Sunday, September 03, 2006
Tim Walberg on Immigration
This post relies heavily on Migra Matters: Progressive Immigration Reform, a blog dedicated to analyzing illegal immigration and the politics surrounding it. My selective quoting and not-so-witty commentary doesn't come close to the comprehensive information collected at that site, and anyone interested in the issue should spend a great deal of time there.
We all know Tim Walberg (Radical Conservative) is anti-abortion, anti-marriage equality, and anti-taxation. But what about the divisive issue of 2006, immigration?
The Adrian Daily Telegram reported this:
WALBERG: Says the proposal passed by the U.S. House of Representatives has been the closest to his ideal plan. First, Walberg says, borders need to be secured. No amnesty will be offered, but the legal immigration process must remain open. Immigrants must have clear documentation. “As we find them, then we must deal with the illegals that are here and deal with the employers that knowingly hire illegal aliens,” he says.It sounds straightforward enough. Secure borders, but allow legal immigration. Then we "deal with the illegals" and their employers. He says it's all put together in the proposal passed already by the US House of Representatives, but that stalled in the Senate and the White House.
This is what the House bill would do (courtesy of Migra Matters, an immigration reform blog):
It would require the border patrol to pick up and deport, without any administrative hearing, anyone within 100 miles of the border that an agent thinks is an undocumented immigrant who has been present less than 14 days. How the officers are to determine the legal status of the deportees is not addressed in the legislation. The de facto result of this legislation is that anyone within 100 miles of the border (north or south) who is suspected of being here illegally could by deported without any sort of hearing or reviews.Anyone can recognize the danger in this-- an agent's own prejudices and suspicions could lead to legal residents being deported without an opportunity to argue their case. But what about the rest of the bill?
The mandatory detentions?
Under current law, individuals who arrive without documents, including asylum-seekers, are subject to mandatory detention. Again this applies mainy to those arriving at airports or by sea. 60% of detainees are held in local jails under contract to the federal government, where they are generally not segregated from the criminal population even if they are asylum-seekers and others with no criminal record.Any non-citizen, not just those without documentation, detained for any reason ends up in jail. That's quite a friendly welcome to the land of the free.
When the bill was passed, a great deal of attention focused on the provision making illegal immigration a felony. Many, I'm sure, would argue in support of that tough-on-crime stance, since they are, after all, breaking the law. Right? Well...
As defined in the bill it includes any violation, even technical, of any immigration law or regulation. Even if the immigrant was to fall “out of status” unintentionally, or do to paperwork delays. In essence, the bill makes every immigration violation, however minor, into a federal crime. As drafted, the bill also makes the new crime of “illegal presence” an “aggravated felony” for immigration purposes.(Emphasis added)
How is an "aggravated felony" usually defined? Here's a sample, but a full definition is available if you follow the link.
I'm a little old-fashioned, but I never thought of paperwork delays as quite this serious.
Migra Matters continues...
HR 4437 would permit indefinite detention of an increased broad class of non-citizens, including:
Immigration reform is a serious issue facing the country today, and ought to be addressed. But the bill that Tim Walberg supports doesn't address the issue. It creates new standards for punishing immigrants without regard for guilt or innocence, and gives broad new powers to border patrol agents-- powers that police and the military aren't trusted with.
And on top of that, it counts on the government always having its information organized. Is that something you'd bet money on?
The problem with all of HR 4437 (outside of its possible unconstitutionality, racist overtones, and a lack of judicial checks and balances) is that all of these new programs are predicated on the government having a reliable, accurate and easily accessible information management system to ensure that those who don't "belong" here are kept out, while those who do belong are not penalized.This is the kind of immigration reform Tim Walberg wants. Is it really what Michigan's 7th District wants?
If a Border Agent could expell, withoiut legal review, someone he thinks is an illegal who has been here less than 14 days then whaty is to stop said agent from expelling citizens? What is to stop said agent from expelling someone who pissed him off?Post a Comment
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