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EVENING UPDATE: DEAL IS COLLASPING. Sweet blog scoop: Durbin says Senate close to compromise on immigration


MORNING: A bipartisan group of Senators on Thursday morning revived stalled immigration legislation with several key compromises in guest workers provisions and controversial other matters.
``I think that we are close, very close to a bipartisan agreement,’’ said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), spending the morning in closed door negotiations first in a meeting just with Democrats and then another with Republicans.

EVENING: Meltdown.

Just a short time ago, Durbin made a plea for a deal from the Senate floor.
Durbin told me and another reporter from a Downstate paper after the weekly breakfast for visiting Illinoisans that Democrats are prepared to make crucial compromises in order to get a comprehensive immigration bill on the floor. Elements of a compromise include:
* Heads of households—not entire families—would have to leave the country and then come back to the United States. This was a demand from a group of Republicans.
This would cover, Durbin said, ``those who have been in the country more than two years but less than five years would be required, the head of the household would be required to leave the country to a port of entry and then come back into the United States.’’
``In my mind (it is) a hardship but a minor hardship for a family. They would have three years to do it.’’
*An illegal immigrant would not have to return to their country of origin. ``Trust me, not my idea. It gives peace of mind to some people,’’ Durbin said.
*Guest worker quotas would be reduced.
``We are moving toward tightening that up so there a fewer guest workers allowed each year so that they would be able to move from job to job, to lessen the possibility of exploitation, Durbin said.
Under a provision to be made by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the bipartisan coalition agreed to lower an earlier bid for 400,000 guest workers a year to 325,000 annually.

Also, under Obama-Feinstein, employers would have to advertise for jobs and state they would pay the local prevailing wage, an attempt to lessen the ability of an employer exploiting the labor of an illegal immigrant and to help make the jobs more attractive to American citizens already here.
*There would be a longer path to legal status. Instead of 11 years it might be 13 or 14 years.


I don't see what difference new laws would make. If the corrupt political parties won't enforce old laws, they won't enforce new laws.

If illegal aliens won't respect old laws, they certainly aren't going to obey new ones.

Washington silliness.

By sending back "heads of households" what would that accomplish? It just seems that it will tear families apart and be especially harmful to children. Are they expecting parents to be separated from their children? or for one parent separated from their family? Or, is it that they leave and get to come right back in?
Lynn Sweet replies...
Rebecca, under the proposal, it could be just a daytrip..a ``touchdown'' out of the country is all that would be required.

I totally agree this is Washington silliness. The 1986 amnesty was wrong and so is this. All we need is for each one of us to follow the laws (including Senators and Congressmen), roll back immigrant quotas to what they were prior to 1965, build a wall similar to China's and let our troops guard it. If we can guard Korea's and Germany's borders, we can guard ours. We've been guarding theirs for 50 years. Stop sending billions in aid overseas and use that money at home. I cannot believe the audacity of these illegals "demanding" their "rights". Give me a break! as John Stossel would say. And where is I.C.E. during all of these street marches? Maybe hiding under their desks?

We also need to end this "anchor baby" business. No more automatic citizenship for baby's born to illegals. Slap huge fines on employers who hire them. Jail them if they keep doing it.

Maybe we ought to charge their home country the cost of their healthcare, education. Maybe we ought to slap a surcharge on those billions sent home to the old country to pay for the bus tickets home. This whole issue has me so angry I could easily turn this into a 10 page letter.

All this high profile political maneuvering is smoke and mirrors. The illegals that are here need to register within a one month period or face immediate deportation. After the registration and background checks have been completed, deport those with criminal backgrounds and/or a history of not working. The borders need to be actively closed and actual enforcement of our immigration laws needs to be done (including very stiff penalties of employers). I tell ya' folks; You will never see any activity toward enforcing the laws. It isn't going to happen. You will be remembering this sad scenario 20 years from now, when it resurfaces again.

This is a joke. Fortunately most Americans see the folly of the senate and guys like Durbin will pay the price for ignoring the wishes of the voters.

There is nothing workable in this bill to stop the flow of illegals into this country or to enforce employers not to hire them. Bogus identification is readily available to illegals now and will be plentiful to those who need to falsify how long they have been in this country. We don't have the manpower to check the papers and identity of near 20 million illegals here or to check every work place to see if they are in compliance.

This farce is no different than what happened in 1986 when congress gave amnesty and then did nothing to stop the next wave of illegals entering our country.

Once again the working class gets screwed by its so called 'representatives'.

Will the Durbin haters Please explain how the Democratic Senator, in the midst of a majority Republican Senate, a Majority Republican House of Representatives a Republican White House topped off with a majority Republican nominated Supreme Court continues to keep the Justice Department from enforcing laws that make it illegal to employ illegal aliens?

It isn't just guys like Durbin, it's everyone who has ever introduced or voted in favor of bills that seek to soften penalties on illegals or provide aid and comfort to them. This goes all the way back to about 1965, when the flood gates were opened. You might even say it goes back to the 1940s, when the Bracero programs were established. Both sides of the aisle are to blame as are all employers who hire these people. A law breaker is a law breaker, pure and simple. And those charged with upholding and defending this country who fail to do so are law breakers in my eyes too. To reward behavior this way is offensive to the American public and to those who braved many obstacles to come here legally.

And who among us is prepared to only patronize the inevitably more expensive purveyors of goods and services that meticulously employ only citizens and green card carrying visitors?

I for one would gladly pay a bit more for goods and services. Contrary to what the Wal-Marts of the world believe, I don't always want the lowest price. I'd rather have a better product. The old adage of you get what you pay for remains true. Don't forget, if the pool of illegals presently in this country went away, wages would have to rise, enabling us to afford better products. Simple supply and demand.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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