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Letter: Response To Long Island Wins From 7/18

One big flaw with the Senate Gang of Eight’s bill is that this bill won’t stop future illegal immigration.  I am looking to my House representative to tackle this problem. Having a real debate is not making the bill “meaner” or “more punitive” but makes sure solutions are reached and not blanket amnesty is the result.   Unfortunately, the border securities promised in the bill are “plans” for border security, not concrete promises. 


It is true history is repeating itself. We have been here before where border security “promises” did not mean much, as we learned in 1986. In addition, half of all illegal immigrants in the U.S. are visa overstays. Rampant abuse of visas will continue as long there is lax enforcement. 


The Senate plan won’t fix the overstay problem either. We have been waiting for and the bill calls for an entry-exit system, but it doesn’t specify how overstays will be located and removed. The bill does not call for their deportation and the bill makes very little mention of ICE and no mention of ICE enforcement.


Politics has prevented ICE agents from enforcing immigration laws in numerous areas.  ICE was ordered to stop on-site work-force checks and currently the Obama administration is busy reclassifying large numbers of people eligible for return to their homeland. It is possible that these illegal aliens may never be deported.  


We do not need a “roadmap to citizenship” to create an amnestied bloc because of the possibility of the newly legalized residents obtaining state benefits that do not require full U.S. citizenship. With a purposely camouflaged generic name a “registered provisional immigrant” is an illegal alien who fills out all required paper work and meets the bill’s qualifications for eventual permanent residency. A Social Security number will allow provisional immigrants to fulfill the documentation requirements to obtain state driver’s licenses or identification cards, which could then allow access to state benefits by claiming state residency.


Expect a surge of document and identity fraud as amnesty applicants will have to jump bureaucratic quicksand to secure green cards, and those who don’t qualify will rush to create a paper trail to meet the requirements. 


Right now there are no requirements to learn English in order to be granted “registered provisional immigrant” status. I want Official English plus measures mandating that employers must not discriminate against English-speaking Americans in the House bill. Why would you legalize millions of illegal aliens without first requiring they demonstrate some English language proficiency? The requirements are filled with loopholes-- such as applicants only have to show they are enrolled in an English course, but not that they have completed or passed the course. Not having a common language adds to the cost of government with translation services.


All I hear politicians saying on the Sunday talk shows is “They will have to learn English” but under this bill that is not the case. Now is the time to put English first in real immigration reform.  


Also the House needs to take into account  there will be a permanent impact on the labor market. With the massive amount of people that the bill wants to add to the

workforce, the Senate bill waits 5 years to check who is legally in the workforce.  Why wait 5 years to do this?  The E-verify system is fully functional now. The original deadline for using it was Jan. 15, 2009, but it was delayed due to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It is likely that millions more will be enticed to enter illegally NOW because after 5 years (when E-Verify actually becomes mandatory for new hires), there are no provisions allowing employers to do a retro check of the work authorization of existing employees. 


All these things combined do nothing to help the American worker and dilutes the value of American citizenship which is why this bill is so contaminated. Striving to get common sense solutions and not pandering to special interest groups is why I am asking my House representative to have a verified secure border, strong visa and workplace oversight as the priority to improving our immigration system. 


Chris Wales


Mineola resident