Immigration Deal Criticized

Earlier, I called the Senate immigration deal “lackluster.” Apparently, a lot of people across the political spectrum agree with me.

Conservatives are unhappy because it is an amnesty for illegal immigrants, and because low-income, uneducated illegal immigrants will be able to take advantage of hundreds of billions of dollars in government and Social Security benefits as a result of the amnesty. (Illegal immigrants are not entitled to most government benefits until they become legal).

Legal immigrants are unhappy that only illegal immigrants, not legal immigrants, can take advantage of the deal, and the fact that illegals — unlike legal immigrants — don’t have to show they paid their taxes in the past to stay in the U.S. (When my wife, a legal immigrant, applied for her green card, she had to show that she had paid all her U.S. taxes. Not surprisingly, she is not happy with the fact that illegal aliens are exempt from this requirement under the immigration deal).

Business is unhappy because the deal doesn’t do that much, especially in the short term, to increase the supply of skilled immigrant labor.

Liberal groups such as the New York Times are unhappy, too. Some are unhappy because illegal aliens don’t immediately become permanent residents. Others, like the Times, are unhappy about the fact that the deal creates a “guest worker” program for some future immigrants that does not allow such workers to become citizens.

Most of all, they are unhappy about the fact that illegal aliens have to pay a $5,000 fine to qualify for the amnesty, rather than getting to stay in the country for free. ($5,000 is much less than the cost of administrative fees and double taxation that many legal immigrants incur in order to qualify for permanent residency in the U.S.).