24 March 2006

Misguided Immigration Reform

My facial paralysis is slowly letting up, and I am once again working fulltime - and blogging away.

A quick scan of some of my favorite blogs led me to Angry Asian Man, where the big topic is immigration reform, as proposed by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania). Angry Asian Man is taking a very dim view of these proposals, and had links to pro-immigrant websites for further details; I checked them out.

These are the reference documents for the two proposals that I found:
A quick check of both proposals revealed very disturbing provisions.

As I mentioned in a previous post, helping an illegal alien, even on humanitarian grounds, will now be considered "alien smuggling," a criminal offense. Of course, being an illegal alien in itself is now a criminal, as opposed to civil, offense, clearing the way for local law enforcement to round up immigrants. I hope that there will actually be funding for this, if implemented - funding that the repeated tax cuts have dried up.

Aliens who cannot be deported for political (i.e. Iranian or Cuban, due to no diplomatic ties) or humanitarian (i.e. there was a case of a Nicaraguan transgender woman who would face sure death if returned home - and UN treaties prohibit such returns) reasons will be incarcerated for life, with no chance ever for asylum. Sure, it is a very bad idea to cross a border illegally, but it's not bad enough to warrant being locked up for life, next to the murderers.

The nonimmigrant guest worker proposal stays, making sure that greedy employers can hire foreigners at slave wages and destroy American jobs, without ever offering the promise of the so-called American Dream to these foreigners.

Instead of filling out an I-9 form to check the work eligibility of new hires (a process fraught with lots of fake documents), I now will have to check a federal database (just as error-prone) to verify work eligibility. It may be a bureaucratic nightmare - so much that even Republican-leaning Association of General Contractors (AGC) is against it (but then, contractors here in SoCal do need those cheap illegal laborers...).

Most importantly, there is a specific exception to this strict immigration law - for the Republicans' Cuban buddies. In the vast majority of cases, Cubans illegally entering the US won't be locked up for life - they will be given automatic asylum. And if Sam Brownback gets his wish, the Koreans - at least North Korean refugees who didn't previously settle in South Korea - will get the same exception.

This is an immigration policy that does nothing to solve the immigration-related problems in the American society. The guest worker program will only serve to keep unemployment high among working-class Americans (and wages depressed), while giving immigrants nothing in return. And for all the rhetoric about immigrants being the building blocks of this country, they are now seen as potential terrorists - and given the increased profiling by the law enforcement that will result from this, even legals and naturalized citizens won't be safe either. Of course, there are sweetheart backroom exceptions for the most partisan and most harmful immigrant groups, ensuring that the Republicans will continue to tilt the electorate their way with imported votes.

And before the immigrant groups start complaining and whining about these new bills, they need to look at themselves hard in the mirror as well. It is their support of conservative social values, including abortion ban and homophobia, that led them to lend support to the Republicans - who are now simply backstabbing them. The immigrants need to remember that in the eyes of the Republicans, they are simply disposable scums, much like the abortionists and the homos they hate so much.

If you are sitting outside the US and contemplating a move here, I strongly urge you to reconsider. We Americans no longer want you, the message is clear. I ask that you move to a country, like Canada or New Zealand, where you are wanted AND needed. I will too, when I can.