Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

from the Irish Times on November 24, 2006:

Minister explores 'deal' with US over migrants

by Marie O'Halloran

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern is looking at the
possibility of a bilateral agreement with the US to resolve the issue
of the undocumented Irish, but the Government's main priority is to
seek a comprehensive reform package.

Mr Ahern told the Dáil that the Government was looking at all options,
including a bilateral agreement. He warned, however, that such an
arrangement might actually work against undocumented Irish. The issue
was raised following individual visa agreements reached by the US with
Australia and with Chile.

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented people in the US, of
whom up to 60,000 could be Irish. The Government had campaigned
consistently for the Kennedy-McCain proposals, to give them legal

Fine Gael spokesman Bernard Allen asked if the Government had broached
the "subject of a visa exchange programme between US and Ireland
similar to the one with Chile and Australia and which would give not
only Irish people an opportunity to have access to the US labour
market but would give opportunity to US citizens to work here".

Mr Ahern said that in relation to "bilateral arrangements, we are
looking at all the options but our primary responsibility and priority
is in relation to dealing with this issue of the undocumented once and
for all, in a way that will be relatively easy for them."

He added that "there are a number of other suggestions in relation to
bilateral arrangements, which might not necessarily assist
undocumented; which might make it even more difficult for undocumented
in a way."

"So can I say that our first priority, based on the advice that we get
from people like Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator John McCain and
others, is for a comprehensive reform package," Mr Ahern added.

He looked forward to a "further intensification of the Government's
efforts on behalf of the undocumented in the period ahead, in
particular with key members of the incoming Congress", and he was
hopeful "that in the first half of next year that we would have some
substantial progress to make in that respect."

There was "a different landscape after the election and a number of
people, both Republican and Democrats, who had been favourably
disposed to immigration reform have been re-elected with somewhat
sizeable majorities."

Nonetheless, "there are some in the Democratic Party who wouldn't
necessarily be very much in favour of immigration reform for a number
of other reasons, not least for the whole issue of labour supply and
trade union issues which are very strong in the Democratic Party
policy mix."

Mr Ahern had written to senior congressional leaders in the wake of
the election, raising the issue of the undocumented Irish and on a
recent visit to the US had met the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform,
which was "most effective for promoting awareness within the US of the
Irish dimension to the undocumented issue."

However, comprehensive immigration reform "remains divisive and
difficult both in the Congress and in the US generally."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Forgotten Face of Immigration Reform

Contrary to the vitriolic rhetoric that comes from anti-immigration proponents like Tom Tancredo, Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan, about half of the nations undocumented immigrants don't arrive under the cover night, smuggled over a porous Mexican border by unsavory characters profiting from the trade in human cargo. They enter the country through legal channels with visas in hand to work, study or visit. After time, they fall out of status and join the growing ranks of the undocumented. They do so not out of malicious intent, but rather because there are no legal channels available for them to change their status and make a new more permanent life in a country they now want to call their own. Read More

Thanksgiving Thoughts...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The following is an excerpt from Marc Cooper's article WILL A NEW CONGRESS CONFRONT REAL IMMIGRATION REFORM?:

Earlier this year, a common sense and comprehensive immigration reform measure supported by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., by business interests and at least a sizable chunk of organized labor, won approval in the GOP-controlled Senate. The legislation received at least some support from the White House, and the Senate leadership compromised with Democrats to push the measure through. Not only would border security have been strengthened, but also a guest worker program would have provided legal entry for hundreds of thousands of migrants.

And most important, a long period of national denial would have come to an end with the earned legalization of millions of undocumented workers. But the more ideological leadership in the House blocked the bipartisan reform, mocking it as ``amnesty'' for lawbreakers. Instead, they settled only for more troops along the border and a 700-mile-long wall...

In any scenario, eventual passage of a sweeping reform bill will require a measure of political courage and risk-taking that has been sorely absent from Washington in recent years. The question is whether or not the realities of immigration will finally force decisive action. Once the near-exclusive realm of human rights and Latino advocacy groups, liberalized immigration reform has now become a top priority not only for powerful unions like the SEIU but also for the American business community. Corporate America -- not traditionally seen as the champion of the downtrodden and hungry -- now believes that its very future is staked on access to a growing, young and hard-working immigrant workforce.

We're about to see if any of the pragmatism of the business lobby will be transmitted to the liberals now taking control of Congress. It would be a great historical irony if the new majority Democrats found themselves to the political right of the Chamber of Commerce in confronting one our most pressing national problems...

For a link to the full article, click here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

from New York Times Editorial "Signs of Hope on Immigration:"

The political earthquake in Washington has knocked loose some of the big obstacles to fixing the immigration system. A decent solution is now there for the taking, if President Bush and the newly Democratic Congress are willing to grab it...

The roots of a divisive, grinding immigration debate have not gone away. But it is crucial that the Democrats find their voice. The effort to revive immigration reform should start in the Senate. There is a decent bill under the barnacled hulk of legislation that passed the Senate last May. It used to be called McCain-Kennedy, before other senators tacked on tough-posing amendments that made it fundamentally unworkable and unjust. The Senate should strip those away, like the ones that divide immigrants into three arbitrary tiers of worthiness and needlessly force those seeking legal status to trek to a border state to apply for it.

The principles that guided the original McCain-Kennedy bill are those that should guide the coming reform effort: laws should be enforced at the border and workplace, fairly and evenhandedly; temporary worker programs must not be used to create a permanent official underclass; and any reform must be designed to work and not just create another smothering bureaucracy...

Many voters who scorned Republicans over immigration reacted as you would expect them to after being mocked and exploited by a party that elevated the issue into an urgent crisis and then offered nothing to solve it but faux hearings, strident campaign ads and a pretend fence. The same fate may await any Democrats who posture, deceive and dawdle over immigration reform in the next Congress.

For a link to the full editorial, click here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

SUNDAY November 19, 2006 - San Francisco Chronicle: Beyond a Border Fence

Sunday, November 19, 2006
FOR THOSE expecting a quick agreement on immigration reform between President Bush and a Democratic-led Congress -- hold your horses.

Immigration is far from being a done deal on Capitol Hill -- despite seeming like a sure thing the day after the Nov. 7 Democratic triumph at the ballot box.

"We probably went from a 5 percent chance for an agreement to at least a 50-50 chance," Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonprofit think-tank in Arlington, Va. Anderson was a top immigration aide to former Energy Secretary and U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich, when he chaired the Senate subcommittee on immigration.

Only a 50-50 chance? How could that be? On the surface, the Democratic victory seemed to sweep away most of the obstacles in the way of reform legislation emerging from Capitol Hill.

Most important, hardline immigration restrictionists, such as U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who authored the draconian legislation that would have turned illegal entry to the United States into a criminal offense and helped trigger the largest pro-immigration demonstrations in U.S. history, are no longer in the majority in the House. In addition, some of the most extreme anti-illegal immigration voices such as Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz were silenced by voters on Nov. 7.

On the plus side, President Bush, who is on record as supporting the "compromise" immigration bill approved by the Senate last spring, is still in office. In addition to tough "enforcement" provisions, including a 700-mile border fence, the bill would establish a temporary guest-worker program and provide a way for many of the 12 million illegal immigrants on U.S. soil to become citizens. Both parties have seen which way the political winds are blowing. An estimated 70 percent of Latino voters voted for Democratic candidates. Exit polls suggest that their vote was influenced by the harsh Republican approach to immigration reform.

These developments should grease the wheels for quick passage of an immigration reform bill.

But it's notable that immigration is not on the list of priorities of the House Democrats' "Six for '06" legislative agenda.

Some Democrats are skittish that Republicans will use immigration reform legislation as part of a counterattack to win back the House and Senate in the next election, two short years away. In addition, not all Democrats -- including some of the newly elected lawmakers -- support providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Despite these obstacles, it would be a national tragedy if Bush and a new Democratic-led Congress let the chance to pass meaningful immigration legislation slip through their fingers.

They should not simply rubber stamp the Senate "compromise" bill, which emerged as a result of some tough bargaining and dealmaking on Capitol Hill. The worst outcome would be if Congress approved flawed legislation that ended up having the same unintended consequences as the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which was cobbled together from a set of not-very-smart compromises.

Congress must take a close look, for example, at the recommendations of the Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, co-chaired by Spencer Abraham and Lee Hamilton (available at The task force shows how our legal immigration flow is completely out of whack with the needs of the U.S. economy, and argues that reform must encompass legal immigration as well.

The reality is that pro-reform forces are now in closer alignment than they have been in years. It would be an act of political malpractice to squander this rare and extraordinary opportunity to rework an immigration system that is past due for repair.
Page G - 4

For a link to the editorial click here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Houston Chronicle Editorial: Setting Boundaries, Midterm voters demanded centrist, enforceable immigration policy. Now.

The midterm elections sent candidates a pay-on-delivery package of demands. Resolving the Iraq war and sanitizing congressional ethics topped the list. Immigration hysteria did not.

In 12 of 15 races dominated by the illegal immigration debate, moderate candidates won. Just two immigration hard-liners prevailed, according to, which followed the issue.

What Americans demand, according to their votes and polls taken during election week, are reason and realism. U.S. immigration policy consists of encouraging thousands of Latin America's most daring and desperate workers to risk their lives seeking U.S. jobs. Once they arrive, they pay with a fearful, subterranean existence in which they are exploited and barred from fully contributing to the community.

Most Americans want no part of this devil's bargain. In the elections, they also rejected extremists who demonized the workers themselves.

Here's what voters did want: comprehensive reform that works. According to a Tarrance Group survey just before the election, 57 percent of likely voters preferred candidates who backed comprehensive reform. The voters also wanted fair procedures for determining who may seek citizenship here. Sixty-eight percent said that should include paying a fine, paying taxes, having a clean record and learning English.

These voters also want a manageable immigration policy now. Fewer than one in three called immigration "extremely" important in his voting choice, one exit poll showed. Yet 75 percent said they wanted Congress to enact comprehensive reform next year, not later.

That reform has to include:

• Rationally planned border security (a 700-mile fence diverting migrants elsewhere doesn't qualify).

• Expanding legal work opportunities for the thousands of foreign workers employers want to hire.

• Drawing all illegal immigrants already here into the legal and social mainstream.

• Actively developing the economies of the poor countries from which those workers come.

This last step is the most complex, and most important. Our unregulated subculture of low-income workers ultimately weakens the home countries they support. As a recent Chronicle story showed, remittances can stunt economic growth and work ethics in poor countries that depend on them. America's importation of low-wage, disenfranchised workers who have no prospects at home reflects failed systems on both sides of the border.

Voters now have said it plainly: Only comprehensive, rational reform can start to fix this.

For a link to this editorial click here.


Suddenly, we want to blame the undocumented for all sorts of problems and scapegoat them with measures to criminalize or starve them away, as if the mess we're all complicit in is somehow only their fault? Lawyers call that unjust enrichment.

Those who call an earned path to citizenship "amnesty" are wrong. Amnesty would be declaring that all illegals were hereby deemed citizens. No one is proposing that. And no one is opposed to securing our borders to know exactly who's crossing them. But doing it right means fixing the entry process so that the workers our economy demands can enter efficiently, come out of the shadows and reunite safely with family - ultimately making it easier to apprehend those few criminals and terrorists who might wish to slip in.

An earned pathway to citizenship, combined with a guest-worker program, effective border security, internal enforcement and a fixed visa system (comprehensive reform) meets the realities of our economic and security needs.

And it wouldn't "reward illegal behavior." The earned pathway is like a plea bargain. A person who has committed the misdemeanor of entering the country illegally would, in effect, plead to the civil offense of overstaying his visa by acknowledging his guilt and paying a fine, and back taxes, proof of having worked, a criminal background check, an English proficiency test and other requirements.

It is an equitable and practical solution to a complex problem for which we all share responsibility - while still holding accountable those who have committed the indiscretion of entering or being in the country illegally. Opposition to comprehensive immigration reform on the grounds that "illegal is illegal" is an intellectually lazy argument arising out of knee-jerk nativism. We have a history of welcoming newcomers in this manner - despite our reputation as a "nation of immigrants." But if we don't want to cripple our economy, and if we're to be truly fair, immigration reform must be comprehensive. Anything less would be cutting off our big economic nose just to spite our hypocritical law-and-order face.

For the full article, click here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Time to Reform Immigration" from The Daily Herald (Utah)

Now that the fun and games of the election are over, would it be too much to ask Congress to finally pass immigration reform?

It appeared poised to do something this year, but the House and Senate deadlocked on a final bill. The House version stressed strict border enforcement and penalties for those who sneak into the country, while the Senate plan, which contained a border security element, also proposed ways for illegal immigrants already in the country to obtain citizenship after paying fines and back taxes.

Congress then adjourned for the summer, with House Republicans promising to conduct meetings to "listen" to what Americans had to say on the issue, as if there hasn't been enough discussion already. The only bill that's moved so far is one authorizing the construction of a dubious 700-mile border fence for $2.2 billion.

Ducking the immigration issue was an act of political cowardice. From a congressman's point of view, passing an immigration bill that did not address citizenship or guest workers would have cost him the Hispanic vote, while providing a path to citizenship for those already here would alienate another large bloc of voters. Doing nothing, therefore, was the safest political route to take, as a lawmaker could say he tried to fix the problem, but his colleagues were obstinate.

But we don't send men and women to Congress to plot safe political courses. We send them there to run the country and deal with the important issues. Immigration reform is one of those issues that won't go away if we ignore it long enough. The solution will only become more politically charged.

The post-election period is the ideal time to tackle this issue. There's no rush to get back home and campaign for votes. Those who lost their re-election bids have nothing left to lose at this point, while the rest have at least two years before they will face voters, enough time for most of the public to think rationally about the matter.

With the election past, officials should step off the path of least resistance and do what is right. That means getting beyond bumper-sticker slogans and finding a comprehensive solution.

Securing the border is an important step but it is not the only one. As long as there are companies that continue to seek out illegal immigrants, an incentive will always exist to cross the border, regardless what barricades are erected. The dishonest companies that hire illegal workers should be punished severely. At the same time, a functional guest worker program is needed for farmers and others who need laborers.

There are the estimated 11-20 million illegal immigrants already within our borders. Rounding them up and shipping them home is impractical as well as harmful to our economy. They have been invited here by business; government has knowingly looked the other way for many decades. It is fair, therefore, that many families that have worked, obeyed the law and paid taxes ought to be considered de facto American citizens.

We'd like to see the 109th Congress go down in history as the body that enacted comprehensive immigration reform.

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page A6. For a link to the piece click here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

IMMIGRATION BUST by Linda Chavez; Thu Nov 9, 12:14 AM ET

Iraq was clearly the election issue that turned the tide against Republicans, but one issue that many GOP activists thought might save the day ended up a bust: immigration.

Hard-liners in the House stopped comprehensive immigration reform in its tracks this summer, dealing a blow to the White House. Then they argued this was good for Republicans because Americans put illegal immigration at the top of their policy agenda and had no interest in comprehensive reform. Judging from the election results, the hard-liners were wrong.

In several high-profile races where illegal immigration was a key issue, the anti-immigrant candidate lost big. In Arizona, the front line in the immigration wars, Republicans J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf lost handily to more moderate voices. Hayworth, a six-term congressman, once favored a guest worker program but flip-flopped when he sensed bashing immigrants was a surer ticket to re-election.

In his book "Whatever It Takes: Illegal Immigration, Border Security and the War on Terror," Hayworth called for a three-year ban on legal immigration from Mexico, which would devastate the U.S. agricultural community and hurt other industries as well. Apparently voters in Arizona's 5th Congressional District wanted no part of Hayworth's proposed ban.

Graf, a former state representative and member of the extremist Minuteman Project, was even more off base. Graf supported calls to reinstate "Operation Wetback," a 1950s federal deportation program that not only rounded up thousands of illegal aliens but also ensnared some U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. Graf's position garnered him only 42 percent of the vote in a reliably conservative district.

In Colorado, Republicans' anti-immigrant stance may have cost them the governor's race in addition to one congressional seat. Rep. Bob Beauprez (news, bio, voting record), the Republican who gave up his seat to run for governor, claimed that illegal immigration would prove to be Democrat Bill Ritter's "Achilles' heel" and spent much of the last few weeks of the campaign hammering away on the issue. But Colorado's agricultural economy is heavily dependent on immigrant workers (including illegal aliens), and Ritter's pro-guest worker position helped him win 56 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Beauprez's open seat went to the Democrat, Ed Perlmutter, despite Republican candidate Rick O'Donnell's effort to make illegal immigration a central issue in that campaign as well. O'Donnell proposed a bizarre plan to draft boys in their last semester of high school to patrol the U.S.-Mexican border "instead of wasting time in 12th grade," describing his plan as a "society-wide rite of passage into manhood" that would provide a "sense of adventure and risk." Needless to say, residents of Colorado's 7th Congressional District didn't agree.

And perhaps in the most surprising loss of all, Indiana voters rejected Republican Rep. John Hostettler (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee. Hostettler led efforts to pass a get-tough bill that included a provision to make felons of all 12 million illegal aliens living in the U.S., which was dropped in conference with the Senate. Hostettler -- who, unlike most Republicans, voted against authorizing the Iraq war -- was trounced by his opponent, despite campaign help from a number of anti-immigration groups and appearances by anti-immigrant luminaries Phyllis Schlafly and Bay Buchanan.

According to an Election Day poll by Republican pollster Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Doug Schoen, only 8 percent of voters ranked immigration as their top issue, making it, at best, a second-tier issue. Americans want a secure border, but a majority supports comprehensive reform as the best means to stopping illegal immigration.

Americans also want to make sure illegal aliens don't exploit social services and aren't given special preferences. Most importantly, they want to ensure that all immigrants learn English and that government function in English, as Arizona voters demonstrated by supporting initiatives dealing with those specific issues on Tuesday.

Now that the people have spoken, maybe the Congress will finally listen and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

"IMMIGRATION LOSERS," from today's Wall Street Journal (page A16)

Republicans on Tuesday managed both to lose their majority in Congress and alienate a fast-growing bloc of Latino swing voters. Other than that, the House GOP strategy of trying to save itself by bucking President Bush and using immigration as a wedge issue worked pretty well.

Republicans can't say they weren't warned. Like trade protectionism, the immigration issue is the fool's gold of American politics. Voters like to sound off to pollsters about immigrants, yet they pull the lever with other matters foremost in mind. Elections seldom if ever turn on immigration, and the GOP restrictionist message so adored by talk radio, cable news and the nativist blogosphere once again failed to deliver the goods.

Worse, this time Republicans made "securing the border" a loud national theme, only to do nothing about it save for approving a 700-mile fence along a 1,951-mile Mexican-U.S. border. They thus managed to highlight either their fecklessness in failing to do something about an allegedly urgent problem, or their cynicism in raising it at all.

In Arizona, which is ground zero in the illegal alien debate, two Republicans defined by their opposition to immigration were defeated by wide margins. Representative J.D. Hayworth, who is so proud of his desire to turn the U.S. into a single gated community that he wrote a book about it, lost handily. So did Randy Graf, another anti-immigration absolutist who ran for an open seat in a district that borders Mexico and sees more illegal immigrant traffic than perhaps any other Congressional seat in the nation.

These Democratic gains came in solidly Republican districts that President Bush won easily two years ago. Mr. Graf was seeking to fill the slot now held by Representative Jim Kolbe, an 11-term Republican who's retiring. Mr. Kolbe is a supporter of the comprehensive approach to immigration reform favored by the President but spurned by GOP restrictionists. It would combine more border security with a guest-worker program for newcomers and a path to legal status for undocumented workers already here. Mr. Kolbe won 60% of the vote in 2004. Mr. Graf was trounced, 54%-42%, on Tuesday, after having won a primary against a Republican with views similar to Mr. Kolbe's who could have held the seat.

Indiana incumbent John Hostettler, who chairs a House subcommittee on immigration and is one of his party's most outspoken restrictionists, managed to win just 39% of the vote in his losing bid for a seventh term. Mr. Hostettler's district is so Republican that John Kerry won only 38% of the vote there in 2004.

Colorado Congressman Bob Beauprez made opposition to illegal aliens the centerpiece of his gubernatorial bid. He lost to his Democratic opponent by 15 percentage points. The GOP candidate who ran to replace Mr. Beauprez in the House and appropriated much of his anti-immigration rhetoric also lost by nearly as much.

GOP Senate candidates who thought immigration would put them over the top were disappointed as well. The issue didn't help the cause of challengers like Tom Kean in New Jersey and Mike McGavick in Washington state, both of whom tried to make illegal aliens an issue down the stretch but still lost to vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Nor was it the silver bullet for Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum, who fell 59%-41%. Senator Santorum spent the summer trying to link Mexican immigrants to the Iraq war. By the end of the campaign, he was accusing anyone who favored comprehensive immigration reform of being soft on terrorism.

In addition to losing seats, however, the GOP's restrictionist strategy has reversed significant gains among Latino voters. Exit polls show that 70% of Hispanics voted Democratic in House races this year. Meanwhile, some 29% voted Republican -- an eight-percentage-point drop from the 2002 midterm, and down 15 points from the 44% won by President Bush in 2004 (which had improved from 31% in 2000).

The GOP has a long history of fumbling the immigrant issue. And Mr. Bush, a former border-state governor who knows the issue well, has wisely been trying to steer his party away from repeating those mistakes. Mr. Bush might yet save his party from losing generations of Latinos the way its xenophobic message in the early 20th century turned away Irish, Italian and Asian voters for decades. He told reporters this week that immigration is an area where "I believe we can find some common ground with the Democrats."

We hope his party lets him, having learned the hard way not to follow Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and the editors of National Review magazine down the garden path to defeat.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dublin's Finest Son: Cops won't hassle immigrants on status

Members of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform recently attended a hearing with Miami Police Chief and fellow Irish immigrant John Timoney, where the Chief vowed that immigrants would not be hassled for documentation by local law enforcement officials unless they were being investigated for criminal activity.

Florida Delegate, Lisa Handley, asked Chief Timoney about a similar directive he had in place during his tenure as the head of the Police Department in Philadelphia. Chief Timoney told Lisa that Miami already had such a directive in place (dating back to 2002). He added that he and his staff were working to update the directive to respond to the needs of undocumented immigrants who might be reluctant to report crimes for fear of drawing local law enforcement attention to their immigration status. This fear prevents the undocumented from reporting street crime, worksite exploitation, and domestic violence against women.

For a link to a Miami Heral article discussing the hearing, click here.

Chief Timoney graciously posed for photos with members of the ILIR after the hearing (seen above Dermot Handley, Jr., Mairead Handley, Lisa Handley, Chief John Timoney, Dermot Handley, Elizabeth Handley).

some immigration reform headlines:

Bush sees new chance on immigration reform
President Bush said Wednesday that prospects for overhauling immigration laws have improved with the Democratic gains in the midterm election, holding out the hope of bipartisan cooperation.

``I think we have a good chance,'' Bush said at a news conference. ``It's a vital issue . . . on which we can find some common ground with Democrats.''
For the full article click here.

Much work awaits 110th Congress
With Democrats having captured the House of Representatives and poised to take control of the Senate, immigration reform advocates are raising their hopes that a comprehensive, bipartisan reform bill will begin to take shape when the new Congress convenes in January.

A reform package that will include relief for thousands of undocumented Irish will require new bills in both the House and Senate and the kind of bipartisan input that was evident in the crafting of the McCain/Kennedy bill earlier this year.

President Bush, meanwhile, has indicated his willingness to support reform measures beyond just the securing of the nation's porous borders and a bipartisan package that will not tempt his veto pen should now be a strong likelihood in 2007.
For the full article in the Irish Echo, click here.

'No' to immigration hard-liners
Arizona voters chose candidates who support comprehensive reform Tuesday. Will Washington follow their lead?

McCain, the state's senior senator, wasn't actually on the ballot. Rather, candidates across the state campaigned for or against an idea that McCain and a few other Arizonans in Congress have championed: a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that provides more visas for guest workers, modifies the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country and improves border security.
For the full article click here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

from "Immigration and the 110th Congress" by Gregory Suskind:

Expect comprehensive immigration reform legislation to be re-introduced early in the next Congress. The legislation could move quickly since Democrats will be able to get the bills easily passed in friendlier subcommittees and enough pro-immigration Republicans should sign on to easily pass the bills. President Bush has strongly pushed for a comprehensive immigration bill and Democratic leaders will likely be interested in passing something quickly that will not be vetoed by the President. And the President is likely to see immigration reform as one of the few areas where he can enjoy success legislatively. It seems ironic that it will take a Democratic Congress to give Bush this victory.

For the full article, click here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Time to Solve Immigration

The following excerpt is from an article by Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek:

...Polling on immigration has been remarkably consistent over the past few years. The American public wants tighter enforcement of the laws but also realizes that the system now in place is unworkable. Consistent two-thirds majorities favor a comprehensive overhaul that would include tighter enforcement, but also guest-worker visas and a path to citizenship for illegal workers already in the country. This compromise package has the potential to be realized after the elections. After all, how many issues are there today on which George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Ted Kennedy and Rudy Giuliani all agree?

The great obstacle to immigration reform has been a noisy minority. Only about 20 percent of voters, mostly but not exclusively Republican, are dead set against a guest-worker program as well as any path to citizenship for illegals. But they are active primary voters, which means that their influence has been vastly enhanced (and exaggerated) during the campaign season. Come Tuesday, the party will be over. CNN's Lou Dobbs and his angry band of xenophobes will continue to rail, but a new Congress, with fewer Republicans and no impending primary elections, would make the climate much less vulnerable to the tyranny of the minority.

On the contrary, it will make enormous political sense for all sides to come together and cut a deal...

Comprehensive reform is the only way forward. Enforcement only or first will not work. Laws that pay no heed to the forces of supply and demand end up as costly failures. (Think of Prohibition.) The good news is that this is a rare case where good policy and good politics could come together.

For the full article click here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

2006 New York City Marathon

Over the past year, the struggle to for comprehensive immigration reform has seemed like a marathon. As you can see, the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and its many supporters are race ready and headed for the finish line.

Friday, November 03, 2006

from a report by Marijke van der Meer of Radio Netherlands

"...the enormous needs and potential of the American labour market are completely out of sync with the small number of visas allocated for legal immigration every year. Steve McSweeney represents the 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants who are demanding reform so they can travel and go home to visit their families.
"[We want to] contribute, serving in the army and all the Irish want to do is help build this country. Why is it so difficult? Because out of one million visas allocated last year, Irish were granted 160 visas. So immigration reform is a necessity now."

For the full article click here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"The Immigration Facade," by Ruben Navarette:

It's mind-boggling that folks at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue could spend so much time and energy over the last five years debating immigration reform, yet still manage to steer clear of some of the touchier issues involved.

Members of Congress were content to huddle around President Bush last week as he signed a bill calling for 700 miles of fencing on the U.S.-Mexican border. The photo-op was intended to fool us into thinking that something has been accomplished in the area of border security.

What was accomplished was very little. Even if lawmakers had come up with all the funding to pay for the fencing -- and they didn't -- barriers only squeeze more illegal immigrants through those parts of the border that aren't fenced off. In the 1990s, crackdowns in El Paso and San Diego sent millions of illegal immigrants to crossing points in the Arizona desert.

The country would have been better served by an honest discussion of matters indispensable to any meaningful debate of immigration policy:

To read the full article, click here.