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Associated Press/Photo by Charles Dharapak
The "Gang of Eight" at a news conference April 18.

Let’s fix the immigration bill

Immigration

There’s the story of a woman with five kids who was asked if she had to do it all over again would she have five children?

“Yes,” she said, “just not these five.”

That’s the way I feel about the immigration “reform” bill introduced by the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight.” I’m all for an immigration bill, just not this immigration bill—at least in its present form.

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One of the “gang” members, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., indicated the bill has problems that need fixing when he said in a recent interview: “Let’s try to fix it. Let’s try to change it, but to just say let’s defeat the whole thing; I don’t think that’s a productive approach either. I think this is a starting point that obviously we can and should improve.”

There is much to improve, maybe too much. The Daily Caller read through all 844 pages of the pending bill and found it contains “roughly 400 exemptions, exceptions, waivers, determinations and grants of discretion.” In fact, the Caller found, “The document mentions ‘discretion’ or ‘discretionary’ 41 times … ‘judge’ or ‘judges’ 73 times … determines is used 84 times.” This bill has more holes in it than a Texas border fence.

Responding to a report by Ronald Mortensen, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which analyzed the Senate proposal, the center’s executive director, Mark Krikorian, offered, “Illegal aliens will be rewarded for breaking laws for which American citizens are routinely punished.” He cites as one example the use of a fraudulent Social Security card, which, he says, would cause an American citizen to face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but, he says, “… under this bill the illegal alien would face a $1,000 penalty covering all his many offenses, a penalty which in many cases will be waived.” According to Krikorian, the individual would then be “issued a new Social Security number without any past bad credit or arrest records.” What’s with all the preferential treatment?

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a member of the Gang of Eight, said in a statement to Breitbart News, “The Gang of Eight made a promise that illegal immigrants will not be able to access public benefits. We already know that, once granted green cards and ultimately citizenship, illegal immigrants will be able to access all public benefit programs at a great cost to taxpayers. We have, however, identified a number of loopholes that would allow illegal immigrants to draw public benefits even sooner than advertised.” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., disagrees. So let’s close up the loopholes and debate it on the Senate floor.

Additional public benefits for illegal immigrants should not be seen as far-fetched, given a Boston Herald report about the family of the accused Boston Marathon bombers, whose residency may have been legal, but whose behavior was not: “The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance—a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012.” These were able-bodied people. Why did they receive benefits? What loophole did the Tsarnaev family slip through?

Attorney General Eric Holder has taken the issue of breaking the law to new depths. In an April 24 speech to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Holder said that creating a “pathway to earned citizenship” is a “civil right.” If that’s so, why deny anyone from coming to America, even from nations that breed terrorists?

As it stands, the bill is unlikely to pass. That’s why Sen. Rubio is right about the need to fix it. If he were to introduce an amendment to ban an illegal from voting for 10 years, we might see Democratic support for the measure quickly fade. The Democratic Party appears interested in “importing” new Democratic voters. Illegal immigrants know this, which leads many of them to believe that even if they break the law to get here, they have a “right” to become American citizens. I don’t think so, do you?

© 2013 Tribune Media Services Inc.

Cal Thomas
Cal Thomas

Cal, whose syndicated column appears on WORLD's website and in more than 500 newspapers, is a frequent contributor to WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Cal on Twitter @CalThomas.

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