Bill considered by the Senate, the "Grand Bargain",
1639, raised a number of
significant issues. First and foremost was whether it was
practical. We have had a number of immigration reforms in the
past that made perfect intellectual sense, i.e, they were logical and
perfectly defensible, but the problem was they were not
That is we did not have and as practical matter could not have,
sufficient resources to enforce the law. Thus, the law becomes
a trap for the unwary or the unlucky. And it undermines faith in
both the immigration system and the process that created it. The
current bill has a
number of similar problems.
For example, the "Grand Bargain" had a temporary worker program.
According to the White
House Fact sheet it provides:
Creating A Temporary Worker
pressure on the border and provide a lawful way to meet the needs of
our economy, the proposal creates a temporary worker program to fill
jobs Americans are not doing. To ensure this program is truly
"temporary," workers will be limited to three two-year terms, with at
least a year spent outside the United States between each term.
Temporary workers will be allowed to bring immediate family members
only if they have the financial ability to support them and they are
covered by health insurance.
The concept is a good one. But why do we care as a nation whether
someone is here for 2 years with a year spent outside of the United
States for a maximum of three 2 year terms. Has anyone given any
thought to how we are going to enforce this and why do we want
to? If these workers are meeting the "needs of our economy" why
does anyone care if they leave the country for a year between any of
their 2 year terms? It will take hundreds, if not thousands, of
person hours to enforce this provision and to what end????
Also it is unclear if these temporary workers will be covered by all
health and safety laws, all wage and hour laws, and all job security
laws applicable to employees who are authorized to work in the United
States. If they are NOT, this just creates an incentive for
unscrupulous employers to seek temporary workers over other employment
authorized workers simply because they are cheaper to employ.
Without explicitly stating temporary workers are entitled to the same
rights as other work authorized workers, we are creating an incentive
to create an under class of workers. We do Not have to do this.
It is counter productive and it is unnecessary.
Finally, since illegals do NOT have the protection of many of these
laws, there is a positive incentive for unscrupulous employers to hire
them. The fines are modest and the chances of getting caught are
small. It would make more sense to say if an employer is found to
be intentionally employing illegal aliens and not paying them the
minimum wage, overtime wages, or denying them other labor law
protections, the employer must pay double what is due, with the
underpaid portion going to the illegal alien as they are deported and
the remaining portion going to the Federal Government as a fine.
It would also make sense to provide in such situations that the
employer is guilty of a misdemeanor. This would help remove the
incentive to employ illegal workers.
House Fact sheet
states the "Grand Bargain" creates:
No Amnesty For Illegal
immigrants who come out of the shadows will be given probationary
status. Once the border security and enforcement benchmarks are
they must pass a background check, remain employed, maintain a clean
criminal record, pay a $1,000 fine, and receive a counterfeit-proof
biometric card to apply for a work visa or "Z visa." Some years
these Z visa holders will be eligible to apply for a green card, but
only after paying an additional $4,000 fine; completing accelerated
English requirements; getting in line while the current backlog clears;
returning to their home country to file their green card application;
and demonstrating merit under the merit-based system.