Silver Spring The long awaited immigration “framework” for a bill to bring what was hoped would be comprehensive immigration reform made its debut in a late afternoon op-ed by Republican Senator Graham (NC) and Democratic Senator Schumer (NY). A woman working next to me on turnout for the Sunday rally and march for immigration reform turned to me and said essentially, “what’s a feeling beneath ‘underwhelmed?’” With more eye rolls and grimaces she finally mustered enough to say, “well, I guess some kind of bill is better than no bill at all.” Indeed, true enough, but…no one is going to feel any “love” in this bill as it stands now, so where will this bill find the passion sufficient to propel it to passage?
Here is the highlight reel: biometric cards identifying all workers in the USA; more enforcement of workplaces and the border; green lights for green cards for any tech-science types that we can poach from foreign lands after they have gotten doctorates from US universities; some bungee cord programs allowing corporations to snap blue-collar workers back and forth across the border as needed; and, finally, a “survival of the fittest” hard road to citizenship for some of the 12+ million people now in-country if they are willing – and able – to (1) say they are sorry for having come, (2) pay back taxes and fines, (3) prove proficiency in English, and (4) endure the wait at the “back of the line” for citizenship, oh, and needless to say, if they have any record at all, have ever been in gangs, or anything like that, then, so long! All of that is the upshot. No coddling of immigrants and undocumented workers can be found in this framework, and that is the point after all.