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April 7, 2006
Immigration Reform Details Not Appealing

The more we find out about this immigration "compromise", the more the term sounds exactly applicable. Kris Kobach, an attorney representing plaintiffs in court cases against states that defy immigration law by handing out government benefits to illegals, warns us in the New York Post about the fine print in this Senate bill that threatens to surrender the southern border to all comers:

With a few exceptions, today's immigration judges (who serve for life) are dedicated to enforcing the law, and they do a difficult job well. This bill forces all immigration judges to step down after serving seven years - and restricts replacements to attorneys with at least five years' experience practicing immigration law.

Virtually the only lawyers who'll meet that requirement are attorneys who represent aliens in the immigration courts - who tend to be some of the nation's most liberal lawyers, and who are certainly unlikely as a class to be fond of enforcing immigration laws.

It gets worse. Immigration judges are now appointed by the attorney general - whose job it is to see to it that laws are enforced. The Senate bill gives that power to a separate bureaucrat, albeit one directly appointed by the president, making immigration courts more susceptible to leftward polarization.

That's not something likely to make headlines in the coverage of this Senate collapse on security. Instead of embracing the independent judiciary to oversee immigration-fraud cases, the system put in place by the Senate will instead force out judges after a short period of time, to be replaced with activists from the immigration industry. Under those circumstances, what lawyer worthy of the appointment would agree to serve on this bench? They would interrupt their practices, only to be assured of unemployment seven years later. The only attorneys motivated to accept these appointment will be those with axes to grind on this debate -- hardly a recipe for good jurisprudence.

Nor is this the only stealth bomb in the compromise. Kobach notes that Dick Durbin slipped in an amendment enacting the DREAM Act. This amendment will render moot the prosecution of nine states for giving in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens. This means that California can offer illegal aliens better tuition rates than it does for Arizona residents -- you know, actual US citizens. Kobach has sued California and Kansas for violating a 1996 federal prohibition on such actions. Durbin's amendment will ensure that both states and the seven others who have defied the law can continue granting privileges to illegal aliens that it doesn't afford to American citizens.

What doesn't the immigration reform compromise do? It fails to adequately fund or structure the government agency responsible for processing the guest-worker applications that will flood the government. The CIS cannot keep up with demand now, even with no amnesty of any kind facing them. Now the bill divides illegals up into two categories based on their time of arrival in the country and dictates that the CIS will have to determine the validity of these claims, using whatever evidence the illegals can supply. It apparently doesn't give them extra funding or specific guidelines to accomplish this rather Herculean task, meaning that applicants will either be approved or denied more or less on the whim of the civil servant doing the processing. With millions of applicants ready to flood the already-overwhelmed CIS, how effective and sane does this sound?

The more one hears about this compromise, the more one realizes that the only things compromised are our national security, our border control, our common sense, and our pocketbooks.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 7, 2006 6:35 AM

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