No Amnesty, House Members Tell Senate

Daily News Article   —   Posted on March 30, 2006

(by Susan Jones, – Members of the House Immigration Reform Caucus have a message for the Senate: Immigration proposals that include amnesty are unacceptable and will not pass the House.

Or will they? According to Thursday’s New York Times, House Speaker Dennis Hastert is hinting at a compromise on the guest worker issue.

“We’re going to look at all alternatives,” Hastert said at a news conference Wednesday. “We’re not going to discount anything right now. Our first priority is to protect the border. And we also know there is a need in some sections of the economy for a guest-worker program.”

But any plan that goes easy on illegal aliens will face stiff opposition in the House.

On Thursday, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), and other members of the Immigration Reform Caucus were holding a “Just Say No to Amnesty” press conference on Capitol Hill. The message is aimed at the Senate.

Tancredo, who chairs the 94-member Immigration Reform Caucus, said recent immigration rallies — where protesters waved Mexican flags — show the magnitude of the problem:

“For years, the government has turned a blind eye to illegal aliens who break into this country. It isn’t any wonder that illegal aliens now act as if they are entitled to the rights and privileges of citizenship,” he said in a press release.

Tancredo says the McCain-Kennedy-Specter bill that emerged from the Judiciary Committee earlier this week would give amnesty to the more than 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. (Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said the bill does not offer amnesty, but “earned citizenship.”)

Regardless, If the Senate passes the Judiciary Committee’s bill, “the prospects of getting a reform bill to the president’s desk this year are slim, to say the least,” Tancredo said. “No plan with amnesty and a massive increase in foreign workers will pass the House,” he insisted.

“Americans want enforcement first, and disagreement over foreign workers should not prevent us from securing our borders,” Tancredo said.

The House passed a border security bill by a 239-182 margin in December. Among other things, the bill calls for a fence along the U.S. border; it cracks down on alien smuggling rings and those who come to this country illegally; and it sets up a system for employers to verify the legal status of the people they hire.

The bill does not include a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, nor does it include a guest worker program.


House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), the author of the border security bill, complained this week that critics of his bill are spreading misconceptions about it.

He said his bill give prosecutors new tools to fight smuggling rings. But it does not target humanitarian and church groups, as critics contend.

It’s “fear-mongering” to say that “clergy and good Samaritans will be thrown in jail,” he said. “That’s absolutely false — and beneath the level of dialogue this important issue deserves…Targeting alien smuggling gangs is the intent — and the effect — of the House bill,” Sensenbrenner added.

Sensenbrenner also noted that his bill would make “unlawful presence” in the U.S. a crime instead of a civil immigration offense.

Democrats, trying to poison the House bill, made “unlawful presence” a felony. Sensenbrenner and other Republicans wanted unlawful presence to be a misdemeanor, not a felony, but his amendment was rejected.

“While I was disappointed in this cynical maneuver taken by my Democratic colleagues, I remain committed to making unlawful presence a misdemeanor and producing a strong bill that will prevent illegal immigration and bolster control of our borders in an effective and compassionate way,” Sensenbrenner said.

Reprinted here with permission from Cybercast News Service. Visit the website at