Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Lawmakers target universities that accept illegal immigrants

While we’re still on the subject of illegal immigration, take a look at H.R. 310. This bill filed by Rep. Sue Myrick seeks to withhold Federal funds from universities who accept illegal immigrants. Some states have already passed laws barring illegal immigrants from college.

Last time I checked, it was federal agents (and now state police) who enforced immigration law, not universities. Secondly, most “illegal immigrant” students are those who were taken to the United States by their parents at a young age. Why should they be punished? And, illegal or not, wouldn’t barring thousands of young people from an education cause more harm to the communities with large immigrant populations, i.e. crime, poverty, use of social services?

Rep. Myrick holds some interesting views on immigration. Take a look at this interview where she explains how Hezbollah is entering the country at our southern border:

Rating: 2 teabags

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: More mandatory minimums, this time for immigrants

Yet another immigration-related bill comes from Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California. In January, Mr. Issa filed H.R. 45 to “impose mandatory sentencing ranges with respect to aliens who reenter the United States after having been removed …”

Didn’t we learn from the (failed) Drug War that mandatory minimums do not deter lawbreakers and only take power from judges?

Mr. Issa’s bill mandates a year in jail for an illegal immigrant with a clean record who re-enters the U.S. illegally. Currently, the law only provides a maximum penalty of 2 years in jail. The bill would also impose much higher mandatory minimums on immigrants who commit crimes in the U.S.

The parallels to the failed mandatory minimum policies for drug offenses are not unnoticed by criminal justice activists. The Families Against Mandatory Minimums looked up some recent statistics on immigration offenses and found that of the 73,277 people sentenced in 2009, over 90 percent were for illegally entering the U.S. and/or helping others across. Most had no prior criminal record.

FAMM also found that judges already gave most offenders close to maximum sentences. Is there really a need for mandatory minimums?

Rating: 3 teabags

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: The ‘Anchor Baby’ bill

Many legislators came to power in November campaigning on money-related issues: inflated budgets, taxes and the country’s economy. But many politicians also ran on various wedge issues – those hot button topics that force voters on one of two sides. After Arizona leaders passed a law giving police the power to stop drivers and check their immigration status, our neighbors to the south once again became a wedge issue.

So it comes as no surprise that politicians on both sides of the aisle are sponsoring immigration-related bills. Unfortunately, when dealing with an issue as complex as immigration, most politicians only offer simple, politically-expedient and divisive legislation.

The worst of the bills comes from Rep. Steve King. This Iowa Republican — who even scares other Republicans with his inflammatory language — is sponsoring the Birthright Citizenship Act, also known around talk radio circles as the “Anchor Baby Act.” This piece of legislation basically seeks to overturn the 14th amendment, which allows for U.S. citizenship to anyone born on American soil. H.R. 140 already has four other politicians signing on. In addition, many states are planning similar proposals.

Putting the immigration debate aside, this bill is a waste of time for three reasons:

1) If simply being born in the U.S. does not qualify us for citizenship, then a birth certificate is proved useless. How much money, time and hassle will it take for the country to move away from using birth certificates? And how long will that take?

2) The U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld birthright citizenship. Check out the United States v. Wong Kim Ark. Why file a bill that will be ruled unconstitutional? Because it’s the easy way to gain political points. If Rep. King would have filed a Constutitional amendment, we all know it wouldn’t pass.

3) It would have a negligible effect on the numbers of undocumented immigrants. Having babies is not the reason folks come to the United States. Employment is/has/will continue to be the No. 1 reason people cross our borders illegally. Even mothers who come to the U.S. pregnant so their children can become U.S. citizens only do so because they can get work and a better life. Which means, even if this passed, there would still be pregnant mothers crossing the borders. But instead of their children becoming U.S. citizens, the kids will just add to the statistics of illegal immigrants.

Rating: 5 teabags

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Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Illegal alien or undocumented worker? Dictionary be damned, a Florida Senator decides

wilsonFrederica Wilson seems like a nice lady. I mean, come on: Who cannot like a state senator who wears a hat like that for her official photo?

Sen. Wilson has some admirable bills in this year’s session, too. She’s a former teacher and big champion of their causes. She’s compassionate about the woes of the homeless. Hell, she even wants to make sure inmates have condoms so they don’t contract HIV in the clink. Whether you are liberal or conservative, agree or disagree, you have to admit her heart seems in the right place with those type of bills.

But then there’s her repeated attempts to pass a bill like SB 74, a law that would prohibit the term “illegal alien” in any state documents.

Illegal immigration is definitely a hot topic in this country. Intelligent people have made strong arguments against and in defense of the issue. By the same token, ignorant people have used the controversy as a wedge issue. No matter your political persuasions, you cannot argue that the vast majority of people coming into this country illegally are good, hard-working individuals who just want a better life. It’s also hard to argue against how much strain they put on certain communities.

So with an issue so complex, so deserving of intelligent debate, Sen. Wilson wants to argue about the words we use to describe them? Illegal alien or undocumented worker — it may be semantics, but there’s a reason why it’s used officially both at the state and federal level. Exhibit A: The dictionary.

Illegal. adjective. 1. Forbidden by law or statute.

Alien. noun. 1. resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization.

Undocumented worker sounds real nice, but it’s not entirely accurate. What if the person crossing over is the wife of a factory worker with a 2-month-old child who plans to become a stay-at-home mom? That woman could not be considered a worker, right? And what if they do have documents, but the papers are fake? Undocumented worker is a noun meant to elicit political support. But that’s hardly a reason to put it on official documents.

I understand Wilson’s argument: How can you call people illegal and children aliens? But with all the other woes in our state, politicians’ priorities should be on fixing these problems, not legislating political correctness.

Rating: 2 bong hitsbongbong

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