Monday, June 04, 2007

Can the Senate and the President be trusted?

The Senate is feverishly working to pass a “comprehensive immigration reform bill”. This bill has been produced from negotiations between republicans, democrats, and the President. It is very sweeping in its nature and has upset many on both the right and the left.

Those on the left are upset that the bill includes fines and limits to the number of legal immigrants that will be allowed in. Those on the right are upset at what they perceive to be amnesty. Both sides have legitimate concerns for what is a very far reaching bill. I personally have many concerns with the bill. However, if I had faith in the President and Congress to enforce these bills, I could tolerate the bill.

I think many Americans feel the same way. We have lost faith in our elected officials to do what they say they will do. The President (with an approval rating of around 33.3%) and many in Congress (approval rating of around 33.4%) are defending a bill that has an approval rating of around 26%. There are aspects of this bill that I actually like and think will work. If I knew these aspects would be enforced, and would be enacted as the supporters say it would be, I would try to stomach the aspects I don’t like. However, I simply don’t believe it will happen. I think many Americans would agree. I think many believe the parts of this bill they like will be ignored, and the parts they don’t like may (and I mean “may”) be enforced.

The President and the Senate have not acted like they want to convince us that these fears are unfounded. The bill was announced and there was an attempt to have it voted on without any floor debate. I believe many Americans get very nervous when they hear that a particular bill is going to be passed without any time for the public to review it. Supporters of the bill have also been less than forthcoming about the cost of this bill. Projections done by the Heritage Foundation have placed the cost of this bill around $12 Trillion. I have yet to hear any rebuttal from those who support this bill.

McCain and others would say,”If you don’t like it so much, what’s your solution?” I think the Senate needs to back up, and try to pass something of a smaller scale. Show the American public that they can be trusted. Pass a portion of the immigration bill (like the border protection aspects) and act on that bill. Don’t simply say you want to secure our borders, do it. Surely no immigration reform can have any meaning without providing a control to the number of illegal immigrants coming through our border. If Congress and the President can pass a meaningful border security measure AND actually implement the bill, then come back to the compromise table.

Prove to the American public that our officials will do what they say they will do. Once the Senate proves it can be trusted, then pass something that will keep us from having this exact same conversation twenty years from now.


Brandon said...

I don't know Andy, I think that the time for half-measures on immigration has long since come and gone. I think that if the bill passes that it can be effective, especially if the public keeps up the pressure on Congress and the current and next administrations to enforce the immigration laws.

Andy D said...

I disagree. I think the very problem with this bill is how much it tries to do, without being able to really do anything. It wants to secure our borders, but instantly give a temporary legal status to anyone living in the US illegally as of Jan 1, 2006. The Congressional budget office estimates that approximately 20% of those here illegally will seek citizenship, while it also estimates that under the bill 500,000 new illegal immigrants will enter the US each year.

I have heard the water leak example many times. If your basement is dirty and a pipe breaks in the basement, what do you do? It’s dirty, so it needs to be cleaned up, but shouldn’t you stop the leak first, and then try to clean the room?