Friday, May 26, 2006

The Tipping Point in the Immigration Discussion

For months now, as immigration has been discussed almost nightly on Lou Dobbs (which I never watch) or fairly regularly on Glenn Beck (which I listen to when I can) I've had trouble getting worked up over the issue. I know it should matter to me whether immigrants that came here illegally can stay or go or have a job or get in-state does matter, I guess. I mean, I often have an opinion on such issues, but can't bring myself to engage in a lot of dialogue about them.

Until now.

Before today, all I really knew about the Immigration Bill passed in the Senate this week, was that it provided for a fence, which I saw as an improvement over no fence. Then I heard Glenn say this morning that the Senate bill (among other things) gives in-state tuition to immigrants and actually asks for less fence then the House bill. (by the way, Beck said also that he thinks that Senate isn't as serious about immigration because only 1/3 of the members are answerable to the people in November, while the entire House is up for re-election.)

So, while those items were frustrating, they didn't hold my ire.

NRO has an editorial this morning about the bill, here's what really showed me that what is going on in the Senate is, in fact, Temporary Madness:

The bill forbids the federal government to use any information included in an application for amnesty in national-security or criminal investigations. Any federal agent who does use that information would be fined $10,000 - which is five times more than an illegal alien would have to pay to get the amnesty. The Senate, on a tie vote, defeated John Cornyn's (R., Tex.) attempt to rectify these provisions.

You have got to be kidding me.

Where's the uproar over this? Why is it sticking out in an editorial, but no where else? Where's the list of Senators who voted this down?

It's one thing to say that people have amnesty, and will not be punished for illegally coming into this country in the first place, but it's something else entirely to say that they are also protected from investigations involving national security.

Consider the following scenario:
Terrorist X, proud member of Al Qaeda, is living in the US. He snuck over the border from Mexico a few months before 9/11, and he knew some of the bombers, but not well. More importantly, he knows some guys that are here legally, that are making some plans. Terrorist X wants to be involved and to have official documents in order to ride planes with his pals. He's excited over the amnesty program, and knows that he doesn't have to worry about making up stories for his paper work because the Federal authorities can't use any of it to capture other terrorists.

Unbelievable. I mean, I just made that all up, but it isn't that far outside the realm of possibility.

If these provisions are not left out of the final bill, and if I had the money, I'd start a fund for the federal agents to help them pay their $10,000 fines for national-security investigations.