U.S. Senate Watch Continues in the Land of "OZ"
By Carolyn Cormey
Smoke and fire continue as special effects in D.C., a place that often shares way more in common with the Land of OZ than just having two letters in their names. The huge 2007 Comprehensive Immigration Bill, providing immediate legal status (amnesty) to just about every one of the 12 - 20 million illegal aliens in our country was introduced on Monday, June 5th. On that same day before most of the senators had their first look at the Bill and certainly no time to read the 380 pages - the senators voted to severely limit the legislative process needed to fully examine this Bill for unintended consequences. This vote to limit or end the debate process is called "Cloture." The Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat) had planned for the secretly written Immigration Bill to be introduced on Monday, call for an immediate "Cloture Vote" and rush the Bill through for a final approval vote by Friday of that same week. He "kindly" allowed a few more days after receiving complaints from a number of senators and ended up allowing a total of eight senate working days before he called for a final Cloture Vote to end debate and amendments, leading to a final Bill vote. The Cloture vote failed because some senators actually read the Bill and found the huge gaping holes in it leading to huge, unintended consequences. They thought they needed more than just eight days to try to fix the bill (if that was even possible). Senator Reid pulled the Immigration Bill from the Senate Floor as he had threatened to do when he did not get his Cloture Vote approved.
The Bill is now on the back-burner - but far from dead. Certain senators are visiting talk shows to breathe life back into this Bill and President Bush is "visiting" the Hill to join the Senate Leaders in both political parties to exert as much "influence" as possible, twisting the arms of senators to change their votes and just vote to pass this seriously flawed Bill. We are being assured that this Bill will be back very soon with the votes to pass it.
Apparently both our Florida senators thought that eight days was sufficient time to review, work out the kinks and amend this Bill so they voted in favor of Senate Leader's Cloture Vote. No - sir, our Florida senator's arms will not need twisting. They are fully "on board" for this latest 2007 seriously flawed Amnesty Bill, just as they were for the 2006 Amnesty Bill that passed in the Senate but not the House last year.
As the President and Senate Leaders join together in a renewed effort to ramrod this Bill through to passage, we need to ask them to stop for a moment of sanity to review what just happened with the Border Protection Plan, a law passed by Congress over two years ago to require U.S. Citizens to show their passports when re-entering the United States from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Homeland Security, along with the associated government agencies knew two years ahead of time when this program would be implemented AND still had to suspend it and delay it because they were simply not prepared to handle the number of people who applied for passports. With this Passport Program we are talking about U.S. citizens with easy- to- verify U.S. documentation and our government agencies still could not handle the load.
Knowing about this failure has apparently not registered a warning with our U.S. senators. Can our senators explain to us (or even to themselves) how our broken I.N.S. (who cannot even track current Visa over-stays and who is still in overload, working on backlogs that should have been completed years ago) can handle the 24-hour background checks and the volume of paperwork involved integrating 12-20 million illegal aliens into their broken I.N.S. systems and then into our country?
The delay in implementing the Passport Program just causes U.S. citizens inconvenience and vulnerability but the passage of this Bill has immediate and serious ramifications that government failure in processing can neither delay nor undo. Immediately after the passage of this Bill, millions and millions of illegal aliens receive legal status and we are onto a pathway that cannot be reversed. If the I.N.S. is unprepared, the mandated completion of background checks within 24-hours become just a quick look at whatever the illegal alien brings into the office - THEN - the illegal alien is here, legally. If later it is discovered that he is a terrorist that slipped through the broken system or even if he was not as he represented himself to be, millions and millions more have to be spent in legally defending him because when our government gave him legal status, they were not prepared to do the job right in the first place.
The Bill says little or nothing about setting aside and funding the huge amounts of money that will be needed to prepare all the various government agencies, welfare programs and retirement programs, the huge staffing increases that will be needed and time to be trained to affectively handle the integration of 12-20 million illegal aliens into their antiquated computer systems. It says nothing about fixing Medicare and our senators know that benefits will need to be cut and cut again for citizens beginning with the Baby Boomers who have been paying into these systems all their lives - before even one illegal alien is added, let alone 12-20 million plus their "immediate family members." The Bill says nothing about providing huge amounts of money to fund emergency health care facilities that are tasked with handling the health emergencies of those 47 million citizens who have no health insurance - getting them additional funds to provide for 12 - 20 million more people.
The Bill says nothing about the cost of Social Security benefits for this many people but, the Heritage Foundation has gone to a lot of work to tell us that the estimated cost to cover the retirement benefits of just 12 million (12,000,000) illegal aliens will be 2 trillion, 600 million dollars ($2,600,000,000) if this amnesty bill becomes law. Since our government has absolutely no idea on how many illegal aliens are in our country - the costs would be significantly more if there are 20 million. Perhaps our senators are "Wizards" and will be able to conjure up the money but I fear that much like the Wizard of Oz, it is all show and no go.
Stand up and call your senators. Then - call your local newspapers. Don't leave it to "others" because sadly, the "others" are leaving it to you. It is your children and their children who will be picking up the bills on this so it is up to you to make your voice heard on the behalf of your children.
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