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Capital Hill Watch Alert

Immigration Reform that the Senate should approve is the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437)

The Senate will begin debate on March 28, 2006, on immigration reform for an expected two weeks to be encumbered by many amendments. As a result, some of the provisions could well be changed by the full Senate said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Republican Senator of Pennsylvania Arlen Spector.

On March 27, 2006, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved election-year immigration legislation that clears the way for millions of illegal aliens to seek US citizenship without having to first leave the country.  The legislation was approved by a 12-6 vote. 

The bill in general is designed to create new opportunities for so-called guest workers and determines the legal future of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.  It is also to strengthen border patrol.

In an effort to stem the tide of new illegal aliens arriving daily, the committee approved the action of more than doubling the current force of 11,300 Border Patrol agents.  The committee voted to add 2,000 agents next year and 2,400 more annually through 2011.

To allow an additional 400,000 green cards for future immigrants, regardless of the industry where they find jobs, Democrat Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts prevailed on a proposal to allow these green cards for future immigrants.  And Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein of California won approval for a five-year program to permit as many as 1.5 million agriculture workers into the country.

For providing humanitarian assistance to illegal aliens, the committee voted for an amendment that would protect individuals, and charitable and church groups from criminal prosecution.  Such aid would be a felony under HR 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. In contrast, the Senate version of the immigration bill would criminalize "unlawful presence" in the US as a misdemeanor.

The House of Representatives passed the Border Security Anti terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act (HR 4437) [To view the Full Text of the legislation. ] by a 239-182 vote on December 16, 2005.   [To view how your representative voted visit:  Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. ] This measure requires that employers verify the legal status of employees.  For each illegal hire it sets civil fines of up to $50,000 and subjects employers to criminal penalties of a year or more in prison. Also, the bill does not include a guest-worker program.  

Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania proposal : 

The proposal would require employers to verify legal status of employees.  Ten years in prison could be faced by an employer who has knowingly hired more than 10 illegal alien workers in one year. And the proposal would expand the guest-worker program, authorizing immigrants to work for three years.  After the initial three years they may reapply for another three years and then must return home for a year before again applying a third time to the program.

Democrat Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Republican Senator of Arizona John McCain proposal:

Under temporary work visas if they pay a $1,000 fine and pass background checks the proposal allows illegal aliens to stay in the country for six years.  If they pay an additional $1,000, are proficient in English and civics, and payback all taxes, they can later apply for permanent residence and citizenship.  Annually the proposal would allow 400,000 new guest workers into the country. And for up to six years under temporary work visas it permits immigrants to stay in the country.  Also, applicants would have to pay a $500 application fee, undergo a medical examination and pass criminal and security background checks.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (S. 2454)

The measure deals solely with border security.  It does not include a guest-worker provision or a process for handling the 12 million illegal aliens (20 million?) already in the US.   Along the US-Mexico border it would increase security by providing funding for thousands more Border Patrol agents and build short sections of fencing in key traffic areas. 

Additional Reading: 

Senate panel approves sweeping immigration bill
Frist orders border security first
Senate panel set to take on immigration
Legalized immigrants called a costly answer
'Immigrants cost Americans low-skilled jobs'
Polls: Public Concerned About Immigration
Illegal Detour
What would Hillary do?
Criminal Aliens
Citizenship Up for Grabs
One Reporter's Opinion: Wake Up and Smell the INVASION!
The High Cost of Cheap Labor
Illegal migration costly, research group's report says
Immigration fraud exposed

What Can You Do?  

Urge your senators  TO  SUPPORT    the Border  Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (HR 4437).  The legislation passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee will only encourage illegal immigration and make the current illegal alien problem even worse.  For example, the US Bracero program was the first guest-worker program tried in the US from 1942 to 1964. After the program ended it stimulated a flow of illegal aliens. During the Reagan administration another guest-worker program was tried and only resulted in more illegal aliens coming to America.  Guest-worker programs do not work and will create a permanent second class of American residents that will flood the labor market in certain job sectors and drive wages down reducing America's standard of living even more.

Contact Information:

Capitol Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your senator's office.)

To go to your senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm

Addressing Correspondence:

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator (last name):

Talking Points

Public Concern About illegal Immigration

In the United States most people think illegal immigration is a serious problem. For illegal immigrants to become legal workers or citizens, a solid majority must oppose making it easier.

An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found about 59 percent say they oppose allowing illegal immigrants to apply for legal, temporary-worker status.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll more than six in 10, 62 percent, say they oppose making it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens.  And nine in 10 in that poll consider immigration to be a serious problem - with 57 percent of those polled saying very serious.

A Time Magazine poll found three-fourths say the United States is not doing enough along its borders to keep illegal immigrants out.

Economic Impact

In job losses, illegal aliens have cost US workers $133 billion according to estimates from the Center for Immigration Studies.

Annually, $10-$11 billion is sent by Mexicans working in the US taking American jobs back home.

Foreign workers sent $25 billion back home to Latin America – $16 billion to Asia in 2002.

Regarding illegal immigration among the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).

Legal Immigration Costs Government Billions of Dollars Annually

Fifty percent of legal immigrants have not gone past high school.  And annually like illegal immigrants, legal immigrants cost federal and state governments billions of dollars.

On average illegal immigrants have slightly less education than legal immigrants and illegal immigrants tend to be paid less than legal immigrants, but the difference is small.

Illegal immigrants are doing jobs Americans use to because they do it for less

President George Bush, a strong supporter of the guest-worker program along with others argue there are jobs that no Americans will do. Such claims connote a racist overtone in that Americans are too good for certain jobs but Mexicans are not.  However, that is not true. Illegal aliens are not doing jobs that Americans will not do, but they are doing jobs Americans used to do.  But illegal immigrants just do it for less. 

However, this less expensive labor comes at a price to the American taxpayer.  For example, to a population that earns little, pays few taxes and consumes a high rate of government services, the National Research Council estimates that the net fiscal cost of immigration is $11 billion to $22 billion annually, most of which comes from state and local coffers.

Social Problems and Illegal Immigrants

A growing threat to public safety and national security, as well as a drain on the nation's scarce criminal justice resources are criminal aliens—non-citizens who commit crimes. Federal and state prisons housed fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens in 1980.  These same prisons housed over 68,000 criminal aliens by the end of 1999.  Currently, in Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities, criminal aliens account for over 29 percent of prisoners and of all federal prison inmates a higher share. Of the federal prison population, these prisoners represent the fastest growing segment. On drug charges alone an average of more than 72,000 aliens have been arrested annually over the past five years.

For illegal aliens New York State spends $270 million annually in criminal justice costs.  And to incarcerate criminal aliens it costs Illinois $40 million annually.

Of outstanding homicide warrants (1,200 to 1,500) in Los Angeles, California, about 95 percent are for illegal aliens, as are up to two-thirds of all felony warrants.

Sixty percent of the state's notorious 18th Street Gang (responsible for an assault or robbery daily in LA County) is comprised of those whose first crime was entering the country illegally a study by the California Department of Justice estimated a decade ago.

Educational Costs

On illegal immigrants Arizona spends $1.3 billion annually indicates the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). To support the direct costs of illegal immigration every Arizonan essentially pays a $700 annual tax the same FAIR study reported.

School districts across the country have been left desperately short of people qualified to teach English as a result of a wave of immigrants in the last 10 years, particularly in rural areas far from traditional immigration hubs the New York Times reported in 2002. In the past ten years the number of students who have limited English skills has doubled to approximately five million. According to FAIR educating illegal immigrants in the public schools costs the states at least $7.4 billion annually.  To educate illegal immigrant children, California alone spends an estimated $2.2 billion annually. 

Health Care Costs

Possessing little education or advanced skills are a large portion of the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in this nation.  As a result many illegal aliens that find work do not receive health insurance.   The lack of education prohibits most to find employment that offers insurance coverage as a benefit and few earn enough to purchase it on their own.

Compared to an uninsured US citizen, illegal aliens tend to use less health care.  However, still sizable is the taxpayer-funded care they use.  For example, in 2002, illegal aliens paid about $16 billion in taxes to the federal government but  used $26 billion in services.  And eligible for additional benefits once legalized illegal aliens causing the gap between taxes paid and services to escalate to $30 billion.

Hospitals near the US-Mexican border spent, in 2000, almost $190 million to treat illegal aliens and another $113 million in ambulances and follow-up fees the Washington Times reported.

America would have fewer poor people and fewer people without health insurance without illegal immigration. And there would be less strain on the American health-care system and a less likelihood taxes would increase in the future to resolve these problems.

More American-born people are facing unemployment

Facing unemployment are more American-born people as the number of illegal aliens working in the US increases.

The number of workers born in America who have a high school diploma or less declined from 45.6 million in March 2000 to 42.4 million in March 2005 based on data from the US Census.  On the other hand, during the same period the number of working immigrants with the same education level increased from 9.4 million to 10.9 million.  According to Census and government data at least 50 percent of the job growth was fuelled by illegal aliens.

In the competitive low-skilled labor markets illegal aliens are gaining jobs that Americans are not, and illegal immigration has a direct effect on job loss for native-born workers.

Paying workers' compensation, health benefits, social security and a whole slew of labor law requirements are avoided by employers who hire from the vast pool of illegal aliens.

Guest-Worker Program

The agency that would administer a guest-worker program for immigrants the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) does not have a handle on fraud, does not do enough to deter it, and would not have a fraud-management system in place until 2011 a March 9, 2006, Editorial in the Washington Times reported.  

A Government Accountability Office reported that the rampant fraud is a result of the backlog of applications, which "placed additional pressure on [CIS] to process applications faster, thereby increasing the risk of making incorrect decisions, including approval of potentially fraudulent applications." Furthermore, since neither the CIS nor Immigration and Customs Enforcement regularly penalize those caught committing fraud, multiple offenders are able to game the system.  Simply, fraudulent applications are submitted until one gets through.

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