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September 27, 2006

Immigration Reform, in Pieces

There is an Editorial in the New York Times about the attempts by House Republicans to fool voters with false solutions about immigration reform. These attempts are reflected locally by Sheriff Hall who offers up custody as a solution;

“Published: September 26, 2006 This can’t be what President Bush had in mind when he gave a prime-time speech about immigration in May. “An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive,” he told the nation, “because all elements of this problem must be addressed together, or none of them will be solved at all.”

That was then. Now we have the Republican-controlled House passing a pre-election lineup of narrow enforcement measures packaged to give voters a false impression of resolve. Mr. Bush has even given up talking a good game on immigration: he says he will sign the Republican legislation as a “first step” toward the real reform he has said he wants but has done depressingly little to achieve.
Republican leaders want you to think they are hard at work overhauling the broken immigration system in the last days before going home. But don’t be fooled by the noise and dust. These are piecemeal rehashes of legislation the House passed last December. They include a 700-mile border fence that would cost more than $2 billion and would not work, and tough-sounding but profoundly undemocratic bills that would allow the indefinite detention of some illegal immigrants seeking asylum, make it easier to deport people without judicial review, and require voters to prove citizenship before participating in federal elections. The latter measure attacks an imaginary problem — voting fraud by illegal immigrants — and would disenfranchise countless Americans who are old and poor.

Among the most poisonous provisions is one that would give state and local police agencies authority to enforce federal immigration laws. Police departments big and small have bristled at the idea, saying they lack the expertise and the resources to enforce immigration law. They say it would cripple crime fighting by severing hard-won relationships with potential victims and witnesses: immigrants who will end up fearing and avoiding them.

But for every police chief who sees this as a foolish attack on law enforcement, there is a sheriff or local politician, like Steve Levy, the Suffolk County executive on Long Island, who is just itching to seize control of his or her own little corner of the immigration battlefield. It’s an every-mayor-for-himself approach that would only worsen the ad hoc incoherence of the national immigration system”.


Posted by VisaLawyer at September 27, 2006 09:12 AM


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