Bordering on reform.Byline: The Register-Guard
Given the vast chasm between those who favor a temporary guest worker program that would let undocumented immigrants live and work in this country legally and those who want only tougher border enforcement and oppose any legal status for the 12 million already here illegally, it's hard to see how Congress will reach any agreement on immigration reform Immigration reform is the common term used in political discussions regarding changes to immigration policy. In a certain sense, reform can be general enough to include promoted, expanded, or open immigration, but in reality discussions of reform often deal with the aspect of this year.
If the best that lawmakers can come up with is the House-approved bill that would further fortify for·ti·fy
v. for·ti·fied, for·ti·fy·ing, for·ti·fies
To make strong, as:
a. To strengthen and secure (a position) with fortifications.
b. To reinforce by adding material. the U.S.-Mexico border, punish employers who hire undocumented workers and criminalize crim·i·nal·ize
tr.v. crim·i·nal·ized, crim·i·nal·iz·ing, crim·i·nal·iz·es
1. To impose a criminal penalty on or for; outlaw.
2. To treat as a criminal. both illegal immigrants and the well-meaning groups that try to help them, then Congress should set this debate aside for a future session. Such punitive legislation would only ensure more decades of dysfunctional immigration policy An immigration policy is any policy of a state that affects the transit of persons across its borders, but especially those that intend to work and to remain in the country. .
If there is hope for comprehensive, workable immigration reform, it can be found in the Senate, where the Judiciary Committee Judiciary Committee may refer to:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who harbors presidential ambitions, had threatened to push a straight border-protection bill that resembled the House version unless committee members agreed on an alternative approach. Ironically, Frist's threat prodded moderate Republicans to join Democrats in approving the kind of overhaul that is far superior to a walled-off border and the designation of 12 million instant felons.
The bill approved by the committee included key elements of a com- prehensive bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain For McCain's grandfather and father, see John S. McCain, Sr. and John S. McCain, Jr., respectively
John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936 in Panama Canal Zone) is an American politician, war veteran, and currently the Republican Senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. , R-Ariz., and Ted Kennedy For other persons named Ted Kennedy, see Ted Kennedy (disambiguation).
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (born February 22, 1932) is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. , D-Mass. It would allow workers to stay up to six years, after which they would have to return home unless they petition, and are accepted, for permanent residency and eventual citizenship. The committee also agreed to a pilot program that would allow 1.5 million undocumented immigrants over a five-year period to hold agricultural jobs under temporary visas (they also could apply for green cards to become permanent residents).
The Judiciary Committee adopted as well a welcome amendment that would prevent criminal prosecution of churches, charities and individuals who provide food, shelter, medical care and counseling to undocumented immigrants. Unlike their colleagues in the House, Judiciary Committee members recognized that acts of mercy should not be designated as federal crimes.
Much more work remains to be done if Congress is to produce truly comprehensive reform. At every turn, the enforcement-only crowd stands ready to leap into the fray, and Frist has given no indication that he'll hold them at bay - or that he won't be at the head of the pack.
To his credit, President Bush has called for a "civil and dignified" discussion on immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. and compromise by both sides. He also has recognized that immigration reform must acknowledge economic realities by including a guest-worker program and a way for the millions of undocumented workers to "come out of the shadows."
After a weekend of massive street demonstrations that stretched from California to the nation's capital, the Senate Judiciary Committee The U.S. Senate established the Committee on the Judiciary on December 10, 1816, as one of the original 11 standing committees. It is also one of the most powerful committees in Congress; among its wide range of jurisdictions is investigation of federal judicial nominees and oversight of has produced a welcome response to the House's harsh immigration bill.