NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 11, 2006

The Senate's "compromise" immigration-reform bill, also known as the Hagel-Martinez amendment, fell apart Friday, at least for the time being. Rather than a compromise, it is in fact a smokescreen to hide the legalization of millions of illegal aliens, says the Washington Times.

The centerpiece of the Hagel-Martinez amendment is a three-tiered amnesty, instead of the Senate Judiciary Committee's blanket amnesty for all 11 or so million illegal immigrants.

  • The first group, those who have lived here for five or more years (estimated to be about 8 million people), would be granted blanket amnesty. But so would their spouses and children, even if they do not currently reside in the United States.
  • The second group, those who have lived here two to five years (estimated to be about 1.5 million), would get to stay, as long as they leave the country within three years to pick up their work visa. They would also be able to pick up work visas for their spouses and children, who would not have to leave the country.
  • The final group, those who have lived here less than two years (estimated to be about 1.2 to 1.7 million), are not without a path to citizenship either. They, too, are eligible for work visas under the amendment's language governing the new guest-worker program.

There is good reason to assume that many in the last group would stay, says the Times:

  • For instance, the Hagel-Martinez amendment would increase employer-sponsored work visas to 450,000 per year, tripling the previous number.
  • But the amendment would also exempt spouses and children from this cap, which would effectively add 540,000 more visas every year.
  • That's 990,000 employer-sponsored visas every year, or six times the current amount.

Source: Editorial, "Immigration in the round," Washington Times, April 11, 2006.


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