Patterico's Pontifications

6/28/2007

Is Amnesty a Done Deal or Not? (UPDATE: Not.)

Filed under: General,Immigration — Patterico @ 5:25 am

This article says maybe not:

The Senate immigration bill lost supporters yesterday and hangs on by a thread heading into this morning’s showdown vote, after lawmakers voted down amendments making illegal aliens show roots to get legal status and cutting off their path to citizenship.

This morning’s vote is on a parliamentary question about limiting debate, but it boils down to a vote to block the bill.

Just two days ago, 64 senators voted to revive the bill, with many saying they wanted to give the Senate a chance to improve the bill through amendments. But after a messy day in the chamber yesterday, with dozens of objections, arguments on the floor and five amendments defeated, at least a half-dozen senators said publicly or privately that their patience has run out.

I guess we’ll know more later today. The next cloture vote takes place in a little over an hour.

UPDATE: The cloture vote came up 14 short — a huge defeat for backers of the bill.

39 Responses to “Is Amnesty a Done Deal or Not? (UPDATE: Not.)”

  1. I’ve read there are 6 Senator who’ve said they’ve moved to the NO column. If that’s right, we’re likely headed towards defeat of the bill.

    Listening to the bill’s advocates this morning on cspan has been nauseating. All the usual canards:

    1. Doing *something* is better than doing nothing.
    2. This is part of the “civil rights movement”
    3. Opponents are bigots
    4. Opponents are uninformed
    5. This will fix the illegal immigration problem
    6. This will make the U.S. more secure

    Terry (b3f6e4)

  2. You know, Wolf, first, I understand there’s some people who expect anything other than capital punishment is an amnesty.
    — Michael “Skeletor” Chertoff

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeletor

    Wesson (f09249)

  3. Adios, amnesty! We hardly knew ye. But maybe we’ll get to know border control…

    Pablo (99243e)

  4. I’m glad this immigration bill failed but I’m not a happy camper, especially with the GOP. The legislation barely failed at the tail end of a lengthy process despite the fact that 70-80% or more of the electorate oppose it. That’s not my idea of how things are supposed to work.

    DRJ (31d948)

  5. Anybody for starting a bi-partisan movement to impeach the Shrub?

    nk (fa5529)

  6. DRJ, the bill didn’t barely fail, it went down in flames. OK, maybe not flames flames, but decisive nonetheless, especially when you consider that this was technically a cloture vote, not a vote on the bill itself. For all we know, a few of those dissenting 46 just wanted an up-or-down vote, not necessarily passage.

    Xrlq (01c9ab)

  7. X,

    Even if we exclude the ridiculous flip-flop by Sen. Brownback, Allah’s summary of the votes demonstrates that a good share of the “No” votes could have gone the other way. Many Senators cast tag-along votes, including Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. If we can’t count on obvious red-staters like Hutchison to honor her conservative constituents’ wishes – and we can’t – conservatives are in trouble.

    DRJ (31d948)

  8. The cloture result means that the Democrats abandoned the bill, not just the Republicans.

    I will shed no tears for it–IMO, it took the worst part of everyone’s idea and bottled them into one big mess.

    But I do object very seriously to calling this an amnesty. Amnesty is “here, we’re letting you out of jail/not prosecuting you/etc./ and you have to do absolutely nothing except go back to what you were doing before”. The provisions in this bill were a complicated scheme that demanded fines most illegal immigrants would not be able to pay, return to native country for at least some of them, and I’m not sure what else because this thing was such a mess from the beginning. The people who would have done well off the scheme were not the immigrants themselves but loan sharks, immigration lawyers (especially the pseudo kind who prey on poor immigrants)and migrant labor bosses. “Here, I’ll loan you the 15K you need to become legal, and do the paperwork for you, just sign this paper that says every penny you earn for the rest of your life will effectively be mine! And if you treat me real nice, I’ll even actually file the paperwork for you instead of just telling you that’s what I did!”

    kishnevi (a117ab)

  9. Amnesty is “here, we’re letting you out of jail/not prosecuting you/etc./ and you have to do absolutely nothing except go back to what you were doing before”.

    If they are required to stick a finger in their nose first would it be amnesty? What if they are required to sign their names on a piece of paper first? Some might consider that an inconvenient hoop to jump through.

    J Curtis (ecc9cc)

  10. “But I do object very seriously to calling this an amnesty.”

    It’s amnesty, pure and simple, and the American people are not fooled by such Orwellian characterizations of it as anything else but amnesty. America won today, but the fight for this country to protect it from invasion, occupation and colonization will continue until every last one of the mexican invaders is deported. The American people have spoken, and they won’t be taking any more shit from their electeds any longer. Expect this issue to control the next election, and watch the heads of people like Lindsay “You’re a bigot and racist” Graham roll.

    Petty Bourgeois (d5b6de)

  11. I think we should start crusading against “Amnesty” in other areas of the law.

    For instance, in California, the DUI law is an “Amnesty” law just like the immigration reform bill supposedly was. If convicted of DUI:

    1) Your driving license is suspended for *only* 1 month, and restricted for *only* a couple months more,

    2) You have to attend (and pay for) a number of government-sponsored indoctrination courses for a *few* months

    3) After three years, you are no longer on probation.

    4) After 10 years, you are not even subject to additional penalties for repeat offenses…

    AMNESTY!!!

    When the left-wing wants to distort some policy, they come up with intellectually (and factually) dishonest slogans like “Tax cuts for the rich” or “Blood for oil”. Credit where credit is due to the hysterical opponents of immigration reform for distilling their lie down to a single word.

    LagunaDave (69e495)

  12. LD, nice try. If the Senate had voted on a proposal subjecting illegal aliens to “only” the same sanctions they faced under the laws that existed before, no one would call that amnesty, either. Conversely, if the California Legislature passed a new statute allowing anyone facing DUI charges to pay a $1 fine and escape even the piddley penalties you described, opponents of that statute would rightly deride it as amnesty.

    Xrlq (01c9ab)

  13. Kishnevi,

    Marc Rich had to wait a long time for his pardon, and he had to incur substantial lobbying, lawyering, and who-knows-what-else costs. But the bottom line is that Rich’s pardon was amnesty and this immigration legislation was, too. The tax write-offs alone were significant and the avoidance of criminal sanctions was priceless. Even if the costs illegal immigrants would have paid pursuant to this legislation were expensive, like Marc Rich, the ultimate price was a bargain.

    DRJ (31d948)

  14. The nitpicking over “amnesty” semantics is funny. McCain/Kennedy claim this bill forced those here illegally to pay all kinds of fines and to do all sorts of tasks and tests to become a US Citizen. For the vast majority of illegals who really don’t give a rat’s ass about citizenship, voting, sitting on juries or paying fines, their status would have been promoted to legal resident.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck. Being a duck is what’s offensive to the many people who are not illegal aliens or who do not make money off illegal alien activity.

    Wesson (f09249)

  15. I find the reference to Marc Rich very amusing, since one of his appeals lawyers was Scooter Libby, and the Dep-USAtty handling the case was Fitzgerald.

    nk – I would think that before anyone would attempt to impeach the President, they would have to remove the VP. Actually, as a very disaffected ex-Republican, I would advocate the impeachment of GWB, just so Dick Cheney would become President, and install some common-sense into the Oval Office – and drive the Dems absolutely bonkers (this would be a very short drive).

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  16. Business as usual – whew! Agricultural co-ops, construction companies and pampered rich folk can rest easy now. Two of those three happen to be owned by more Republicans than Democrats.
    Does anyone really believe that all of a sudden enforcement is going to happen? After all this makes a great plank for the 08 elections. In that time one million more illegal aliens will have crossed the border.
    I feel so much safer – thanks senators.

    voiceofreason63 (cfae0f)

  17. The more the federal government refuses to enforce our immigration laws, the more we’ll see stories like this.

    DRJ (31d948)

  18. DRJ–I saw that story yesterday on another site with more details (WND?–but I’m not sure). It had more details. The deputies look for places where Hispanics like to congregate or work, and stop there. Anyone who runs away from them is chased, and caught, and ticketed very often on technicalities or very minimal crimes (the worst one I remember being listed was trespassing). It did not mention the local law the Guardian article does. They are released, but the name and address information is sent to the feds for investigation as possible illegal aliens. The procedure of course is based on two assumptions: that anyone who runs away is an illegal immigrant afraid of being caught by ICE (whereas he might be Jose Gomez trying to avoid being served a summons in a paternity suit by Juanita Valdez regarding Josito); and that the feds will actually follow up in investigating. (And also, that the name and address info they get is accurate enough to allow investigation.)
    It also assumes that illegal immigrants will not soon realize that the best thing to do when they see a deputy is to stay put, since apparently those people who don’t run are not bothered with by the deputies.
    Be it noted that the state in which this is happening has two senators (one of whom is RNC chairman) who both voted in support of the bill.
    Given the number of legal immigrants who are in this state, I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising.

    kishnevi (7a9e8b)

  19. voice of reason–do you have statistics to back that up? If not, please don’t make statements that are backed up only by stereotypes.

    [NB–I have no idea what the Rep./Dem ratio is among owners of agricultural co-ops, construction companies, and pampered rich folk. But I do recall a number of pampered rich folk who are Democrats. Many of them live in Hollywood, along with a number of other pampered rich folk who are Republicans.]

    kishnevi (f89bb5)

  20. For the vast majority of illegals who really don’t give a rat’s ass about citizenship, voting, sitting on juries or paying fines, their status would have been promoted to legal resident.

    Not true.

    The Z-visa would have allowed work for 3 years, and been renewable at a hefty cost, with background and employment checks.

    Permanent residency (green card) would have required paying further fines, continued employment and a clean criminal record, learning English, and would take 10 years or more.

    And none of this would have happened until benchmarks on securing the border and employer enforcement had been met.

    Instead, as someone else pointed out, it will be business as usual – which means REAL amnesty in a practical sense – which the opponents of this bill are apparently willing to accept.

    LagunaDave (69e495)

  21. #19
    You accept the part of the statement you like but challenge the part you don’t. If you need links and references in regards to which party business is most affiliated with you may need to take a civics class or two to start…. otherwise google it, It is not a stereotype.

    voiceofreason63 (cfae0f)

  22. #17
    And I am quite sure that you see more stories of vigilantes meting out “justice” because they feel they have been given a mandate.

    voiceofreason63 (cfae0f)

  23. LagunaDave,

    It doesn’t matter if the Z visa renewal comes at a “hefty cost” – the lower it is, the more legalized illegals we’ll get, and the higher it is, the more the legalized illegals won’t pay it.

    And, anyways, according to the White House, the fee amounts to “up to” $375/year. Is that hefty? What about those back taxes that would have never been paid under the bill? I’m sure they’d be far more than $375/year!

    The “benchmarks” don’t really matter either. Achieving the benchmarks is what is supposed to trigger the possibility of transition from probationary status to Z-visa status. The “before” and “after” with regard to the benchmarks is essentially the same for the legalized illegals, except after the Z-visa starts, they’d have to start paying those fees. It’s smoke and mirrors.

    Lastly, as far as “business as usual,” that bill would have been business as usual. For the past 20 or so years, we’ve been on a cycle of empty promises of enforcement and amnesty. That legislation would have continued that grand tradition, which has gotten us to where we are today.

    Terry (b3f6e4)

  24. Terry,

    Regards the business as usual why are so many treating this defeat as the prelude to the second coming of Christ in terms of importance? I thought the Republicans were the party that claims to have the security of the country as its number one priority. Yet it is perfectly acceptable to kill a bill and make it a campaign issue. In the meantime a million more illegal immigrants will arrive in the next year. Safe? Yeaaah

    voiceofreason63 (cfae0f)

  25. The “defeat” was of business as usual, that’s why people are happy.

    The one thing everyone, including Kennedy, Bush, McCain, Kyl, Feinstein et al agree on is that we need to “secure the border” and create a way of allowing employers to know if someone is illegal or not. Now we can focus on legislation that will accomplish that.

    Terry (b3f6e4)

  26. And you honestly think any kind of legislation will be done in the next two years. Another 1-3 million illegals of whom we know nothing about is acceptable.
    My opinion is that it will be five years before you see legislation again. Of course the number of illegals will be in the 20-25 million range by then.

    voiceofreason63 (cfae0f)

  27. Remember the Secure Fence Act? That was part I.

    Part II should be coming out of the House soon.

    Terry (b3f6e4)

  28. “Permanent residency (green card) would have required paying further fines, continued employment and a clean criminal record, learning English, and would take 10 years or more.

    And none of this would have happened until benchmarks on securing the border and employer enforcement had been met.”

    Bullsh*t. None of this would have happened. It would have been a replay of 1986, and everyone knows it.

    Federal Dog (9afd6c)

  29. Isn’t illegally entering our country a felony?

    If so, isn’t saying “never mind, pay a fine, and by the way, you’ll get to vote” a form of amnesty?

    Because, you see, in many states we don’t allow felons to vote, even those that have “paid their debt to society.”

    Hogarth (a721ef)

  30. Is that hefty? What about those back taxes that would have never been paid under the bill? I’m sure they’d be far more than $375/year!

    And just how do you suppose the government will ever tax income from years ago that wasn’t reported? Back taxes for illegal immigrants are a write-off (and a red herring) under any plausible plan. Low income people don’t pay any significant (in terms of Federal receipts) amount of income taxes anyway.

    But if you are so concerned, under the bill, we would have begun to collect taxes from some number of guest workers that we won’t, now.

    The information I’ve found said the Z visa fine was $5000 for four years, plus a $1500 processing fee. If you have different information, please post a link. It may have changed in the flurry of amendments, but the exact amount of the fine seems like a red herring to me. It is a substantial enough amount of money that paying it is a penalty. As someone else points out, making it too high is self-defeating.

    Bullsh*t. None of this would have happened. It would have been a replay of 1986, and everyone knows it.

    This is not a reasonable argument.

    Isn’t illegally entering our country a felony?

    No.

    If so, isn’t saying “never mind, pay a fine, and by the way, you’ll get to vote” a form of amnesty?

    It would take a decade or more for most present illegal immigrants to gain permanent residency under bill (if they paid the fines, remained employed, had no felonies, learned English, etc), and prevailed in competition with other applicants for the same slots. But permanent residents don’t get to vote anyway.

    LagunaDave (69e495)

  31. LagunaDaveDude! That White House page I linked, which is more recent than your Wash Post article, has the numbers. The visa renewal is “up to” $1500 every four years ($375/year).

    The one-time fees the legalized illegals have to pay to get the visa following the probationary period are described in the same WH page:

    Transitioning to Z status will require the worker to pay a $1,000 fine for head of household and $500 per dependent; up to $1,500 in processing fees per applicant, including heads of household and dependents; and a $500 state impact assistance fee.

    Terry (b3f6e4)

  32. Transitioning to Z status will require the worker to pay a $1,000 fine for head of household and $500 per dependent; up to $1,500 in processing fees per applicant, including heads of household and dependents; and a $500 state impact assistance fee.

    OK, I looked for more recent information but didn’t find it. And I didn’t notice your link, sorry. That said, it’s a shame you ignored the other 99% of the information there…

    Anyway, so what? Paying thousands of dollars in fines and fees is not a penalty, now?

    The idea of the legislation is not to reap a windfall from illegal immigrants. The idea is to reduce the temptation to violate the law, and increase the incentive to obey it. Making the fine, say, $20,000 would not be more effective at reducing illegal immigration, would it?

    LagunaDave (69e495)

  33. I remember we used to have a program, not even that long ago, where you could buy US citizenship for a million dollars. Imagine those poor suckers now. I’d be demanding a refund.

    A few pennies for you criminals over here to get your citizenship, a million dollars for you lawful folk over here who would be a benefit to the US instead of a drain.

    If the word “amnesty” doesn’t apply for this, then it can never be an applicable word and might as well be purged from the dictionary.

    J Curtis (ecc9cc)

  34. Anyway, so what? Paying thousands of dollars in fines and fees is not a penalty, now?

    It certainly isn’t if the “fines” get you out of a lot more in back taxes. If this turkey had passed, a lot of U.S. citizens would have wanted to get themselves declared illegal aliens retroactively.

    Xrlq (538859)

  35. It certainly isn’t if the “fines” get you out of a lot more in back taxes. If this turkey had passed, a lot of U.S. citizens would have wanted to get themselves declared illegal aliens retroactively.

    You mean people with reported income who didn’t pay their taxes?

    Still waiting to hear how you expect to determine the tax liability of someone for whom no employment records exist.

    Since one of the arguments (to be generous and call it that) against immigration reform is that the government can’t do anything the legislation requires it to do, I’m puzzled why, in this instance, you think it’s possible.

    What would the IRS rely on, a Ouija board?

    LagunaDave (69e495)

  36. It will be great fun to see the candid comments of Tony Snow, Cheney, and Chertoff about this after Bush is gone from office. These guys realized this (not amnesty, but you don’t have to leave if you break these new rules) plan was one of the Worst Ideas Ever, but they kept their mouths shut to be team players.

    Wesson (f09249)

  37. LagunaDave,

    Think again. Lots of non-paying taxpayers don’t have records but when the IRS finds them, it estimates their tax liability based on past income and/or industry standards (for example, by reference to the returns of similarly-employed taxpayers). The IRS estimates are high and it’s up to the taxpayer to provide documents that substantiate why they owe lower taxes. Most taxpayers in this situation either find their supporting documents or reconstruct them by contacting their former employers. Absent that, the taxpayer owes the estimated taxes calculated by the IRS.

    The IRS uses estimated taxes regularly in dealing with American citizens – I see it everyday – and this method could have been used with illegal immigrants if the immigration legislation had passed. It’s my understanding, however, that the reform bill gratuitously forgave all (or all but 2 years) of immigrants’ past tax liabilities.

    DRJ (31d948)

  38. I’ve got it…Since it is obvious that the federal government has no problem with illegal aliens roaming freely throughout the United States, then they should have no problem employing them. It would be a mass undertaking to build a 75′ high wall spanning our southern border, and would require most, if not all, of our illegal population.

    Pay them roughly half minimum wage, and have them build it while working from the south side of the wall. Upon completion, deduct the free healthcare and education, emergency room visits, etc. that they have already recieved from our tax dollars from the amout they are owed and they will probably come out owing us money.

    The taxpayers will only be left with the cost of material, which we can get cheap from Mexico.

    Problem solved!

    NationalSquib (04365f)


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