Immigration bill does not help immigrants
On June 26, in a historic bipartisan vote, the United States Senate passed the long-awaited, comprehensive immigration bill.
It is clear that this is anything but amnesty. Supported by commercial interests, it does serve their needs - a cheap and legal workforce.
There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. An estimated 85 percent of those 12 million are employed, and a vast majority pay taxes and Social Security. They will never realize any benefits from Social Security because they pay in under a false Social Security number.
We cannot deport 12 million people, and we cannot imprison them all. Our society and economy must integrate these people into the community. The vast majority of their population do not mingle with mainstream society. They work and return to their homes or communities, and they try to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Yes, their children attend our schools, and their families receive their medical care from public facilities or institutions, but few receive food assistance or housing assistance. They are Catholic by faith, do not believe in abortion, and there is no epidemic of illegal voting by illegal immigrants.
These people are an indispensable part of our economy, our tax system and Social Security system. Yet we oppose amnesty because we do not want to reward their illegal behavior.
This faux bill passed by the United States Senate is not for the benefit of these 12 million souls. It is for the benefit of those monied interest that have long taken advantage of the economic hardship of these people. Those interests feared that the laws already on the books would be enforced, and they would face fines and criminal charges for employing these people.
We hear the hue and cry of the conservatives saying no immigration without increased border security. This is pork barrel politics at its worst. Who stands to benefit from these billions of dollars in expenditures to build a 750-mile fence and increase border security by 19,000 agents (probably private security)?
We hear, "If we don't increase border security and at the same time offer this 'path' to citizenship, they will come in droves." Those in the U.S. illegally but seeking U.S. citizenship must wait 13 years and pay thousands of dollars in fines and other withholdings while being barred from receiving those benefits. Those that want only a work permit have the same restraints and must expose themselves to all but a body cavity search once every six months - hardly an enticement to cross the border.
Once again, the American people are being told that this is historic legislation and benefits those millions of souls who are contributing to our society and economy. There is no "forgiveness" in this bill for anyone but those who utilize this huge and inexpensive labor pool - certainly not those millions of people who just want to work.
How we treat an entire population of people reflects on us as a society and all of the dreams and hopes embodied in our Constitution. Let us not compromise those ideals. In reality, we are creating an entire population of indentured servants.
G.P. Hardy III is a Victoria attorney who has practiced in Victoria for four years. He practices law with his wife, Sandra McKenzie, and has handled a number of civil rights cases, including the case of Randall Webster, which was made into the movie "The Killing of Randy Webster."