Saturday, March 20, 2010

The right way to mend immigration By Schumer & Graham +push high-tech Social Security cards+ Statement President Praising Bipartisan Immigration Reform Framework

The right way to mend immigration

By Charles E. Schumer and Lindsey O. Graham
Friday, March 19, 2010; A23

Our immigration system is badly broken. Although our borders have become far more secure in recent years, too many people seeking illegal entry get through. We have no way to track whether the millions who enter the United States on valid visas each year leave when they are supposed to. And employers are burdened by a complicated system for verifying workers' immigration status.

Last week we met with President Obama to discuss our draft framework for action on immigration. We expressed our belief that America's security and economic well-being depend on enacting sensible immigration policies.

The answer is simple: Americans overwhelmingly oppose illegal immigration and support legal immigration. Throughout our history, immigrants have contributed to making this country more vibrant and economically dynamic. Once it is clear that in 20 years our nation will not again confront the specter of another 11 million people coming here illegally, Americans will embrace more welcoming immigration policies.

Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.

Besides border security, ending illegal immigration will also require an effective employment verification system that holds employers accountable for hiring illegal workers. A tamper-proof ID system would dramatically decrease illegal immigration, experts have said, and would reduce the government revenue lost when employers and workers here illegally fail to pay taxes.

We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card. Each card's unique biometric identifier would be stored only on the card; no government database would house everyone's information. The cards would not contain any private information, medical information or tracking devices. The card would be a high-tech version of the Social Security card that citizens already have.

Prospective employers would be responsible for swiping the cards through a machine to confirm a person's identity and immigration status. Employers who refused to swipe the card or who otherwise knowingly hired unauthorized workers would face stiff fines and, for repeat offenses, prison sentences.

We propose a zero-tolerance policy for gang members, smugglers, terrorists and those who commit other felonies after coming here illegally. We would bolster recent efforts to secure our borders by increasing the Border Patrol's staffing and funding for infrastructure and technology. More personnel would be deployed to the border immediately to fill gaps in apprehension capabilities.

Other steps include expanding domestic enforcement to better apprehend and deport those who commit crimes and completing an entry-exit system that tracks people who enter the United States on legal visas and reports those who overstay their visas to law enforcement databases.

Ending illegal immigration, however, cannot be the sole objective of reform. Developing a rational legal immigration system is essential to ensuring America's future economic prosperity.

Ensuring economic prosperity requires attracting the world's best and brightest. Our legislation would award green cards to immigrants who receive a PhD or master's degree in science, technology, engineering or math from a U.S. university. It makes no sense to educate the world's future inventors and entrepreneurs and then force them to leave when they are able to contribute to our economy.

Our blueprint also creates a rational system for admitting lower-skilled workers. Our current system prohibits lower-skilled immigrants from coming here to earn money and then returning home. Our framework would facilitate this desired circular migration by allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can show they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position; allowing more lower-skilled immigrants to come here when our economy is creating jobs and fewer in a recession; and permitting workers who have succeeded in the workplace, and contributed to their communities over many years, the chance to earn a green card.

For the 11 million immigrants already in this country illegally, we would provide a tough but fair path forward. They would be required to admit they broke the law and to pay their debt to society by performing community service and paying fines and back taxes. These people would be required to pass background checks and be proficient in English before going to the back of the line of prospective immigrants to earn the opportunity to work toward lawful permanent residence.

The American people deserve more than empty rhetoric and impractical calls for mass deportation. We urge the public and our colleagues to join our bipartisan efforts in enacting these reforms.

Charles E. Schumer is a Democratic senator from New York. Lindsey O. Graham is a Republican senator from South Carolina.

Schumer, Graham push high-tech Social Security cards
Want ID system to help make sure workers are legal

'The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform,' Senator Lindsey Graham said.

WASHINGTON — Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the federal government should require high-technology Social Security cards to make sure employers hire only legal workers.

"A tamper-proof ID system would dramatically decrease illegal immigration, experts have said, and would reduce the government revenue lost when employers and workers here illegally fail to pay taxes,'' the lawmakers wrote in an article on the website of The Washington Post. They called for use of biometric Social Security cards that would include a unique characteristic of the cardholder, such as a fingerprint.

The proposal is part of what Graham and Schumer termed a "draft framework'' for overhauling immigration laws. The framework includes proposals for a temporary worker program and penalties that would allow illegal immigrants to stay after taking steps such as paying fines and performing community service.

"America's security and economic well-being depend on enacting sensible immigration policies,'' they wrote.

President Obama, in a statement, called the senators' proposal a "promising, bipartisan framework which can and should be the basis for moving forward.'' Obama met with Schumer and Graham last week to discuss the proposal, the senators wrote. Obama's statement said he would "do everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus'' on the issue.

Graham, however, cautioned yesterday that the push for an immigration measure would fail if congressional Democrats succeed in passing the overhaul of the health care system sought by Obama. House Democratic leaders are seeking to pass the latest version of the legislation tomorrow. "The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform,'' he said in a statement.

"If they do this, it's going to poison the well for anything else they would like to achieve this year or thereafter,'' Graham told ABC.

A demonstration in Washington in support of overhauling immigration laws is scheduled for tomorrow. The event's sponsors include the National Council of La Raza, the AFL-CIO labor federation, and the Service Employees International Union.

Past bipartisan efforts to revise immigration policy include legislation cosponsored by Senators John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, and the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat. Even the support of then-President George W. Bush failed to push the measure forward in Congress in 2007.

Schumer and Graham would require those already in the United States illegally, an estimated 11 million, to admit they had broken the law, pay fines and back taxes, and perform community service projects. They also would be required to pass a background check and learn English.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

In June, I met with members of both parties, and assigned Secretary Napolitano to work with them and key constituencies around the country to craft a comprehensive approach that will finally fix our broken immigration system. I am pleased to see that Senators Schumer and Graham have produced a promising, bipartisan framework which can and should be the basis for moving forward.  It thoughtfully addresses the need to shore up our borders, and demands accountability from both workers who are here illegally and employers who game the system.

My Administration will be consulting further with the Senators on the details of their proposal, but a critical next step will be to translate their framework into a legislative proposal, and for Congress to act at the earliest possible opportunity.

I congratulate Senators Schumer and Graham for their leadership, and pledge to do everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus this year on this important issue so we can continue to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform.

Comment: Let us not forfeit our native-natural rights to be here as descendants of the original peoples of these lands of Aztlan in the name of a weak reform with inherent flaws. Who determines who is a gang member, smuggle and terrorist and how will such a determination be made?!
It is going to be a mess. Beware!

Unidos Venceremos! United We Will Win!

~Peta-de-Aztlan~ Sacramento, California, Amerika

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
make violent revolution inevitable."
~ President John F.Kennedy ~ Killed November 22, 1963

No comments: