Sunday, December 18, 2005

House approves immigration reform bill, Mexico angered

The House passed legislation on immigration reform this week that tightens border control and makes it harder for undocumented workers to get jobs here in the US. Michelle Malkin is, as usual, on top of this story. She quotes this story on the legislation in describing what was passed:

::::::::The vote was 239-182, with opposition coming from Democrats and some Republicans upset by the exclusion of the guest worker issue and other Republicans wanting tougher border control measures...

... The House bill would beef up border security with the help of local law enforcement and military technology, impose tougher penalties for smuggling and re-entry, and end the "catch and release" policy for illegal non-Mexicans. It makes drunken driving convictions a deportable offense.

The bill makes unlawful presence in the United States, currently a civil offense, a felony. An amendment to reduce the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor was defeated, with many Democrats voting against the proposal in protest over subjecting people who have overstayed their visas to any criminal charges.

The House also voted 273-148 to end the diversity visa lottery program that's open to countries that send few immigrations to the United States. Opponents said it was susceptible to fraud and could be a way for terrorists to enter the country.

Mexico is upset over the law. They and other open-borders supporters keep coming back to the accusation of "criminalizing migration" and the like. No one is talking about criminalizing immigration. We're talking about requiring people who want to come here to do so in accordance with our laws. That means you don't sneak past border guards. You don't cut open a fence in the dead of night and run through. You don't give false information to Customs when you come in. You register, as the law requires, and you obey our laws. Plain. Simple. Do that and you'll be fine.

Don't do that and you're an illegal, period. Illegals have no right to expect a job here, to expect to stay here and to hell with playing by the rules. As for Mexico, they sure don't apply the same kind of friendly, "oh, sure you can come on in and stay here even if you don't come legally" attitude with their southern border. Seems a bit hypocritical to suggest we ought to.

Also approved this week was the completion of a security fence in southern California completing a security cordon there and closing down some well-known border crossings. Mexico, again, became outraged. I would like to ask how a fence in the middle of the desert would adversely affect a Mexican national who walks up to our Customs and Immigration stations at the legal border crossings to enter the US? Such a person wouldn't even know the fence was there, let alone be affected by it. The only people that fence poses a problem to are the ones trying to enter the country illegally. And those people aren't owed an explanation, let alone a vote in whether the fence goes up or not.

As I keep saying, I have no issue with legal immigration. I work with lots of legal immigrants myself and they're fine people. I'm proud to stand with them and I encourage those who seek to become citizens. One guy I know thinks he'll be up for naturalization by mid-2006 and he gets the biggest grin on his face when he says that. It's been a long road for him and his family but they followed the law. That's what immigration is, not jumping the border or smuggling people across in the back of a truck. If Mexico is serious about wanting to be part of a bilateral solution, then make damn sure their citizens don't try to sneak under the fence.