Friday, April 12, 2013

Chuck Grassley's Immigration Reform Questions

Chuck Grassley, speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, asks a series of (mostly) worthwhile questions to the Gang of Eight redesigning the immigration system up at the Fortress of Solitude, the Batcave, or some such similar undisclosed location. Bookmark this speech. If the most of the questions are not answered in the coming days, the reform is intended to fail (either by being ineffective in preventing further illegal immigration, or in passing in the first place).

Here they are:
Is this bill enforcement first or legalization first?
What is the expected cost? How will it be paid for?
Will the bill ensure that undocumented immigrants don't get public benefits?
Will the bill move us closer to a merit-based system?
Will the bill be an avenue for labor unions to push Davis Bacon?
What are the concrete metrics used to measure border security? Who will determine that these metrics are met? Will it be Congress, a commission or a Secretary who doesn't think that the border matters?
Will the entry/exit system Congress mandated in 1996 finally be implemented? Will it be a part of the trigger?
Will the language be tight enough to prevent criminals--those with DUIs and other aggravated felonies from being eligible for legalization?
Will individuals already apprehended, or people in removal proceedings be eligible or even allowed to apply for the legalization program?
Will the bill ensure that the legalization program is covered by beneficiaries, and not taxpayers?
What will happen to individuals who do not come forward and register or get provisional status?
What will happen if the border is never secured? What will be the consequences, including for those who have already received registered provisional status?
Will the agency in charge of immigration benefits be able to handle the additional workload while also preventing fraud and abuse?
Will the bill encourage cooperation between the Federal Government and State and locals to enforce the laws?
How will the bill ensure that ICE agents are allowed to do their job?
Will E-Verify be mandatory for all businesses? Will there be exceptions to the rule? Will the bill require all businesses to use E-Verify now or will it drag out the requirement even though it is ready to go nationwide? Will the bill exempt or preserve State laws that require E-Verify?
What are the concessions to the unions and to the business community?
Will the new temporary worker program, which is a new model encompassing instant portability, truly work?
How will employers be held responsible for the visa holders, if at all? Is the new temporary worker program truly temporary? Will they get a special green card process?
Will the bill exempt certain industries, such as construction, from this new visa program?
Will the 11 million people here illegally get priority in this new temporary worker program? Will they be able to use it?
Will the bill require employers to first recruit and hire Americans?
I do not necessarily believe any legislation must answer Grassley's questions in the way he wants them answered. But I do believe the questions are important, and they should be answered in full before the bill is rushed through. A bipartisan bill for a major reform needs to be proposed and debated in good faith before  it actually can pass, and the GOP senators and house members who want to line up behind a bill needs to have these questions answered in the sunshine, or they will be primaried if they vote for the legislation.

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