What does the new immigration proposal in Washington have in common with Obamacare?
Besides the fact the pushers behind both movements are mostly liberal Democrats or liberal Republicans who are trumpeting “rights” after every campaign stop but not really addressing “responsibility”?
The exemptions. The loopholes. The options.
That’s according to a number of critics who – now that there’s been enough time to dig into the fine print of the hundreds of pages – are uncovering some interesting provisions.
For one, Andrew Stiles at National Review Online explains that the way the bill is written, it could allow known members of criminal gangs to become “immigrants” and then quickly “legal residents.”
“The bill states that illegal immigrants who have been convicted of three or more misdemeanor offenses on three separate dates (not including minor traffic violations) are ineligible for provisionary status. However, the secretary ‘may waive’ that requirement based on a fairly broad set of criteria …”
Those qualifiers in no way require that such waivers be in America’s best interests, being based on “humanitarian” reasons, family members, or even “otherwise.”
Obamacare, as people now two years into the law have discovered, contains probably tens of thousands of requirements – and just about as many exemptions and loopholes. Hundreds of exemptions have been granted by the White House to its requirements based on subject, membership or simply a whim.
Stiles reports that the 2,700-page Obamacare grants huge authority to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – with her long history of radical support for the abortion industry – to classify, determine, order and set rules.
The 844-page immigration proposal does the same – only for Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security secretary.
“The … bill contains 129 instances of what the DHS secretary ‘shall’ do to implement its myriad provisions, 102 mentions of what she ‘may’ do, and 35 cases in which implementation will be based on what the secretary “determines,” he said.
Stiles explains about the gang issue.
“The proposed law stipulates that prospective immigrants determined to be involved in gang-related activity are inadmissible to country, and that illegal immigrants already living here would be ineligible to receive legal status. This would not only apply to individuals who have been convicted of a gang-related offense, but also to those who ‘willingly participated in a criminal street gang with knowledge that such participation promoted or furthered the illegal activity of the gang.’
“Such individuals (non-convict gang members) could still achieve legal status, however, if the DHS secretary grants them a waiver. All they would be required to do is ‘renounce’ their gang affiliation.”
Neil Munro of the Daily Caller wrote recently that there are 400 waivers and related provisions in the plan.
“The document mentions ‘discretion’ or ‘discretionary’ 41 times. It mentions ‘judge’ or ‘judges’ 73 times, and mentions ‘secretary’ 1,018 times, normally as the people who decide whether to apply a waiver, exemption, determination, or exception.”
And not even the lawyers may know what all the provisions mean. For example, one states, “EXCEPTION – The secretary shall permit registered provisional immigrants to apply for an adjustment to lawful permanent resident status if – (i)(I) litigation or a force majeure has prevented one or more of the conditions described in clauses (i) through (iv) of subparagraph (A) from being implemented.”
At the advocate for legal immigration NumbersUSA, a question was raised: Even if the law provided something specific, would it be enforced?
“It would be ridiculous for Republicans to actually believe that the Obama administration is going to uphold its end of any compromise,” spokeswoman Rosemary Jenks said. “If Obama does not believe the existing laws apply to him, why would be believe a new compromise applies to him?”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., also has raised the issue. He delivered a letter to Congress from members of law enforcement who said the bill simply has too much power for political players.
“Congress can and must take decisive steps to limit the discretion of political appointees and empower [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and CBP to perform their respective missions and enforce the laws enacted by Congress. Rather than limiting the power of those political appointees within DHS, S. 744 provides them with nearly unlimited discretion, which will serve only to further cripple the law enforcement missions of these agencies,” the letter said.
The result is that members of the GOP are offering amendments that would close some of those open doors.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has made a suggestion that would add the requirement for effective control of the nation’s border before all of the loopholes, exemptions, citizenship giveaways and other factors would come into play.
It has been supported by one of the Senate immigration plan’s authors, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
He said while the immigration bill has been described as “the toughest immigration enforcement provisions ever seriously considered in Congress,” senators had worries only high-risk sectors of the border were addressed.
“Senators were able to identify ways to make the border-enforcement more specific and effective,” Rubio said. “The Grassley Amendment strengthens the border security triggers in the bill by making the triggers dependent on effective control of the entire border, not simply high-risk sectors.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a rising sun on the GOP horizon known for his willingness to enter any debate and explain what he thinks is right and needed, added another suggestion.
In fact, he's proposed an amendment that would disallow illegals now in the United States from ever earning citizenship.
The strategy could allow them to be "open" and part of society, but they would not be allowed to become part of the voting population, which is a key component of the Democrats' strategy for adding tens of millions of Democrat voters to state ballot rolls over the next few years.
The "bipartisan" plan from the Senate would put those millions of illegal aliens on a path to full citizenship, but Cruz said it's important for the U.S. to get a handle on the problem of illegal aliens.
He said his suggestions to strengthen border security are realistic.
"America is a nation of immigrants, built by immigrants and we need to honor that heritage by fixing our broken immigration system, while upholding the rule of law and championing legal immigration," he said.
Cruz has said the American people are focusing on fixing the broken immigration system that has allowed those millions of illegal aliens move into the U.S.
"They want it to pass in a way that fixes the problem and I am hopeful the majority … will work, as I trust it will in good faith, to improve this bill and consider amendments that would make real changes to this bill."
He said as the bill already is written, there are only "toothless metrics" for enforcement, and it would be a "virtual certainty that if this bill were passed a few years hence we would be having yet more hearings discussing why the border is still not secure and the problem of illegal immigration remains."
Stiles noted that there already is a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its present handling of illegal aliens through executive orders.
In that case, the government simply is following an executive order from Obama that tells agents not to bother with some legitimate deportation cases.
Democrats, led by Vice President Joe Biden, say immigration reform would accomplish the goal of granting dignity to the "11 million undocumented men, women and children [who would be able] to come out of the shadows and be full participants in American life."