Support for Immigration Compromise

I could not find a local person to write in favor of the recent Congressional immigration plan to so I decided to highlight this article written by Jeb Bush and former GOP Chair Ken Mehlman for the Wall Street Journal. This is provided to give our readers both pro/con.

A Good Immigration Bill
By: Jeb Bush and Ken Mehlman

Immigration reform is very tough. It’s an issue that divides both political parties and, on the right, has led many close personal and ideological friends — people we respect and whose criticism we take seriously — to oppose new rules governing how people enter this country and how we handle those who are here illegally. But we hope our friends reconsider.

We support the immigration reform compromise worked out in the Senate for a few simple reasons. It strengthens our national defense. It makes our economy more competitive and flexible. It enhances the rule of law and promotes national unity. And it also does these things in a fair, practical way.

Here’s what the bill does not do. It does not grant amnesty to the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country and nor does it give a free pass to others who want to enter the country illegally.

The bill provides real border security for the first time, protecting us against the entry of terrorists and stemming the flow of illegal drugs. It doubles the border patrol, expands the border fence and informs law enforcement about foreign nationals in the United States. Because it requires foreign workers to carry tamper-proof identification, both law enforcement and employers will be able to identify and apprehend those who violate the law.

The temporary worker program will reduce the number of people trying to sneak past the border patrol, allowing law enforcement to focus on those who pose a threat to the U.S. By putting border security first, this immigration reform adds a provision that many Republicans suggested last year. It adopts the “trigger” mechanism suggested by Sen. Johnny Isaacson, a Georgia Republican. Until and unless security improves on the border, the temporary worker program and “Z” visa provision for three-year work permits will not be implemented.

Second, the bill strengthens American economic competitiveness. The high tech economy of the 21st century and the rise of China and India as economic powerhouses have left us with a stark choice. We must be home to the world’s most skilled workers if we are to have the world’s highest living standards. The immigration reform takes a step in this direction by ensuring that we, as a country, do a better job in granting visas to immigrants with the skills we need. We should welcome more computer programmers, engineers and scientists and this legislation admits more of these highly skilled workers.

Our economy also needs to be flexible. The temporary worker proposal deals with job shortages in critical areas, expanding and contracting our labor supply based on market needs, not politics. Additionally, providing legal status to workers already in the U.S. adds them to the tax rolls. This will protect American taxpayers now bearing the burden of illegal immigrants who use public services but who don’t pay taxes.

Third, the immigration reform reinforces the rule of law in a practical and fair way. Today, those in the country illegally live and work without penalty. Doing nothing is the real amnesty. Under this bill, illegal immigrants would be required to pay fines, pass strict background checks, remain employed and maintain a clean record to stay in the U.S. Getting these 12 million people out of the shadows will enhance our national security.