Morning Bell

Top 5 Problems with the “Comprehensive” Immigration Bill

The good news is Congress cares about trying to fix our flawed immigration system and broken borders.

The bad news is they want to do it with a solution that looks a lot like Obamacare—the “Gang of Eight” 844-page-plus“comprehensive” bill.

The sad news is that such an “easy button” solution will notimprove our immigration system.

History shows that big bills designed to solve everything wind up creating as many problems as they address. They become loaded with payoffs for special interests and often introduce measures that work at cross purposes.

The “comprehensive” bill fails at the start. Here are the top five reasons it cannot be fixed.

1. Amnesty. This bill grants amnesty. It creates a framework for legalization for the estimated 11 million people unlawfully present in the United States. Anyone who was present in the U.S. before 2012 qualifies, but there is too much opportunity for fraud—since there is no proof required that applicants have been here for several years.

2. Fiscal Costs to the Taxpayer. This plan does not account for the government benefits, especially welfare and entitlement benefits, that would be paid to those who are legalized over their lifetimes. The additional costs to taxpayers would be enormous. Some argue that amnesty would bring economic gains, but these would actually be captured by the formerly unlawful immigrants themselves. Legalization brings little economic benefit to the rest of us.

3. Government Spending. The bill is a Trojan horse for government spending, and in some cases, it appears the funding is unrestricted or ill-defined. Just one example is a $6.5 billion “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust,” which includes a $2 billion “slush fund” for border security.

Our federal government currently spends $1 trillion more per year than it takes in, so adding on a new, unlimited spending commitment makes no sense at all. The entire cost of implementing the bill has yet to be determined. Further, the bill trashes fiscal discipline, exploiting “a loophole in the Budget Control Act (BCA) that allows Congress to spend more than allowed under the spending caps adopted in 2011.”

4. “Border Triggers.” The bill requires certification of “border triggers” for stemming the tide of illegal border crossings before additional steps in the legalization process can proceed.

But the Department of Homeland Security has been trying unsuccessfully to define credible metrics for border security since 2004. Even if it had effective “triggers,” that does not guarantee a secure border. Border crossing conditions constantly change. Even if the goal is achieved, there is no guarantee it will stay that way.

Amnesty creates an incentive for illegal border crossings and overstays. Thus, the strategy laid out would drive up the cost of securing the border. Just throwing money at the border does not make sense. The policies adopted on both sides of the border are more important.

For example, the Coast Guard is significantly underfunded and unprepared. America’s coastlines are already seeing a significant increase in illegal entry by sea, a trend that has been growing since 2007.

5. Lawful Immigration Reform. The bill “modernizes” lawful immigration and non-immigration visas. These modernizations include substantially lowering “chain” migration; abolishing the diversity lottery; expanding the visa waiver; increasing high-skill migration; and expanding temporary worker programs.

Reforming the legal immigration system—in principle—is laudable. But trying to craft precise measures in a massive bill like this is difficult. For example, though it sounds innocuous, one provision in the legislation could lead to big problems. The legislation allows documents “issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe” to be used for identity and employment purposes. Numerous Indian tribes exist along the southern border, including the Texas Kickapoo, the Ysleta Del Sur, and, the largest, the Tohona O’Odham. Indian reservations already serve as drug pipelines and have been cited as weak links in border security. Given these issues, does it really make sense to add this exemption to legislation aimed at minimizing identification fraud?

Once we get it right, there is strong bipartisan support that modernizing lawful immigration ought to be a priority. Congress should put its effort into accomplishing that aim—moving forward on an area of strong agreement, while allowing time to debate issues where there is not strong consensus.

We deserve better—all of us. Employers deserve better than having to sift through falsified credentials or risk breaking the law. Families in communities burdened by the impacts of illegal immigration deserve better. In fact, all who cherish a society that is committed to keeping America both a nation of immigrants and a country that respects its laws deserve better.

Immigration reform can move forward on many fronts at the same time, focusing on some commonsense initiatives that begin to address the practical challenges of our immigration system. The key is to begin by working on the solutions on which we can all agree, rather than insisting on a comprehensive approach that divides us.

Read the Morning Bell and more en español every day atHeritage Libertad.

Morning Bell

Morning Bell: Jim DeMint on the Senate’s Flawed Immigration Plan

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom

Since the birth of our nation, the United States has recognized the vital role of lawful immigration, as it brings important economic and cultural benefits. We have always been, and will continue to be, a nation of immigrants.

We are also a nation of laws. The “Gang of Eight” bill introduced in the U.S. Senate violates the very rule of law principle that creates opportunity for immigrants and makes America a beacon of hope for the world. Giving legal residency to the 11 million people who came here illegally has one definition: amnesty. Amnesty rewards unlawful behavior and diminishes opportunity and prosperity for lawful immigrants and all Americans.

The Senate bill imposes significant costs on taxpayers. At a time of trillion-dollar deficits and $17 trillion in debt, the cost of implementing amnesty and the strain it will add to already fragile entitlement and welfare programs should be of serious concern for everyone.

>>> USA Today: Understanding the costs of amnesty

After decades of empty promises on immigration enforcement, Congress simply lacks credibility to keep its promises. A comprehensive amnesty bill was tried before and it failed. In 1986 we had about 3 million unlawful immigrants. Congress granted them legal status with a promise to control our borders and fix our legal immigration system.

Lawmakers who supported the 1986 bill promised in grand speeches that amnesty would never happen again. Now there are 11 million unlawful immigrants in America because amnesty was immediate but the border wasn’t secured, workplace laws were not enforced, and our legal immigration system was not fixed. The result of amnesty is clear — it encourages more unlawful immigration in hopes of future amnesties.

This new bill is much the same as the last: immediate amnesty in the form of provisional status within months and lofty promises of “strategies” and “plans” for enforcement years later.

>>> Read the bill: Full text of the Senate legislation

Rather than rewarding the 11 million who broke our laws, Congress should first consider how to make the immigration system work for the more than 4 million people waiting patiently outside our borders to come to our country legally. A rational system would make it easier to follow the law than to break it.

Instead of passing another incomprehensible comprehensive immigration bill, Congress should debate and develop understandable reforms in a transparent step-by-step process that addresses all of the immigration issues. This will build trust with the American people and unite the country rather than divide it.

Conservative “Pit Bull” Ann Coulter takes on a room full of liberals on last Sunday’s “This Week”. Sometimes its entire exasperating to watch liberals… who just don’t get it. If you forgot to hit the record button on your Tivo, watch here… and go ahead, make your day.

When Patriots Die for Your Independence

Don’t be afraid to celebrate the achievement!

This Forth of July, don’t just blow off steam… “Spike the Ball“!


Click Here to read recent Supreme Court Rulings.

If you just want to have fun, then watch this video of more “Patriots Spiking the Ball”

Click the links below to for transcripts of oral arguments

heard by the Supreme Court Justices on recent landmark decisions,

or listen to the Oral Arguments.

Arizona v. United States or, listen to Oral Arguments.
Department of Health and Human Servs. v. Florida (Day #1) or, listen to Oral Arguments.
Department of Health and Human Servs. v. Florida (Day #2) or, listen to Oral Arguments.
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (Day #3, part 1) or, listen to Oral Arguments.
Florida v. Department of Health and Human Servs. (Day #3, part 2) or, listen to Oral Arguments.

Taxed Enough Already

TEA Party members get a mixed bag of wins/losses from Congress, as it sends the Tax Cut Bill to Obama’s desk for signing on Friday, December 17th.  Though the bill contains a two year extension of “The Bush Tax Cuts”, Obama negotiated additional spending of $858 billion within the legislation.  Click the image above to read more.

In a Far More Aggressive Move to Limit Government,

Oklahoma Senator Tom A. Coburn, M.D. almost single handedly stopped the pork ridden Omnibus Spending Bill by threatening to force a reading of the bill, ultimately running out the clock on the Senate’s ability to enact the legislation.  Our many thanks to Senator Coburn… (and Jim Demint) for being Cowboys in the Senate.  Click Senator Coburn’s image to contact him and give thanks.

How Omnibus was Defeated GOP Kills Omnibus Omnibus: The Ugly Truth Omnibus Funds Abortions?

U.S. Senate blocks DREAM Act,

passes repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

In a Saturday session a week before Christmas, the U.S. Senate voted failed to overcome a procedural vote to move the DREAM Act forward.

The Senate shot down the DREAM Act motion on a 55-41 vote.  The U.S. Senate did invoke cloture for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the law which prohibits openly gay or lesbian citizens from serving in the U.S. military.  The legislation went on to pass the full Senate late on Saturday afternoon.

U.S. Senate blocks DREAM Act “Dream Act” Bill Blocked

U.S. Senate repeals ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal celebrated in S.F.

Who Voted for What?

Click the our U.S. Senate image to begin your research

Illegal immigrant dies in the Arizona desertThis is a difficult post to write, the subject matter is grisly to say the least. But after listening to the recent firestorm of protest over the new Arizona immigration law, it is obvious that a lot of people are not really looking at all sides of the story squarely. It’s always easy to get caught up in emotion, but it’s difficult to think through all of the ramifications of our ideas and decisions to come to a more reasoned solution.

The Arizona border situation is a complete mess. Simply take a look at this poor person in the picture. They tried to walk across the Arizona desert and this is what can happen when you are ill prepared for what can only be described as a desert marathon. And what happened to the ‘coyotes’ to whom this person paid hard earned cash for their help and guidance across this difficult landscape? Nowhere to be found.

The victims of the federal government’s lack of interest in securing our borders include many like this person. They die trying to cross. This is a human tragedy. Obviously, the United States cannot simply open our borders completely and let everyone who wants to come enter. We are no longer the pre-industrial revolution country in need of millions of new immigrants to build the country from the ground up. We are now a post industrial society where education is critically important to success.

Yes, there are still jobs for new immigrants from the under developed world, but not nearly as many as there once were. Illegal immigration makes climbing the income ladder extremely difficult for those who are here and trying to work their way up the ladder. We still need immigrants, but they should come legally, in a measured stream, with some controls in place. What’s a shame is that illegal immigration has now given legal immigration itself a bad rap, a rap that’s not necessary. America can still prosper and grow with the help of new immigrants, as it always has, but we cannot continue to serve them, and ourselves, so poorly as this person was served.

Americans are a compassionate people, which is one reason why they support the new Arizona Law so broadly. So why does the political class have such a problem trying to understand this issue. The simple and I believe correct answer is that they are not trying to resolve the illegal immigration issue at all. They are manuevering for votes. This is why there is such a huge gulf between the citizens and our elected officials. We see the issue as the issue, they see the issue as political strategy.

My grandparents, all 4 of them, were immigrants to this country. They came legally, some through the famous Ellis Island. On a visit to New York a few years ago, I had a chance to see what they saw when they first set foot in America. It was an emotional experience. And like the poor person in the photo above, they came from an impoverished land, where they had little hope of a better life and less hope for freedom. They also came here legally. But the country needed lots of immigrants back then, and they helped to build the country we are today.  Today, we need a new solution to the immigration issue, one that respects the human tragedy that can result when we do not make our border secure, and one that understands the economic realities of life in modern America. C’mon, politicos, take a close look and tell me that we can’t do better than this!

If you want more information about the illegal immigration and the suffering it causes, you can start with some facts at good old wikipedia: In 2000, the number of people who died soared to over 500, and these are only the ones we know about.