Kiss My Sass: The Immigration Bill

Sophia Ottoni-Wilhelm

An eight-senator bipartisan Dream Team proposed a bill earlier this month that would, if passed, completely overhaul the United State’s current immigration policy. If I could describe the legislation in one word, that word would be badass.

“When you look at the representatives of business, labor, the religious community, Hispanic community — across the board — this is a coalition,” Senator John McCain, Arizona Republican and co-captain of the Dream Team, said last week. “This is why we will succeed, because of this broad-based, dedicated support for this legislation.”

In 844 pages the bill promises to:

1) Tighten border security by improving fences, barricades, administration and employee check-in procedures, giving the Department of Homeland Security five years to meet the assigned goal of intercepting 90 percent of illegal entrants. If they fail, they will be spanked and replaced by a new border commission.

2) Lay out a path to certain citizenship for the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. This part of the bill has just enough obstacles (like learning English, paying fines and taxes, and waiting for 10 years) to keep cranky Republicans happy and just enough hope to keep Democrats from crying.

3) Require that all U.S. businesses use a new program to check the immigration status of all their employees.

4) Increases the number of visas available for workers seeking, as the bill reads, “low or high skilled jobs,”

Across the board, people are in agreement that the bill would fuel economic growth as it simultaneously supports small business owners and foreign entrepreneurs. Not to mention our multi-trillion dollar deficit could use the extra tax money.

All the bill’s promises sound almost too good to be true, am I right?

Exactly, say two old white dudes who appear suspiciously often on the Fox News website. Unfortunately they’re Senators, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), so it kinda matters that they’re hell-bent on wrecking everything and engaging the obviously superior Dream Team in political warfare. This past week they stooped so low as call for the suspension of the bill, pointing to the recent events in Boston and suggesting that they demonstrate weaknesses in the system that won’t be addressed by the new legislation. “Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system,” said Senator Grassley, Captain of the Buzzkill Brigade. “This is not something to be rushed. We have to get this right. Otherwise the goal of the bipartisan group to solve the problem once and for all — will not be met.”

I call bullshit. If ever there were a time to back a bill, it would be now, and I mean right now – in light of the tragic events this past week. This bill is 844 pages long and has the support of both conservative and liberal economists, big business and small labor organizations. When has this ever happened in the past? When will it ever happen in the future? Also, after the failure of gun legislation in the Senate last week, some pressure has been taken off Republicans who felt they couldn’t back both bills. Lastly, and most importantly, what better way to honor the people involved in the Boston tragedies than to give 11 million people the opportunity to pursue their dreams? So, step aside white dudes, and let’s get the show on the road.