Starting this afternoon (Monday, June 11) on C-Span2, viewers throughout the US and around the world will be able to watch the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” – a.k.a. the United States Senate – begin debate on the Immigration Reform bill. The action is expected to begin shortly after 2 PM.
It promises to be a full discussion of the major aspects of Immigration Reform, and could last several weeks (or more) since the Senate will need to consider other pressing business as well (judicial, diplomatic, executive and military confirmations; other bills that have come out of committees; special proclamations; etc.). Getting the Immigration Reform bill passed by the July 4th holiday is the objective of the bill’s sponsors. Stretching the time is an objective of the bill’s opponents as they try to kill many of the bill’s provisions.
Since there is no play-by-play announcer and most Americans have never had the opportunity to work in the hallowed halls of Congress, much of what happens on the Senate floor is a mystery to viewers. Viewers should not be discouraged, however – there will be many opportunities to listen to Senators debating aspects of the bill. And there will be many votes to follow as well.
In preparation for the debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee released its “Committee Report” on S.744, the Gang of Eight Immigration Reform bill. The Committee Report provides details – in somewhat understandable English –about the bill. Here is a link to the Committee Report on S.744:
For anyone interested in Immigration Reform, the history of immigration in the United States, and the key issues in the current Immigration debate, this Committee Report is a must-read.
Here are some very interesting tidbits from the Report:
From studies of the last Amnesty (in 1986), legalizing previously undocumented workers increased U.S. wages by 10%;
- S.744 will add more than $200 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund. It will be these newly-legalized immigrants who will finance Social Security payments to the ever-expanding numbers of retiring Baby Boomers;
- S.744 will help businesses get scarce workers they need on a timely basis; it will also help unify families whose members are currently waiting in decades-long lines;
- The Federal Government currently spends 24% more money ($18 billion) on immigration enforcement each year than the TOTALITY OF ALL OTHER law enforcement activities COMBINED;
- Due in large part to this expenditure of funds, cities along the Mexican border are the safest in the US. El Paso, TX has the lowest crime rate of any city with a population of over 500,000. San Diego, CA has the second lowest crime rate. Since 2008, crime has decreased in all four Southwest border states;
- In 2011, immigrants started 28% of all new businesses in the US, despite being 13% of the population. 40% of Fortune 500 companies were started by first- or second-generation immigrants. More than 40% of Ph.D.s in science and 55% of Engineering Ph.D.s are earned by foreign-born students.
With these facts, it is easy to understand why Immigration Reform has gained strong bi-partisan support.