Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Nod And A Wink

(Editorial cartoon by Mike Luckovich and published 11/27/12 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Click on image to enlarge and then please come back.)

Most of the news concerning the lame-duck Congress these days has to do with the looming "fiscal cliff" and the apocalypse which will happen if something isn't done RIGHT NOW.  But some of the cannier Republicans, mindful of the solid trouncing they just took in the election, have finally decided their party needs to reach out to the Hispanic vote.  Of course, they are not proposing anything substantive right now, just making noises as if they were.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Three Republican senators introduced an alternative to the Dream Act on Tuesday that would give legal status to young immigrants brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children.

Later this week, the House is expected to vote on a bill that would increase the number of visas for technology jobs, while reducing other legal immigration.

But these efforts are unlikely to become law and amount to little more than political showboating. ...

Retiring Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) introduced the Achieve Act on Tuesday. The bill, also sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), appeared to be an attempt to take some heat off Republicans on immigration.

In a news conference, Hutchison said she believed it would be better to tackle small pieces of immigration reform one at a time because agreement on a large package had proven too difficult.

Fewer young immigrants would qualify under her proposal than would have been eligible under the Dream Act. Unlike the Dream Act, the GOP bill would not guarantee a pathway to citizenship.

Under the Republican proposal, applicants who were brought to the U.S. before age 14 could apply for student visas if they are under 29 and enrolled in a college-degree program in the U.S. Applicants under 32 would qualify if they already held a degree from an American college.

After college graduation, immigrants could apply for work visas that would be renewable every four years for the rest of their lives. Unlike the Dream Act, the bill doesn't guarantee permanent residency. If an employer or a family member sponsored them, they could get in line for a green card and eventually apply for citizenship.   [Emphasis added]

How very serious a proposal.

Of course, it is made by two senators who are retiring and have nothing to lose and one senator who will still be on Sunday talk shows leaking at the mouth no matter what happens for the rest of his life.  But it is intended to show the public that the GOP cares, it really cares about Hispanics.

Yeah, right.  And my real name is Marie and I'm the Queen of Rumania.

To be fair, as the article points out, there has been some bipartisan conferencing about immigration reform, but it is clear that any such reform will come in the 113th Congress, not the 112th.  And the parties to that discussion are keeping the talks confidential, so it's hard to tell just how far the GOP will bend on the issue of what its members keep referring to as "amnesty" for the millions of undocumented Hispanics already here.  We will just have to wait to see what that involves.

We continue to live in interesting times.

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