US Republicans Introduce Tough Immigration Bill
Tuesday 19 July 2005
Washignton - All of the estimated 10 million to 12 million illegal aliens in the United States would have to leave the country under an immigration bill introduced on Tuesday by two conservative Republican senators.
The bill by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl and Texas Sen. John Cornyn is a tougher alternative to a rival bipartisan bill introduced two month ago that would allow some illegals to get jobs legally and eventually gain citizenship without leaving the country.
The Kyl-Cornyn bill calls for the creation of a machine-readable, tamper-proof Social Security card that would be issued to every American in the workforce to prevent illegals from getting jobs.
It would also fund the hiring of 10,000 new Department of Homeland Security personnel dedicated to weeding illegal immigrants out of the workforce and an additional 1,000 for detecting immigration fraud.
Companies that hired illegal immigrants would face tough fines.
Additionally, the bill would authorize the recruitment of 10,000 new Border Patrol agents over five years and a $2.5 billion investment in unmanned aerial vehicles, cameras, barriers and sensors along the Mexican border.
The senators did not give a total cost for the bill but a fact sheet distributed with their proposal contained partial costs of well over $12 billion.
"We start with the proposition that we have to enforce the law at the border and in the interior of the country and at the workplace," Kyl told a news conference.
Cornyn said the bill contained an orderly and dignified way for illegal immigrants in the country to return home.
They would have five years in which to do so. Illegals who refuse would face fines of $2,000 a year for each year they stayed beyond the deadline if they subsequently left and then tried to apply to immigrate legally.
"Those who are here today illegally will have to return, every one of them, to their country of origin," Cornyn said.
The 2000 Census estimated the number of people who are in the country illegally at 8.7 million and said it was growing by half a million a year. Others put the number much higher.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, an author of the rival bipartisan bill, said: "The mass deportation of illegal immigrant persons as contemplated by the Cornyn-Kyl bill is not a realistic solution, and won't solve the security and economic problems we face."
Pro-immigration groups blasted the proposal. Angela Kelley of the National Immigration Forum said it was completely unworkable as well as massively expensive.
"There is no reason for the millions of illegal immigrants to come forward. We don't think this bill takes us in the direction of fixing our broken immigration system," she said.
Michele Waslin of the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic organization, said illegal immigrants would not sign up for voluntary deportation.
"There's no viable path for them in this bill to gain citizenship and that's problematic," she said.
The bill does envisage the creation of a guest worker program. But foreign workers would only be allowed to stay in the country for two years at a time for a maximum of six years, and would not be allowed to bring their families with them.
At the end of two years, the workers would have to return home for at least a year before being allowed to return for a further two years.