More Misinformation from the Media:
This is a tough topic, but it isn’t insolvable. In fact Congress came up with logical solutions twice in the past 11 years but each time lacked the political resolve to turn decent bills into law.
In 2006 Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) put partisanship aside and drafted a comprehensive immigration bill that required undocumented immigrants to pay a fine and back taxes to apply for a six-year worker visa. After that period, they could pay another fine to get a green card granting permanent residency, and ultimately apply for citizenship. The Senate passed the bill, but not the House.
In 2013, the so-called Gang of Eight, which included four Republican and four Democrat senators, drafted legislation that set up a 13-year path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. The bill also would strengthen border security, provide more green cards for both farm and high-tech workers, and step up prosecution of employers who exploit illegal residents. That bill died too.
Both failed efforts showed Congress can write effective immigration legislation, but can’t pass it. – Why Immigration Reform Is Impossible with Trump as President. Philadelphia Inquirer, Editorial, 10/1/17. [Link]
Fact Check: The bills mentioned were only “effective” as wish lists for mass immigration interests. The 2006 bill proposed to grant amnesty to most of the 12 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. at that time, and provide them a pathway to citizenship. It also proposed to increase legal immigration from a little more than one million a year to 2.5 million annually.
And what would have immigration control advocates gotten in return for these monumental concessions? Very little. One was a promise to build a 370-mile wall along the Mexican border, but it was just a promise without the appropriation of money to carry it out. Also before we built the wall we had to “consult” with Mexico.
In addition, there were some wrist-slap penalties for illegal aliens who applied for amnesty, such as having to pay fines and some of the taxes they avoided. At the time it appeared unlikely that the understaffed immigration service could have enforced these provisions very well after taking on a new caseload of millions.
The 2013 bill offered even more of a bonanza to the interests supporting mass immigration, specifically those seeking cheap labor and those seeking cheap votes. Like the 2006 bill, it proposed to give amnesty to perhaps ten million or more illegal aliens, thus rewarding them for breaking our laws with a pathway to citizenship. It also sought to boost legal immigration from one million a year to two million for the first decade after passage and to 1.5 million thereafter.
As icing on the cake for cheap labor seekers, it proposed a sharp expansion of H-1B visas to allow foreign workers to take skilled jobs in the U.S.—which would have denied employment to skilled Americans. Also, it would have increased low-skilled visas for foreign workers, thus harming Americans are the other end of the economic spectrum. The only redeeming feature of the bill, thrown in as a sop to immigration restrictionists, was making the E-Verify system mandatory to deter hiring of illegal aliens,
There was little “decency” about these bills. They were heavy-handed attempts to make immigration policy even more captive to vested interests. President Trump’s proposals for immigration control have their flaws, but at least they acknowledge that legal immigration, now running at the highest sustained level in our history, should be reduced. Further, they offer effective steps to deal with illegal immigration. Any bill lacking these provisions is not genuine reform.