S.1348 is likely dead for the 110th Congress. Immigration reform legislation will not be passed by Congress before 2009, when Democrats will hopefully have a much larger Senate majority, thus enabling them to enact just reform in U.S.immigration laws.
My Vote on S.1348: NO
After reading about a heated verbal scuffle yesterday between Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), I realized that I, too, support NO on S.1348.
Sen. Obama courageously orated as he introduced an amendment to change a key provision of S.1348:
"... parents of U.S. citizens would no longer be counted as immediate families... most parents seeking to join their children and grandchildren in the United States would be denied green cards. The rest of the current family preferences – siblings, adult children, and many parents -- would be eviscerated.
"This is not who we are as a country... Should those without graduate degrees who spoke Italian or Polish or German, instead of English, have been turned back at Ellis Island?... How many of our ancestors would have been allowed to enter the U.S. under this new system?
"We are Americans. We do not have a caste or class based society, and we do not need a caste or class based immigration system.”
"Graham loudly accused Obama of undermining a delicate agreement whose advocates have shown political courage...
'You're wrong,' Graham said. 'So when you're out on the campaign trail, my friend, tell them about why we can't come together. This is why.' "
AP noted that Sen. Graham supports Republican John McCain in the 2008 race. McCain is a co-author of S.1348.
Sen. Obama's amendment was defeated by a vote of 55 to 42.
Cons Outwiegh the Pros of S.1348
The "cons" of S.1348 are numerous, and they are both substantial and cruel.
And the "cons" of S.1348 are xenophobic and aimed at establishing a permanent, low-wage labor force wiithout rights, protections or even families. And the "cons" serve to permanently separate immigrant families, even those of U.S. citizens.
The key provisions for the one solid "pro" of S.1348, an earned path to legal residency for millions of immigrants illegally present in the in U.S., were littered with obstacles making that earned path almost impossible to achieve.
Democrats Would Have Regretted S.1348
I believe that Democrats would have come to regret passage of S.1348, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, just as they do of the No Child Left Behind Act and of the USA Patriot Act.
All three acts are extraordinarily complex and lengthy, and are riddled with Bush administration special-interest favors and cleverly hidden political agendas. The U.S. doesn't need another Bushian bureaucratic mess on its hands.
But more importantly, S.1348 is morally wrong and a radical departure from the democratic principles upon which the U.S. was founded.
As the New York Times editorialized:
"The Senate bill is repellent in many ways. Its fragrant blossoms are grafted to poisonous roots. But it is also bipartisan, and there lies the kernel of possibility that may ultimately redeem it...
"Americans, meanwhile, should look closely at what they have been offered, and to imagine what a strange country this would be if the bill passed as is...
"We would rattle around in our fortified chunk of North America, bristling at our southern border — nothing is stopping that process — as we check our turnstiles carefully for those bright enough to merit entry, bask in the labor of a churning class of serfs, check people’s ID’s, raid workplaces and fill our detention centers.
The antiamnesty fringe will be pleased with itself, but it won’t be an America the rest of us will want to brag about."
So liberals, here's the plan: Elect a Democratic president and a strongly Democratic Congress in 2008. Then we can pass genuine and just immigration reform legislation that reflects the democratic principles of our great country.
God bless America, land of the free!
Barack Obama's Courageous Speech on Immigration Reform
Pros & Cons of S.1348, Immigration Reform Act of 2007
AP MyWay, June 7, 2007: Immigration Bill Fails Key Senate Test
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 7, 2007: Obama, Graham trade barbs in Senate