Editorial January 30, 2015

TheWeekinCongress.com

Editorial

Border security has been on the table since President Reagan’s amnesty plan as government became aware of an inordinate number of illegal immigrants in the country and tried to figure out what to do about it. Reagan saw amnesty for some as a solution but that didn’t stem the tide; rather the flow increased. It wasn’t until around 2006 that Congress got the idea that a fence along the southern border would do the trick. Billions have gone into that fence which is still not completed and under which drug and human traffickers still dig tunnels.

The biggest problem with solving the illegal immigrant problem is that there are too many of them. Seriously, how do you round up 13 million people, at what cost, and why? Add to that US law that grants US citizenship to a child born in the US even if the parents are not here legally. How do you handle that?

President Obama has to be looking at the same logistics Reagan looked at with the added twist that many immigrants in the mix have been here since Reagan and are working and tens of thousands of children have shown up on the Southern Border in the past year. Deporting those 5 million individuals is not only a major task considering their sheer numbers but would also leave the country short about 5 million employees.

Considering the Republican caucuses who are opposed to all things Obama his immigration plan to stall deportations and offer some path to legal working status would naturally be anathema and soundly rejected. But what’s next if deportation isn’t viable?

The good thing about HR 399 is not only that it at least aims to finish building the fence but would move substantial resources to various border-crossing points to further stem the tide of illegal immigrants. But it’s not all good news; keep in mind that Republicans controlled the Hill and White House for 8 years while the number of illegals in this country grew but Congress did little other than authorizing the fence. Apparently it took the President’s Executive Action on the matter to wake them up but they woke up from the same dream they were dreaming all along; block access, problem solved.

With HR 399 the problem is far from solved. It’s what come next that is most important; CBO has calculated that a comprehensive Senate bill, S 744 That passed the Senate 68 – 32 last year but was never considered in the House, would, ten years out, reduce the deficit by $700 billion. Considering the deficit stands around $480 billion and CBO predicts significant increases in the deficit due largely to the Boomer generation the math alone dictates how Congress should handle the matter.

Senate Stories

June 8, 1954

Senator Lester Hunt’s Decision

In the early 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s politics of fear victimized many people. Chief among them was Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt. Hunt had come to the Senate in 1949, a liberal Democrat from a traditionally Republican state.

Thirty years earlier, Lester Hunt had started out as a small-town dentist. He abandoned dentistry in 1932 as an indirect consequence of his son’s broken leg, for which he had contributed multiple bone grafts. Hunt found that the results of that surgery made it painful for him to stand beside a dentist’s chair for extended periods. His statewide network of contacts, pleasing personality, and limitless energy inspired him to enter Wyoming politics on the rising tide of the New Deal. After six years in the governor’s mansion, he entered the U.S. Senate.

Hunt quickly crossed swords with Wisconsin’s Joe McCarthy. More….

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Quotable on the Issues

CBO June 3, 2014 – “In 2009, about 39 million foreign-born people lived in the United States, making up more than 12 percent of the U.S. population the largest share since 1920. Naturalized citizens (foreign-born people who have fulfilled the requirements of U.S. citizenship) accounted for about 17 million of the total. Noncitizens (foreign-born people authorized to live and work in the United States either temporarily or permanently and people who are not authorized to live or work in the United States) accounted for about 22 million of the total.”

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Hamilton on Congress

It’ll Never Be Time for Term Limits on Congress

By Lee H. Hamilton

“Congress has a lot of problems right now, and the American people have a role to play in fixing them, but term limits are a distraction from the truly hard work that needs to be done.”

It didn’t get much attention at the time, but the elections last November did more than give Republicans a majority in the U.S. Senate. Voters also added to the ranks of people on both sides of Capitol Hill who believe members of Congress should serve a limited number of terms.

Hamilton

Hamilton

I know a lot of people to whom this is good news. I know them, because I hear from them every time I speak at a public event that allows for a give-and-take with the audience. Americans are frustrated with the federal government as a whole and with Congress in particular, and are searching for a simple solution. The notion that the bums could be thrown out automatically has great appeal. More…

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Foreign Affairs

The Immigration Numbers Congress is Dealing With

CBO January 2015

During the past two years, the Congress has considered proposals to modify the nation’s immigration system. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), passed by the Senate in June 2013, addresses multiple facets of immigration policy, including changes to the existing visa system, improvements in border security and law enforcement, and changes to the status of people who currently live in the country without legal authorization. Other proposals have focused on one component of immigration policy—for example, improving border security or changing certain aspects of the visa system. Whether the proposals involve broad or narrow changes to immigration policy, they could have a variety of consequences for both citizens and noncitizens, for the federal government, and for state and local governments. This CBO report examines some of those proposals and how such changes would affect the federal budget.

When estimating the budgetary consequences of immigration reform, CBO considers various factors. Depending on the details of proposed legislation, changes to immigration policy could have a significant effect on the size and composition of the noncitizen population and, as a result, on rates of participation in federal programs and the payment of taxes. More….