May 30, 2007

The Big, Simple Reason Why the Immigration Bill Should Be Rejected

Greetings. I don't claim to be an expert on immigration policy. I'm not schooled in the intricacies of the different visa types and their ramifications. Personally, having lived here in Los Angeles my entire life, I don't have problems with a multicultural environment, and I can't help but suspect that a large part of the organized opposition to the Immigration Bill is driven by racism, even if below the conscious level in many people.

But from a technical and privacy standpoint, there are aspects of the bill that seem potentially problematic in their current form, particularly mandated data sharing of Social Security Administration data with the Department of Homeland Security, and the ordered use of the significantly error-prone employee verification database to verify the status of all future and even current employees. The latter is likely to falsely indicate that millions of persons don't have legal employment status.

But there's a much bigger, fundamental reason why the bill should be rejected, that overrides any and all positive and negative details.

The Immigration Bill is enormous, and if enacted would trigger immense changes throughout the U.S., and by extension around the world. It is inexcusable beyond words that such a massive undertaking be foisted on the public as a result of secret, backroom negotiations, with nary a meaningful public hearing to openly discuss the issues and ramifications.

An exercise of such scope demands a major series of hearings and comment periods, not a "grand compromise" by the same sort of politicians who have "compromised" us either directly or indirectly in the past into other bad legislation, not to mention the Iraq war and similar travesties.

Immigration reform is a highly emotional topic, but it's also an extremely technical one, with complex impacts throughout the economy and people's lives. It is not an appropriate subject for wink and handshake legislation, and the legislators involved -- in both parties -- should be ashamed of themselves.

A bad bill is most decidedly worse than no bill, especially with ad hoc changes in the legislation now taking place that appear to make matters even worse than the existing status quo. The only reasonable approach now is to deep-six the current Immigration Bill and start from scratch with due process.

The people of this country should demand no less.


Posted by Lauren at May 30, 2007 08:25 AM | Permalink
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