As the president announces his desire to work with House members on immigration reform, the Senate Immigration Bill looms in the background. Supposedly coauthored in a bipartisan fashion by "the Gang of Eight Senators," it is really an amnesty bill in disguise. Those in favor of this bill make statements about fairness and equality, but for whom: American citizens, illegal immigrants, or both? The House members feel this bill does not address the problems Americans face today and have put forth five of their own bills: The SAFE Act, giving states the power to arrest, and Border Patrol Agents the necessary tools; the Skills Visa Act, raising the number of visas allowed for highly skilled workers; the Legal Workforce Act, requiring every employer to utilize E-verify; the AG Act, creating a new guest worker program for agriculture that includes a requirement of paid minimum wage and a stay of no longer than eighteen months; and the Border Security Results Act, which passed unanimously out of committee, calling for a secure border before immigration reform. American Thinker interviewed experts to get their opinions about these bills.
Janice Kephart, the former special counsel and witness to the Senate Committee on Judiciary as well as a former advisor to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala), considers the Senate bill "horrible. Basically it is immigration reform equaling immigration minus enforcement minus national security. It promotes amnesty beyond those who are currently here." Spearheading the opposition, she wants Americans to understand that, as in the case of ObamaCare, this bill is being ramrodded down the people's throats. It is incredible how the senators have not learned their lesson. She describes how the bill "was pushed through as fast as the senators could without adequate time for review, arguments, and amendments. Only a few Senators of 'The Gang of Eight' read the bill and I am not sure which Republicans read it.The bill is hard to understand because it has contradictory sections in its 1050 pages."
She is also issuing a warning: do not believe the rhetoric. This bill actually does not significantly vet those allowed into this country with visas, demeans immigration enforcement authority, and has the effect of not requiring background checks before round one of amnesty privileges is granted. In addition, there is no requirement for deportation, no requirement for paying back taxes, and the supposed fine amounts to no more than $6 per month. Even more importantly, the bill passes the enforcement authority to the DOJ, an immigration court, or the discretion of Homeland Security, which she regards as "a field day for those who want to harm Americans. Congress is handing over its authority and oversight. There will be no standards and will be subjected only to politics, depending on what party controls the Executive office. State and local enforcement will be nonexistent. It also took out the biometric exit requirement that would have verified the departure of those here on visas and prevent overstays."
Cochise County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Dannels agrees with Kephart. He believes border security should be a mandate since the rural areas are a gateway for every major U.S. city that has been infiltrated by drug cartels, as noted in the book, The Last Witness by bestselling authors W.E.B. Griffin and William Butterworth IV. Dannels commented, "It is not a Southwest border issue but should be of concern to all Americans. We asked Senator McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Flake (R-AZ) to allow us to give input and presentations, but were denied. It is obvious that the elected officials in Washington truly do not understand what is going on down here, nor do they take the time to understand. Where is the border security in the Senate Bill? All those 'Gang of Eight' Senators should come down and live on the border for awhile. At least Congressman McCaul (R-TX) while writing his bill reached out to border sheriffs for commonsense suggestions." He is also apprehensive about how the increase in Border Patrol agents will be deployed to efficiently stop the illegal flow. Dannels calls for a primary force on the border itself, an advisory committee made up of local and state citizen groups, and the use of technology.
Besides those suggestions, former Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) would also like to see the House pass the Illegal Deduction Elimination Act. This would prevent employers from receiving a tax deduction for hiring illegal immigrants. "Americans should require E-verify anytime a firm wants to take a business deduction for employee benefits and wages. Otherwise the U.S. taxpayer is subsidizing the commission of a crime. I think the Senate Bill is just stealth amnesty. Besides the employer magnet the unions are also to blame. They are sworn to protect their membership but are now selling them out for a population that should not be in this country."
Everyone interviewed agrees that the House bills address the immigration and border security problem fairly and efficiently compared to the Senate Bill. They like the fact that the guest workers are limited to the agricultural industry since there are people waiting in line for construction jobs.
Many interviewed also agree with Bilbray that there should not be more visas given out for highly skilled workers. Bilbray noted, "People mention technical jobs are needed. Instead of talking about bringing foreigners here why not put the pressure on the school systems. Any employer who hires a foreign skilled worker should be required to pay a fee that goes to the training of Americans. It should only be a short-term fix until we develop a domestic supply so there is not a dependence on foreign workers. Lets face it, industry has become addicted to illegal immigrants."
Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) goes further than Bilbray by pointing out that if ObamaCare is implemented more employers will hire illegal immigrants to avoid paying fines or costly insurance for their employees. He is wondering if Americans see a pattern here. Just as in the process of implementing ObamaCare there was no desire by the "Gang of Eight" senators to include the House and the people's voice.
Americans who want a voice for a fair immigration policy should notify their senators and representatives that they are not in favor of the Senate Immigration Bill, but will support the piecemeal House bills. Those who do not support the rule of law should not be given more rights than those who have. The Senate bill demeans state and local enforcement, the rule of law, national security, and Congress' oversight role.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.