Thursday, May 17, 2007

Compromise Immigration Bill released to Senate, GOP Base Freaks

The Kennedy Immigration Bill has just been released to the Senate Floor. The bill comes as part of a compromise between the two parties, and part of Bush's longstanding plan to do something about immigration that attempts to thread the needle between his corporatist masters who want the cheap labor, and his racist base afraid of the browning of America's population.

You can read details on the bill at the WaPo and in the AP and the New York Times.

It contains a crackdown on business that hire illegal immigrants, the addition of over 370 miles of border fences, the hiring of 18,000 or so border patrol officers as well as various other smaller measures. But it also allows for those undocumented immigrants who arrived prior to January 1st to acquire temporary residence permits called "Z" Visas that, as the WaPo states, would be:

renewable indefinitely, as long as the holder passes a criminal background check, remains fully employed and pays a $5,000 fine, plus a paperwork-processing fee.

A separate, temporary-worker program would be established for 400,000 migrants a year. Each temporary work visa would be good for two years and could be renewed up to three times, as long as the worker leaves the country for a year between renewals.

Needless to say, the GOP racist base is freaking out over the new compromise legislation. Hugh Hewitt over at the is so upset that he has posted in their entirety four pages of GOP talking points that were sent to him in semi-apologetic support of the bill, calling them, in his words (and I kid you not here) "Four pages of crap".

But it's Michelle Malkin who really goes after the GOP on this one in a long post today featuring the reactions of various GOP politicos including the following:

Rep. Steve King:
Each one of these Senators should wear a scarlet letter 'A' for amnesty."

Senator Jim DeMint:
"This rewards people who broke the law with permanent legal status, and puts them ahead of millions of law-abiding immigrants waiting to come to America. I don't care how you try to spin it, this is amnesty."

The National Review:
The Bush administration’s price for its modestly beefed-up border security and workplace enforcement is amnesty for millions and a temporary-worker program for a few hundred thousand more each year. And the proposal’s conservative features vanish upon inspection...As bad as the status quo on immigration policy is, it is preferable to this bill.

And as for Malkin herself? She says in this earlier post:

With friends like the Senate Republicans, who needs enemies?

And it gets worse from there. They're going nuts at, with over-the-top posts lamenting their inability to use profanity on their own site to react to the bill, and two big flashy sirens at the top of the page.

The Freepers are also having a meltdown over the legislation. I won't reproduce their despicable comments here; just follow the link for the gut-churning hilarity.

Looks like one more big, bad rift in the GOP coalition. The GOP candidates are going to have to take two stands against Bush to get elected: one on Iraq, and the other on immigration. I frankly don't see how they manage it without either infuriating their base or making themselves unelectable to the general public.

Pass the popcorn.

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