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President Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform, defeated in June, will make a second appearance this week when the Senate takes up various pro-amnesty amendments submitted to the Department of Defense funding bill, H.R. 1585, which is scheduled for debate.
While not “comprehensive” reform, the latest initiative attempts to pass key provisions of the earlier immigration measure piece by piece by attaching amendments to unrelated bills, a process critics characterize as “stealth.”
Sen. Dick Durbin
Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has re-introduced another version of his “Dream Act,” this time as an amendment (SA 2237) to the DOD funding bill.
The Dream Act would grant citizenship status to certain illegal aliens under 16 years of age who are pursuing college degrees and would allow them to receive in-state college tuition rates on an equal basis with U.S. citizens.
Steve Elliot, president of Grassfire.org, told WND his group plans to launch next week a nationwide awareness campaign to voice opposition to the Durbin amendment.
According to Numbers USA, the Dream Act amendment allows an illegal alien to remain in the U.S. on a track headed for citizenship, provided:
1. the illegal alien can demonstrate continuous presence in the U.S. for five years and was not yet 16 years old upon initial entry;
2. the illegal alien is of “good moral character” and is not inadmissible on criminal grounds or because the illegal alien is a national security risk; an
3. the illegal alien has been admitted to an institution of higher education, has attained a high school diploma, or has obtained a GED in the U.S.
Critics charge the Dream Act is a free pass to millions of illegal aliens, especially given the rampant documentation and identity theft fraud accompanying illegal immigration for decades.
One set of amendments that won’t be debated are three filed last spring by Sen. John Cornyn, R.-Texas. SA 2140, SA 2141, and 2142 would greatly expand H-1B visas, granting U.S. corporations an increased number of immigrants, largely from India, to compete on a low-cost basis with U.S. college-trained graduates with comparable technical skills.
Cornyn co-chairs the U.S.-India Caucus in the Senate along with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
Sen. Cornyn’s office assured WND yesterday the senator has no current intention of offering these amendments at this time to the DOD funding bill being debated this week.
“It’s getting late and it’s time to pass the Department of Defense funding bill,” a spokesman for Cornyn’s office told WND, “but we don’t see the advantage of tacking on a lot of extraneous measures to the bill that have nothing to do with national defense.”
Cornyn’s H-1B amendments would have increased by several hundred thousand the number of technically-trained immigrants allowed to work in the U.S., despite evidence many H-1B visa workers remain in the U.S. after their visas have expired.
An article written by globalization-advocates Kenneth Scheve, a political science professor at Yale, and Matthew Slaughter, an economics professor at Dartmouth, in the July/August issue of the Council on Foreign Relations magazine, Foreign Affairs, worries that recently released data will cause a backlash against “free trade” measures, given the adverse impact on U.S. earnings since George W. Bush took office as president.
Scheve and Slaughter cite U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics studies demonstrating 96.6 percent of all U.S. workers – including college educated and technically trained-workers – have lost real wages since 2000.
The only wage earners who have gained real wages since 2000 are a “thriving elite” of CEOs who head multi-national corporations and the MBAs, Ph.D.s, and lawyers who advise these multi-nationals, according the Bureau data.
WND reported last week Cornyn’s offer of a side-by-side amendment to defeat an amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., to remove funding from the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Transportation appropriations bill for the department’s trucking demonstration project to allow Mexican trucks on U.S. highways.
During the debate, Cornyn offered a mistaken argument from the Senate floor that the U.S. had a “treaty obligation” under the North American Free Trade Act to allow Mexican trucks into the U.S.
The Senate never passed NAFTA as a treaty. Lacking the two-thirds vote needed for passage of a treaty in the Senate, President Clinton submitted NAFTA to Congress as a law.