House Immigration Reform Would be 'Doomed to Fail,' Say Critics

By Alison Espach | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - Former high ranking officials of the Bush administration, now "free to speak their minds," blasted the U.S. House version of immigration reform Thursday. The House bill excludes the "guest-worker" provision sought by President Bush and the Senate.

Immigrants are coming to America regardless of what House Republicans think, and need to be regulated, the former administration officials said. They have formed the Coalition for Immigration Security.

"We are now poised, for the first time in decades, to get and plan for full operational control over our borders," said Elaine Dezenski, former acting assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Dezenski said the Immigration and Control Act of 1986, which granted 3.1 million illegal immigrants amnesty, failed because the U.S. did not have the same resources it has now. Her group believes the government should provide the millions of illegal immigrants (estimates range between 8 and 12 million) currently working and living in America an incentive like that of 1986 -- a path to citizenship -- in order to "come out of the shadows."

The Coalition for Immigration Security also claims the "temporary guest worker" program would help border patrols separate the "economic migrants" from the "criminals," ultimately freeing up time and money that would "allow our enforcement to focus on real security threats."

Seth Stodder, former director of Policy and Planning for DHS and a member of the Coalition for Immigration Security, added that "an enforcement only approach," is doomed to fail," because of its expensive nature.

However, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) criticizes guest worker programs as "a backdoor toward permanent immigration"

"The H-1B visa program was invented in 1990 because of congressional panic over a forecasted labor shortage which never materialized," a CIS statement declares, adding that "government audits have identified as rife with abuse" such programs as the one created in 1990.

In testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee this week, CIS Research Director Steven A. Camarota pointed to the current Senate bill, which supporters and President Bush refuse to call an amnesty.

"Any legislation that does not require those who break the law to abide by it, but instead suspends the normal penalty and in some way changes the law to accommodate the violator is an amnesty," Camarota told the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims.

In an interview with Cybercast News Service, Camarota called the latest guest worker provision "pretty much the stupidest thing I ever heard."

"There are so many problems with that, we could be here all day," he said.

Camarota believes illegals would eventually leave if severe border security and immigration enforcement were in place. The House bill calls for a fence along the U.S. border, criminal penalties for illegally entering the U.S. and a crackdown on alien smuggling rings. It would also establish a system for employers to verify the legal status of the people they hire, but no path to citizenship or "guest worker" provision for illegal immigrants.

That type of solution would make "life intolerable for illegals here," Camarota said, prompting them to leave. "Over time, the problem would eventually take care of itself," he said.

America already has the most generous immigration policy in the world, according to Camarota. "We let a million people in a year on a permanent basis and hundreds of thousands of people on a long term temporary basis," he said.

Camarota also took issue with what many are describing in the Senate bill as a "temporary" guest worker program.

"What experience has shown in every country in human history, whenever you had supposed temporary migration from a poor country to a rich country, it has always resulted in permanent settlement," added Camarota. "There is nothing as permanent as a temporary worker."

He said the only reason supporters of the program still call it a temporary worker program is because there is less public opposition to it.

"It's a gimmick, it's a trick. It's a way of deceiving the public," Camarota said. "It's a way of saying, 'Oh no, these folks are going back,' when that has never happened in human history because life is much better here than there."

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