The Devil in the Details – Immigration Free-for-All

Posted: May 23, 2007 by April Watkins in Current Events, Immigration, Issues, Our Government, Politics
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According to polls, immigration reform is the second most important issue to the American public, falling just behind the war in Iraq.  While the average American realizes that something must be done to fix the problems in immigration, few of us will take time to review the proposed legislation that promises to solve our problem.   

This week the Senate will debate the pros and cons of a proposed bill that is a compromise crafted by a bi-partisan committee of Senators and key government officials.  At 326 pages, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611) is a mind-boggling piece of legislation that will affect many agencies.  It contains two main portions:  (1) Security and Enforcement, including measures for border enforcement, interior enforcement and workplace enforcement; and (2) Immigration Status Reform, including a new temporary worker programs, non-immigrant visa reform, rebalancing immigrant visa allocation, and an amnesty provision for current illegal immigrants.   This bill includes something for everyone, which is why it is destined to become a colossal albatross.   


Much has been said about the issue of amnesty for the estimated 12 million current illegal aliens residing among us. However, if enacted, this bill’s new legal path for immigration would quintuple immigration rates by raising the legal immigration numbers from the current 1 million per year to 5 million per year.  The impact on the United States would be a shift in population allowing an additional 103 million immigrants into the country within the next 20 years.  This is an increase would be equal to approximately one-third of the current population of our country.  This fact dwarfs the issue of amnesty for the 12 million illegal aliens.   

Buried in the reams of descriptions of new programs and outlines of visa granting are details that can easily be overlooked.  The most staggering reality is the lack of numerical caps on the various forms of new immigrants.  For example, the U.S. currently issues 140,000 employment based visas annually which include the employee and his family members.  This new bill would eliminate the deduction for spouses, children and parents from the caps on visa allocation.  This means that a man offered a job to work in the U.S. with a wife, four children and his parents, would be counted as 1, instead of 8, toward the visa work allocation numbers. 

The old saying “the devil is in the details” rings true for this legislation.  Below are more eye opening details discovered in the CIRA bill by the Heritage Foundation of Washington, D.C.:


  • CIRA offers amnesty and citizenship to 85% of the nation’s current 11.9 million illegal immigrants. 
  • In CIRA’s new temporary guest worker program, nearly all “guest workers” would have the right to become permanent residents and then citizens.
  • CIRA would allow additional permanent visas for siblings, adult children and their families, and would no longer count these immigrants towards the cap on visa allocation. 

America needs immigration…but controlled immigration.  Immigrants have helped to build our country through their ambitions to find a better life in America.  However, we cannot ignore the ramifications of rampant immigration laws that dismiss the impact of massive numbers of immigrants on our society and on our economy.  And that is…Why It Matters. 


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