[UPDATE: Send a free FAX about this here. Links to our full coverage about this below]
Could Reps. Jeff Flake and Luis Guitierrez be the Abbott and Costello of a new generation? The STRIVE amnesty ("Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy") they introduced today makes me think that instead of being duped by them - what they apparently think will happen - we'll all soon be laughing at them once all the details of their scheme have been released.
Consider the farcical "touchback" provision :
Under the legislation, undocumented workers, who pay a fine and pass extensive and thorough background examinations, would be eligible for conditional status with work and travel authorization for 6 years. If, during those six years, the worker remains employed, continues to be an upstanding member of the community, learns English and civics, and pays any owed taxes, they could be eligible to adjust their status if they leave the country and re-enter legally.
I can't find the actual legislation, but that sounds not only like a massive amnesty, but it sounds like the "touchback" feature wouldn't have to be acted on immediately. In other words, the former illegal alien would get a status adjustment immediately, and only if they want to get on the "path to citizenship" would they need to "touchback", and they could do it at any time during the six-year period. In addition, some of the requirements (if they were to be actually enforced) sound slightly close to indentured servitude. What if they become disabled, or what if there's an economic downturn? Will they still get their chance at permanent residency?
And, of course, there's the irony of those who've shown a general lack of respect for our laws then being required to take civics courses.
Then, there's the "guest" worker scheme:
The Gutierrez-Flake bill sets up a new worker program for low-skilled workers, when a U.S. worker cannot be found to fill a needed job... employers would be required to provide foreign workers with the same wages and working conditions enjoyed by U.S. workers...
Let's say U.S. notaries make $20 an hour, and employers know that there are 400,000 potential "guest" notaries who'd be happy with $5 an hour. Flake and Gutierrez think we're dumb enough to think that employers wouldn't find a way to get those foreign notaries into the U.S. one way or another.
Flake flunky Matthew Specht is fielding calls about this scheme at 202-225-2635 or send him an email at matthew.specht *at* mail.house.gov.
UPDATE: Straight outta the AILA come these two:
UPDATE 2: See also these other entries:
Bill Richardson: up with Kennedy-McCain, down with Flake-Gutierrez (MyDD sponsored by SEIU)
STRIVE Act: MALDEF, Juan Hernandez, ANLA support; Chertoff kinda
STRIVE Act: not everyone happy with "touchback" (even for just one day)
Trouble in paradise: AFL-CIO, ACLU, NIF, AFSC not fully happy with Flake-Gutierrez; Teamsters, Democrat Lampson
All you need to know about immigration reform (Flake-Gutierrez)
H.R.1645 Summary, Co-Sponsors, Full Text (Flake, Gutierrez, HR1645, STRIVE Act)
Flake-Gutierrez could nearly triple H-1B visas
STRIVEing for amnesty: the Flake/Guitierrez "Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy" Act
"Bill offers temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants..."
Jeff Flake, Luis Gutierrez to introduce amnesty bill in House
Immigration2007a · Thu, 03/22/2007 - 18:21 · Importance: 1