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Immigration Bills: Now to conference committee
Posted by: McQ on Friday, May 26, 2006

People keep saying that an immigration reform law will actually pass this year. I have my doubts. I know, politically, that both sides are interested in passage of something. And that usually leads to very bad legislation. But I can't help but feel, listening to the rhetoric from members of the House, that there's very little compromise they are willing to make on certain issues. For instance, House Majority Leader John Boehner says in a press release:
"The American people expect Congress to secure our borders and stop the flood of illegal immigration, and House Republicans responded by passing a strong border security bill that re-establishes basic respect for our immigration laws. Now that the Senate has passed a bill, we owe it to the American people to seek common ground on responsible solutions, while always stressing our most important priority is to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration.

"I'm committed to working with Chairman Sensenbrenner, Chairman King, and House Republicans to ensure we produce a strong bill that meets our commitments to the American people. I would urge House Democrats, who have constantly advocated troubling policies that encourage open borders and invite more illegal immigrants into our country, to join us in supporting a strong bill that addresses the concerns of the American people and makes our borders more secure."
While that all sounds fairly vague and collegial, it is the equivalent of throwing a political gauntlet down.

Given all of that, it is worthwhile to look at the highlights of the two bills, one from the House and one from the Senate and note their differences.

The Senate:


The House:


Looking over the key points of both, there are some on which compromise is obviously possible. I'm sure the House would have no problem adopting the English language provision from the Senate bill. And hopefully they'll insist the "illegals get Social Security" be stripped from it as well. And doubtless both can reach agreement on the size of any border fencing.

But there is a gulf a mile wide on citizenship and guest workers, which, one would presume is at the heart of the problem. And it is there House Republicans have taken a stand (totally unaddressed is the matter of streamlining the entire system to make it more responsive and timely in terms of processing the applications of immigrants or guest workers one of the primary reason we see such a problem with illegal aliens). The question is do they see that stand as a political hill to die on? My sense is they do, at least for the moment. Hard-liners on the immigration issue sense their stance is the will of the majority. Whether you agree with their stance or not, I think they'll try to insist on their provisions. The conference committee will get bloody and compromise may end up being impossible. Arm twisting and news conferences will be the order of the day as both sides try to muster public support for their agenda.

It is going to be interesting. In the end, nothing may be the result, as both sides refuse to move on particular issues. The political ramifications of that may be significant ... but at this point, I'd guess both sides are sure their stand will help, not hurt them politically.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Tech Visas are self-destructive to this country.

You basically are taking away the incentive for kids to go to college to get those jobs. Keep going down this path, and we’ll be importing all our technical labor, including doctors.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
While we are breathlessly awaiting a new immigration bill, perhaps the administration could consider enforcing existing immigration laws.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I don’t understand in what world are you living in jpm100 !! open your eyes and mind. Innovation has already slowed down in this country ask any tech leader. Not because of immigrants but because of american schools. The only way we can maintain tech leadership in the world is by allowing smartest and brightest from all over the world to come here and make america their home.
Written By: carbon
URL: http://
Not because of immigrants but because of american schools. The only way we can maintain tech leadership in the world is by allowing smartest and brightest from all over the world to come here and make america their home.
For some reason, the "only way to" solution doesn’t address the problem statement. Unless you want them to run our schools and teach our kids.
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Blah blah blah - I know too many American born comp sci techies and engineers who can’t find work to buy this story about ’not enough of’ or ’not good enough’.

We ’cost too much’ in salary & benefits.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The sticking point between the 2 bills is AMNESTY.

OPTION ONE: Amnesty is granted and the corporate supremacists and their allies in the senate and the white house win. Taxpayer Schmuck pays more taxes and lines the pockets of the big corporations who now have 12 million more customers who live constantly on the government handouts like free emergency care and public schooling.
Also, amnesty attracts more "amnesty" seekers so now there are 6o million more people in the US competing for the same jobs Mr. Schmuck needs. Also, don’t forget: More money for the corporations and less money for Mr. and Mrs. Schmuck.

OPTION TWO: Amnesty is denied and all illegals are deported. Mexico then descends into chaos and joins the "Failed States" club.

I personally prefer option 2. Less hassle for me.
Written By: R . Tinio
URL: http://

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