Email letters, October 28,  2013

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While Joseph Luff (“Enforce Simpson-Mazzoli bill to deliver immigration reform”) rightly questions whether Congress has learned appropriate lessons from the failed attempt at immigration reform in 1986, he incorrectly implies that neither S.744 (“The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013”
—crafted by the “Gang of Eight” and already passed by the Senate on bipartisan vote)
nor H.R. 15 (the same-titled House version currently languishing in committee) does.

In fact, both versions incorporate the “three promises” contained in Simpson-Mazzoli, and add provisions to both effectuate those promises and create an enforceable regime for permitting increased numbers of both agricultural workers and highly skilled foreigners to legally enter and at least temporarily remain in the U.S.

Both bills provide for interim “legalization” of undocumented immigrants who register, satisfy stringent eligibility requirements, and pay a $1000 fine – thereby self-sorting worthy potential citizens from those subject to immediate deportation.

Because the 1986 reform failed due to lack of political will to enforce legal sanctions against scofflaw employers who hired undocumented immigrants, both bills provide for mandatory use of “E-Verify” by employers – a technology not yet available in 1986.

Both bills provide for a 13-year “pathway to citizenship” which cannot even begin until border security meets objective statutory benchmarks and “E-Verify is fully deployed – precisely what Luff suggests.  S.744 would spend $46.3 billion on enhanced border security (following the Corker-Hoeven “border surge” amendment doubling the Border Patrol); H.R.15 would spend “only” $8.3 billion (the Senate’s original number).

Thus, Luff’s pejorative use of the term “amnesty” is dubiously uninformed (at best), and his effort to discredit the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) is “laughable”.  The CBO did not exist until 1976, and thus – in 1967—could not have underestimated the eventual costs of Medicare.

Meanwhile, as the Sentinel aptly opined, the currently “broken” immigration “system” is costing us billions in futile enforcement expenses and lost revenue.

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