Sunday, May 20, 2007

Can The New Immigration Plan Work?

The Congress and the White House agreed to a compromise plan on Immigration. See Details.

A group of Democrats and Republicans in Congress had been negotiating a deal for weeks. However, criticism has been coming in from all segments of the country, from the left and right. Conservatives feel that the plan is not harsh enough and grants amnesty, which they diabolically oppose. On the other hand many Democrats, particularly liberal Democrats, feel that the plan is too strict or that it will hurt Unions.

Even Kennedy, one of the main authors of the Bill, acknowledges that the plan is not completely ideal and that there will be challenges ahead.

I have a few concerns with the legislation:

#1. Implementation. Where will ICE & Border Patrol get the additional employees to process all of these new applications?

#2. It may be unrealistic to expect illegal immigrants (many of them poor) to pay a fine of up to $5,000. That may only serve to make the plan unworkable. I wrote about this in a commentary here last year. This may only force illegal immigrants to stay in the shadows when the whole purpose of this endeavor is to bring them out of the shadows. A fine? YES... I agree with a fine 100%. But it should be an amount that illegal immigrants will be able to pay.

#3. It may be unrealistic to also expect millions of people (heads of households) to self deport. This is especially true when they may face a $5,000 fine to become legal.

#4. I am a little concerned about extra points for people with special skills or college degrees. This opens the door to all sorts of class discrimination. Although there will be a growing need for workers with special skills. This also could threaten the American worker. Companies will be able to ship their own skilled workers in at lower wages rather than giving those opportunities to Americans. But with proper oversight, this part of the program could be done with a reasonable level of fairness. As long as there is no adverse impact on poor immigrants & skilled American workers. Perhaps there could be a smaller limit on the number of people who could enter under this part of the plan.

#5. I have not seen enough information about stronger penalties and increased enforcement regarding the companies that hire illegal immigrants. That has to be a big part of any immigration legislation, not just a footnote.

#6. I have not seen anything about labor standards or worker protections for Temporary workers. Without basic worker protections, they will be open to the same exploitation that they deal with today.

Hopefully the Congress will sort out these details when they come up with a final plan.

No comments: