The current debate in Washington D.C. over so-called “Immigration Reform” highlights the failure of our federal government. Instead of enforcing the current laws passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996, the current Congress seems determined to vote on new laws they haven’t even taken the time to read. It is government at its worst.
As Georgia legislators, we must deal with the failure of the federal government to secure our borders and enforce our current laws. It is incomprehensible that Congress would propose another amnesty plan after the dismal failure of the 1986 amnesty that has led us to this point.
We strongly urge the U.S. Congress to heed the findings and recommendations of the Jordan Commission on Immigration Reform of 1995. Congresswoman Jordan, a civil rights pioneer and Congressional Medal of Honor winner, led a multi-year Blue Ribbon Commission to determine the problems and potential remedies of our illegal immigration crises. If Congress wants to find an answer, they should follow the lead of Congresswoman Jordan.
We further call on Congress to fulfill the most basic responsibility of creating law — debate and discussion. Recent reports suggest the “compromise” bill will go directly to the Senate floor. It is estimated to be hundreds of pages in length. This suggests that our Senators will most likely vote on a bill they have never read, and a measure that has never been fully vetted in committee hearings.
The Senate has not even taken the time to determine the costs of such a “comprehensive” plan. According to expert testimony from a preliminary study to be given to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee by Robert Rector of the highly respected Heritage Foundation, the cost of amnesty and earned citizenship for just 7.9 million amnesty recipients would be $2.4 trillion, a cost that must be born by the American taxpayer. It is unconscionable that any legislator could vote for a measure of this magnitude without knowing and debating all the costs involved.
We denounce any effort to create a so-called “Z-Visa” and touchback provision, which grants amnesty to those who have violated the laws of the United States. Such a plan gives preference to those who have violated the law over those who have followed the law and patiently await legal entrance into the United States.
We reject any idea, specifically those included in HR 1645 and S. 1348, that would effectively abolish the borders of the United States by eliminating the necessity to have a visa to travel anywhere on the North American continent.
We understand that the amnesty of 1986 proved beyond all doubt that the only real solution to solving the illegal immigration and illegal employment crisis in our nation is to secure American borders and hold employers accountable for violation of the law. We do not so cavalierly dismiss an employer’s violation of tax or pollution laws, yet somehow we are led to believe we should accept that a violation of immigration law should go unpunished.
Sadly, we have little faith in the current administration’s dedication to certify border security or operational control. Almost one-year has passed since President Bush signed a border security bill calling for the creation of an almost 700-mile physical barrier. To date only two miles have been completed.
It is our belief that no responsible elected official would even consider the fraud that is being offered as “comprehensive reform” in the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock)
Chairman, Georgia Senate Immigration Reform Caucus
Rep. John Lunsford (R-McDonough)
Chairman, Georgia House of Representatives Immigration Reform Caucus