Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More details about immigration bill emerge

I wish I knew a canonical source for this. Maybe that's no accident; the Senate's job is probably easier without full disclosure of the draft bill's contents!

Something that really struck me about reporting today was the plan to provide 400,000 guest worker visas per year. That may not sound like a lot, but it's about what new illegal immigration is each year. That is, 400,000 more folks come without papers each year.

I think senators are right to be concerned that such a program, with required returns of 1 year in-between stays of 2 years, might really create a two-class society. But it seems to me that we already have something like that, by default.

To me, the most nebulous portion of all this is the terms of the "amnesty" (don't say that word too loudly) for the 12 million undocumented folks here already. David Brooks writes of "stiff fines" these people would face. Many undocumented immigrants already pay taxes, so it's hard to know what these fines might be. It's still unclear to me whether illegals currently in the country would have to return home or what.