for these visas-no legals allowed. The other requirements for eligibility are that you were in this country before January 1st of 2007 and that you are related to someone who has a job.
This idea that illegals who come over the border between January 1st and this bill’s passage will be honest about the fact that they missed the “deadline” is not exactly far sighted. These people, many of whom may have good intentions, came here illegally and we cannot expect them to self-deport themselves when a little bit of document fraud can “prove” you were in the country before the deadline. If the Social Security Administration can’t tell which Social Security Numbers are false, and how many people used that number, do we think that an overworked Citizenship and Immigration Services agency will be able to recognize a few hundred thousand fraudulent documents out of 12-15 million applications?
Upon receiving the application for a new Z visa, the government has one business day to run a background check to determine whether or not the applicant has committed any offence that would prevent them from receiving the visa. According to the Heritage Foundation, the FBI takes up to 90 days for name checks on illegals seeking to receive benefits. There is absolutely no way that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency will be able to adequately assess each individual applicant, much less run a thorough back ground check on the individual.
The second form of the Z visa is a regular Z visa which will replace the prohibationary version. The current wording of S. 1639 does not mandate any date by which probationary Z visa holders will be required to upgrade to the regular Z visas. This means that the easily obtained probationary Z visa may not be all that probationary. Limited standards of assimilation are required to renew either version of the Z visa, but the Z visa is infinitely renewable meaning that the vaunted “guest worker” program may not have so much “guest” in it.
With no English language requirement to receive the probationary visa, immigrants are not required familiarize themselves with the basics of our country. This failure to assimilate into our culture is a major flaw in the current immigration proposal and should be reason enough to oppose this bill.
When we look at this problem we have to realize that every government agency that will be participating in the implementation of these new regulations will be the same set agencies that failed to properly use the laws already on the books to prevent this situation from happening. Current immigration law is complex, and the current bureaucratic make-up of key agencies has not operated at efficient levels of productivity.
In providing a solution to this problem, Congress and the Executive Branch must understand that the solution to resolving the status of illegal aliens is not to change the law but uphold the law! We do not need more complex regulations, we do not need laws that reward lawbreakers. We will be doing ourselves a serious disfavor by creating an atmosphere where the rule of law is trampled on. We ask that our citizens uphold the law, we ask that immigrants follow the proper legal channels, and then our lawmakers seek to implement a solution to a lawbreaking problem by rewarding illegal behavior.
Take action today and call or e-mail your Senators and tell them that the solution to the illegal immigration problem is not amnesty but border security and respect for the rule of law. We don’t need to change the law, we need to enforce the law. Go to www.senate.gov to find your Senators’ contact information.
Immigration without Assimilation is Disintegration, By: Brian Sikma
Undeniably Amnesty, The Conerstone of the Senate’s Immigration Proposal, By: Matthew Spalding
The Senate’s Amnesty Bill: A Muddled Legal Morass, By: Kris Kobach
June 12, 2007
By: Brian Sikma
Senator Barak Hussein Obama has now announced his health care plan for insuring 45 million uninsured Americans. The goal of the plan is to provide more affordable coverage to those who may be in serious need health insurance. While adults are not required to participate in the plan, every uninsured child in America would be required to take part in the program.
Basically, the plan would create a new government program (a hallmark solution from Democrats), increase the amount of regulations on current insurance providers, require businesses to offer coverage to employees or pay a set percentage of revenue into a federal program for covering the uninsured, and create a federally controlled market place (“controlled market place”, isn’t that an oxymoron?) that would allow the different health care coverage providers to compete with each other for customers. The main theme of the plan is controlling the cost of health care. There are several ways to control costs in a health insurance program; you can limit the amount of money that hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies can charge for their services, or you can have government pick up the tab on expensive treatments. The Obama plan does both.
Of course, if government is going to pay for some of the more expensive facets of the plan, then the place were the government gets its money from is going to have to cough up some extra revenue. Since government cannot make money like a profit-making enterprise, it gets its money from you, the taxpayer. Mr. Obama argues that his plan can be paid for by allowing tax cuts for those making over $250,000 or more a year to expire. The estimated $50 to $65 billion cost of the plan will be paid for by these tax increases.
The problem with this logic is that it assumes that income earners in the $250,000 a year and or higher bracket will continue to earn money at the same rate that they did under the tax cuts. If we start penalizing people for making a certain amount of money, doesn’t it follow that those individuals will seek to minimize their taxes by possibly making less money? If you’re going to see you hard earned work taken away by the government, you have less of an incentive to work as hard. The end result will be people earning less money and thereby contributing less in revenue. If the health coverage program is to continue to operate after this decline in revenues, the government will have to either go in debt some more, or raise tax rates on all income brackets.
A selling point of the Obama health plan is Mr. Obama’s assertion that the plan will save the average family $2,500 a year. This sounds like a good deal until you realize that Mr. Obama and his party voted for a budget resolution that will raise taxes on the American people by $900 billion dollars over the next 5 years. Most people, including politicians, can’t comprehend such a high number. In terms that we can understand, the Heritage Foundation estimated that this tax increase will average out to $2,641 per family per year.
In sum, Mr. Obama has proposed a plan to save America’s families $2,500 a year, but yet he and his party have supported a tax increase that will raise taxes by $2,641 a year. Assuming the Obama plan works as advertised, you get to lose approximately $141 a year. This cost does not cover the related costs of going with a national health care plan. American health care and American families do not need more government intervention in their economic affairs.