March 28, 2006

Mucho Caliente


From CNN: Immigration fight looms in Senate

The battle over immigration reform moves Tuesday to the full Senate, a day after a GOP-led Senate committee passed sweeping legislation that sets up a contentious showdown with Republicans demanding a harder line.

Controversial provisions in the Senate Judiciary Committee's election-year bill would create a guest-worker program and give illegal immigrants the chance to work toward legal status without first returning home.

Highlighting the divisions within GOP ranks over immigration, four of the committee's 10 Republicans voted in favor of the bill, which passed 12-6 with support from the panel's eight Democrats.

The full Senate begins debating immigration Tuesday, and it is unclear whether the committee's version will have enough support to survive intact. A procedural vote Tuesday may give some indication of its chances.

Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, told the Senate after the panel vote that he expected "considerable controversy when the bill reaches the Senate floor."

"It is a very emotional issue; it is a very contentious issue," he said.

The biggest bone of contention is likely to be the legalization process for undocumented immigrants already in the country -- a controversial idea denounced as "amnesty" by its critics and opposed by President Bush.

Glenn Reynolds has a good overview of the issue and how it might affect Democrats and Republicans: An immigration brouhaha: Poison for both parties?.

It looks like illegal immigration is shaping up to be the issue of the week, in the wake of mass rallies opposing new immigration legislation in Los Angeles, Chicago, and elsewhere.

Mickey Kaus has been paying a lot of attention to this subject and thinks it will be bad for Democrats.  I think it may well be bad for everyone.

As I've noted here before, I'm in favor of pretty easy immigration -- my family includes immigrants from Nigeria.  But they're legal immigrants, who jumped through numerous hoops to get here and who are, if anything, more unhappy with illegal immigration than most native-born Americans.  If we're going to have open immigration, let's change the law, not achieve that end through failure to enforce the laws we have.

UPDATE -- March 29: In the New York Post, John Podhoretz says Republicans are getting played by Democrats: Immigration Politics: Cynical Dems.

Republicans and conservatives who want to "get tough" on immigration issues are convinced of two things: First, that their cause is just, and second, that it is a political winner. There's almost no evidence of the latter - indeed, most of the evidence runs in the other direction.

And Harry Binswanger agrues the case for Open Immigration.

This is a defense of phasing-in open immigration into the United States. Entry into the U.S. should ultimately be free for any foreigner, with the exception of criminals, would-be terrorists, and those carrying infectious diseases. (And note: I am defending freedom of entry and residency, not the automatic granting of U.S. citizenship).

An end to immigration quotas is demanded by the principle of individual rights. Every individual has rights as an individual, not as a member of this or that nation. One has rights not by virtue of being an American, but by virtue of being human.

Posted by Forkum at March 28, 2006 04:07 PM