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Muslim on Muslim violence does not divert the hypocritical gaze of the jihadist. Only imagined conflict pitting the west and modernity against Islam and tradition draws their ire.

While our foreign policy–that being the west in general–does play a role in stoking the naked hatred and aggression of terror groups such as al-Qaida, Abu Sayyaf, Hezbollah, and Hamas, it by no means consists as the primary make-up of the whole, and to claim as much is disingenuous. It is the Islamist ideology that stands at the center of their philosophical, religious, and political ideologies that exists as their principal rationalization behind their actions; all stemming from the Qur’an and the Hadith and a desire to emulate in all things their prophet, Muhammad.

Whether it be lying (taqqiya), plural marriage, spousal abuse, pedophilia, or murder, all is justifiable in the pages of the Muslim holy text with Muhammad setting the proper example for all good followers of Islam.

So while suicide and car bomb attacks will likely persist for decades, while the west continues to embrace such concepts as political correctness, multiculturalism, one-world governments, and unbridled, reckless equality, those who wish us harm will continue to exploit those weaknesses until, under our very noses, sharia law rules the land–overly dramatic yes, but a point that cries out for continued repetition rather than an absurd impossibility. Until our leaders can fully understand a concept of life within Dar al-Islam, we will only trudge ever on toward that possibility.

The Islamic world needs more moderate Muslim voices like M. Zuhdi Jasser and Asim Siddiqui below.

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Not in our name

Blaming UK foreign policy is not the answer. Where are the Muslim marches in revulsion against acts of terror in Islam’s name?

Asim Siddiqui

July 3, 2007 12:00 PM

Asim Siddiqui

The events of the last few days have been sobering for us all. The response from some UK Muslim groups (influenced by Islamist thinking) is still largely to blame foreign policy (undoubtedly an exacerbating influence but not the cause), rather than marching “not in my name” in revulsion against terrorist acts committed in Islam’s name. By blaming foreign policy they try to divert pressure off themselves from the real need to tackle extremism being peddled within. Diverting attention away from the problems within Muslim communities and blaming others – especially the west – is always more popular than the difficult task of self-scrutiny. And what part of foreign policy do the Islamists want us to change to tackle terrorism? Withdrawal from Iraq?

The UK presence on the ground in Iraq is minuscule compared to the US. We currently have 5,500 troops from 40,000 at the start of the invasion. We will reduce them further to 5,000 by the end of the summer. The bulk of which will be located near Basra airport in a supporting role. Next year will likely see the numbers dwindle even further. Our troop presence is far more symbolic than military. It provides the Americans with their “coalition of the willing”. The US, by contrast, is the only serious occupier in the country with over 160,000 troops. The government will not (and cannot) admit it, but we have been in withdrawal mode since the end of the war.

And once we’ve left Iraq, will they be satisfied? Of course not. Their list of grievances is endless: Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Burma … so long as the world is presented as one where the west is forever at war with Islam and Muslims there is nothing we can do to appease the terrorists and those who share their world view. Instead it is this extremist world view that must change.

Take for example the idea that radical Islamists are concerned about Muslim life (let’s ignore human life in general for a moment). Where is their outrage at the 400,000 Muslims slaughtered in Darfur? Where are the marches and calls for action against this ongoing genocide? Where is the “Muslim anger” boiling up amongst British Islamists? It is nowhere to be seen because the Darfurians have been massacred by fellow Muslims, not by the west. Hence it does not appear on the Islamist radar screen as a “grievance”. Such is the moral bankruptcy of this ideology.

No, it’s not foreign policy that’s the main driver in combating the terrorists; it is their mindset. The radical Islamist ideology needs to be exposed to young Muslims for what it really is. A tool for the introduction of a medieval form of governance that describes itself as an “Islamic state” that is violent, retrogressive, discriminatory, a perversion of the sacred texts and a totalitarian dictatorship.

When the IRA was busy blowing up London, there would have been little point in Irish “community leaders” urging “all” citizens to cooperate with the police equally when it was obvious the problem lay specifically within Irish communities. Likewise for Muslim “community leaders” to condemn terrorism is a no-brainer. What is required is for those that claim to represent and have influence among young British Muslims to proactively counter the extremist Islamist narrative. That is the biggest challenge for British Muslim leadership over the next five to 10 years. It is because they are failing to rise to this challenge that the government feels it needs to act by further eroding our civil liberties with anti-terror legislation to get the state to do what Muslims should be doing themselves. If British Muslim groups focus on grassroots de-radicalisation then this will provide civil liberty groups the space they need to argue against any further anti-terror legislation.

Of course I would like to see changes in our foreign policy and have marched on the streets (with thousands of non-Muslims) in protest on many occasions. But blaming foreign policy in the face of suicide attacks is not only tactless but a cop-out that fails to tackle extremism, fails to promote an ethical foreign policy and fails to protect our civil liberties.

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Simply, chalk one up for the good guys.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called the vote “a victory for fear- mongering and obstruction over a bipartisan commitment to fix our broken immigration system.”

Yeah, Kerry would say that. It all comes down to fear-mongering. That’s it. And should we feel comfortable when something as controversial as amnesty becomes greatly bi-partisan? Of course not. When a few senators secretly scheme behind closed doors in order to concoct something as dangerous and damaging as was this immigration reform bill, then personally attack those who are against it while rigorously rushing to move it through the legislative process as quickly as possible, shoving it down our throats, we should suspect that perhaps something else could be cooking behind the scenes.

Regardless, thanks to millions of Americans who actually care for the sovereignty of their country by committed pestering of their elected officials, this bill will not go through, and Bush’s arrogant statement, “I’ll see you at the signing ceremony” will not come to pass. His legacy is dead. Thank God.

Border security first!

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Hardly

Senate Blocks Immigration Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

The bill’s supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

Senators in both parties said the issue is so volatile that Congress is highly unlikely to revisit it this fall or next year, when the presidential election will increasingly dominate American politics.

A similar effort collapsed in the Congress last year, and the House has not bothered with an immigration bill this year, awaiting Senate action.

The vote was a stinging setback for Bush, who advocated the bill as an imperfect but necessary fix of current immigration practices in which many illegal immigrants use forged documents or lapsed visas to live and work in the United States.

It was a victory for Republican conservatives who strongly criticized the bill’s provisions that would have established pathways to lawful status for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. They were aided by talk radio and TV hosts who repeatedly attacked the bill and urged listeners to flood Congress with calls, faxes and e-mails.

Voting to allow the bill to proceed by ending debate were 33 Democrats, 12 Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman, Conn. Voting to block the bill by not limiting debate were 37 Republicans, 15 Democrats and independent Bernard Sanders, Vt. Tim Johnson, D-S.C., did not vote.

The bill would have toughened border security and instituted a new system for weeding out illegal immigrants from workplaces. It would have created a new guest worker program and allowed millions of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status if they briefly returned home.

Bush, making a last-ditch bid to salvage the bill, called senators early Thursday morning to urge their support. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez approached senators as they entered and left the chamber shortly before the vote.

“We have been in contact with members of Congress over the past couple of days and the president has made it clear that this is important to him,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said before the vote.

But conservatives from Bush’s own party led the opposition. They repeatedly said the government must secure the borders before allowing millions of illegal aliens a path to legal status.

“Americans feel that they are losing their country … to a government that has seemed to not have the competence or the ability to carry out the things that it says it will do,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole, R-N.C., said many Americans “don’t have confidence” that borders, especially with Mexico, will be significantly tightened. “It’s not just promises but proof that the American people want,” Dole said.

But the bill’s backers said border security and accommodations to illegal immigrants must go hand in hand.

“Year after year, we’ve had the broken borders,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. “Year after year, we’ve seen the exploitation of workers.”

After the vote, he said: “It is now clear that we are not going to complete our work on immigration reform. That is enormously disappointing for Congress and for the country.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told colleagues that if the bill faltered, the political climate almost surely would not allow a serious reconsideration until 2009 or later. It would be highly unlikely, she said, “in the next few years to fix the existing system … . We are so close.”

From the beginning, the bill’s most forceful opponents were southern Republicans. GOP Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Jeff Sessions of Alabama led the charge, often backed by Texan John Cornyn.

Two southern Republicans—Lindsey Graham, S.C., and Mel Martinez, Fla., who was born in Cuba—supported it.

Also crucial to the bill’s demise was opposition from three Democrats recently elected from GOP-leaning states. They were Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jim Webb of Virginia.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called the vote “a victory for fear- mongering and obstruction over a bipartisan commitment to fix our broken immigration system.”

 

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Thank you for your demand. Unfortunately for you, it isn’t happening.

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress – 1st Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on S.1639 )
Vote Number: 235 Vote Date: June 28, 2007, 11:04 AM
Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Cloture Motion Rejected
Measure Number: S. 1639
Measure Title: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.
Vote Counts: YEAs 46
  NAYs 53
  Not Voting 1
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Nay
Bayh (D-IN), Nay
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Coleman (R-MN), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Nay
Domenici (R-NM), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Not Voting
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Smith (R-OR), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Sununu (R-NH), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (R-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Grouped By Vote Position

YEAs —46
NAYs —53
Not Voting – 1
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Grouped by Home State

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Nay Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Nay
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Allard (R-CO), Nay Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Florida: Martinez (R-FL), Yea Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Yea Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Yea Obama (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Nay Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Nay Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Nay Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Minnesota: Coleman (R-MN), Nay Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Lott (R-MS), Yea
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Nay Tester (D-MT), Nay
Nebraska: Hagel (R-NE), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Yea Sununu (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Nay Domenici (R-NM), Nay
New York: Clinton (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Dole (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Nay Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Yea Specter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Not Voting Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Yea Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Yea Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Virginia: Warner (R-VA), Nay Webb (D-VA), Nay
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Nay Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Na

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The current immigration legislation debacle has hit a snag. A small victory has been achieved–postponement of a vote–largely due to riled American citizens calling and writing their congressmen and senators with indignant outrage focused on the measure itself and just about every member of the house and the senate whether they approve of the legislation or not. The legal, tax-paying individuals and families of the United States are justifiably vexed to say the least, and we are taking no prisoners with our elected officials–those who work for us–by threatening their future electability should they support such a flamboyant mockery of the legislative process embodied in the current immigration reform bill that would end up costing Americans massive amounts of their own money were it to fast-track its way through the senate as McCain, Kennedy, and Bush had hoped (to avert inevitable debate and eventual failure.)

But just how much would this legislation end up costing taxpayers? Millions? Billions? Try almost two and a half trillion dollars. This is money American citizens pay into the government in order to receive benefits in the form of social security, Medicare, unemployment, public education (the largest expenditure for state and local governments), general welfare, and much, much more. Now the senate wants to pass a law that would forgive and reward 15 to 20 million illegal aliens, allowing them instant access to legally obtaining the above benefits, without having paid into those programs during their years and decades living in the United States criminally. They have paid nothing in, but they will instantly have access to those benefits should the amnesty move forward and become law.

Welfare expert, Robert E. Rector from The Heritage Foundation has written an exhaustively thorough piece concerning this very issue. The recently concluded study, The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer (below in part), provides some startling statistics.

“On average, low-skill immigrant households re­ceived $30,160 per household in immediate govern­ment benefits and services in FY 2004, including direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and popula­tion-based services. By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes. Thus, low-skill immigrant households received nearly three dollars in benefits and services for each dollar in taxes paid.” [emphasis added]

Now multiply that by millions upon millions of illegal aliens. While I don’t find this finding surprising, three dollars in benefits for every one dollar paid into the system (assuming illegals are actually paying taxes as most of them are likely not, making this even worse) should be a distressing revelation to those who are detrimentally on the fence with this issue, but it should also exist as a pre-apocalyptic kicker to the open borders lobby. If their desire is to seek the ruin of the United States by importing the world’s poverty, then it seems clear the immigration legislation currently under debate would be the way to do it.

Still, the delay of a vote on the legislation postponed until after Memorial day is a win for America, and can doubtlessly be attributed to all of the legal citizens who called in and voiced their displeasure over this travesty of ‘law.’ This does not mean we can rest. It simply means we have more time to keep calling and more time to keep pestering our elected officials–more time to bully them into killing this immigration reform perversion.

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May 22, 2007

The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer

by Robert E. Rector and Christine Kim

Special Report #14

 

 

Each year, families and individuals pay taxes to the government and receive back a wide variety of services and benefits. A fiscal deficit occurs when the benefits and services received by one group exceed the taxes paid. When such a deficit occurs, other groups must pay for the services and benefits of the group in deficit. Each year, govern­ment is involved in a large-scale transfer of resources between different social groups.

Fiscal distribution analysis measures the distribution of total government benefits and taxes in society. It pro­vides an assessment of the magnitude of government transfers between groups. This paper provides a fiscal distri­bution analysis of households headed by immigrants without a high school diploma. It measures the total benefits and services received by this group and the total taxes paid. The difference between benefits received and taxes paid represents the total resources transferred by government on behalf of this group from the rest of society.

The first step in an analysis of the distribution of benefits and taxes is to count accurately the cost of all benefits and services provided by the government. The size and cost of government is far larger than many people imagine. In fiscal year (FY) 2004, the expenditures of the federal government were $2.3 trillion. In the same year, expendi­tures of state and local governments were $1.45 trillion. The combined value of federal, state, and local expenditures in FY 2004 was $3.75 trillion.[1]

The sum of $3.75 trillion is so large that it is difficult to comprehend. One way to grasp the size of government more readily is to calculate average expenditures per household. In 2004, there were some 115 million households in the U.S.[2] (This figure includes multi-person families and single persons living alone.) The average cost of govern­ment spending thus amounted to $32,707 per household across the U.S. population.[3]

The $3.75 trillion in government expenditure is not free, but must be paid for by taxing or borrowing economic resources from Americans or by borrowing from abroad. In general, government expenditures are funded by taxes and fees. In FY 2004, federal taxes amounted to $1.82 trillion. State and local taxes and related revenues amounted to $1.6 trillion.[4] Together, federal, state, and local taxes amounted to $3.43 trillion. At $3.43 trillion, taxes and related revenues came to 91 percent of the $3.75 trillion in expenditures. The gap between taxes and spending was financed by government borrowing.

Types of Government Expenditure

After the full cost of government benefits and services has been determined, the next step in the analysis of the distribution of benefits and taxes is to determine the beneficiaries of specific government programs. Some programs, such as Social Security, neatly parcel out benefits to specific individuals. With programs such as these, it is relatively easy to determine the identity of the beneficiary and the cost of the benefit provided. At the opposite extreme, other government programs (for example, medical research at the National Institutes of Health) do not neatly parcel out benefits to individuals. Determining the proper allocation of the benefits of that type of program is more difficult.

To ascertain most accurately the distribution of government benefits and services, this study begins by divid­ing government expenditures into six categories: direct benefits, means-tested benefits, educational services, pop­ulation-based services, interest and other financial obligations resulting from prior government activity, and pure public goods.

Direct Benefits

Direct benefit programs involve either cash transfers or the purchase of specific services for an individual. Unlike means-tested programs (described below), direct benefit programs are not limited to low-income persons. By far the largest direct benefit programs are Social Security and Medicare. Other substantial direct benefit programs are Unemployment Insurance and Workmen’s Compensation.

Direct benefit programs involve a fairly transparent transfer of economic resources. The benefits are parceled out discretely to individuals in the population; both the recipient and the cost of the benefit are relatively easy to deter­mine. In the case of Social Security, the cost of the benefit would equal the value of the Social Security check plus the administrative costs involved in delivering the benefit.

Calculating the cost of Medicare services is more complex. Ordinarily, government does not seek to compute the particular medical services received by an individual. Instead, government counts the cost of Medicare for an individual as equal to the average per capita cost of Medicare services. (This number equals the total cost of Medicare services divided by the total number of recipients.)[5] Overall, government spent $840 billion on direct benefits in FY 2004.

Means-Tested Benefits

Means-tested programs are typically termed welfare programs. Unlike direct benefits, means-tested programs are available only to households below specific income thresholds. Means-tested welfare programs provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income persons.

The federal government operates over 60 means-tested aid programs.[6] The largest of these are Medicaid; the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); food stamps; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Section 8 housing; public housing; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); the school lunch and breakfast programs; the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) nutrition program; and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). Many means-tested programs, such as SSI and the EITC, provide cash to recipients. Others, such as public housing or SSBG, pay for ser­vices that are provided to recipients.

The value of Medicaid benefits is usually counted in a manner similar to Medicare benefits. Government does not attempt to itemize the specific medical services given to an individual; instead, it computes an average per capita cost of services to individuals in different beneficiary categories such as children, elderly persons, and disabled adults. (The average per capita cost for a particular group is determined by dividing the total expenditures on the group by the total number of beneficiaries in the group.) Overall, the U.S. spent $564 billion on means-tested aid in FY 2004.[7]

Public Education

Government provides primary, secondary, post-secondary, and vocational education to individuals. In most cases, the government pays directly for the cost of educational services provided. In other cases, such as the Pell Grant program, the government in effect provides money to an eligible individual who then spends it on educational services.

Education is the single largest component of state and local government spending, absorbing roughly a third of all state and local expenditures. The average per pupil cost of public primary and secondary education is now around $9,600 per year. Overall, federal, state, and local governments spent $590 billion on education in FY 2004.

Population-Based Services

Whereas direct benefits, means-tested benefits, and education services provide discrete benefits and services to particular individuals, population-based programs generally provide services to a whole group or community. Pop­ulation-based expenditures include police and fire protection, courts, parks, sanitation, and food safety and health inspections. Another important population-based expenditure is transportation, especially roads and highways.

A key feature of population-based expenditures is that such programs generally need to expand as the popula­tion of a community expands. (This quality separates them from pure public goods, described below.) For example, as the population of a community increases, the number of police and firemen will generally need to expand in pro­portion.

In its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, The New Americans, the National Academy of Sciences argued that if service remains fixed while the population increases, a program will become “congested,” and the quality of service for users will deteriorate. Thus, the NAS uses the term “congestible goods” to describe population-based services.[8] High­ways are an obvious example of this point. In general, the cost of population-based services can be allocated according to an individual’s estimated utilization of the service or at a flat per capita cost across the relevant population.

A sub-category of population-based services is government administrative support functions such as tax collec­tions and legislative activities. Few taxpayers view tax collection as a government benefit; therefore, assigning the cost of this “benefit” appears problematic.

The solution to this dilemma is to conceptualize government activities into two categories: primary functions and secondary functions. Primary functions provide benefits directly to the public; they include direct and means-tested benefits, education, ordinary population-based services such as police and parks and public goods. By con­trast, secondary or support functions do not provide direct benefits to the public but do provide necessary support services that enable the government to perform primary functions. For example, no one can receive food stamp ben­efits unless the government first collects taxes to fund the program. Secondary functions can thus be considered an inherent part of the “cost of production” of primary functions, and the benefits of secondary support functions can be allocated among the population in proportion to the allocation of benefits from government primary functions.

Government spent $662 billion on population-based services in FY 2004. Of this amount, some $546 billion went for ordinary services such as police and parks, and $116 billion went for administrative support functions.

MORE…

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 Senate Puts Off Action on Immigration

May 22, 4:27 AM (ET)
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate leaders agreed Monday that they would wait until June to take final action on a bipartisan plan to give millions of unlawful immigrants legal status.

The measure, which also tightens border security and workplace enforcement measures, unites a group of influential liberals, centrists and conservatives and has White House backing, but it has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum. In a nod to that opposition, Senate leaders won’t seek to complete it before a hoped-for Memorial Day deadline.

“It would be to the best interests of the Senate … that we not try to finish this bill this week,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., as the chamber began debate on the volatile issue. “I think we could, but I’m afraid the conclusion wouldn’t be anything that anyone wanted.”

The bipartisan compromise cleared its first hurdle Monday with a bipartisan Senate vote to begin debate on a separate immigration measure. Still, it faces significant obstacles as lawmakers seek dozens of modifications to its key elements.

(AP) Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., center, accompanied by Sen. Jeff Session, R-Ala., left, and Rep. Brian…
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Republicans want to make the bill tougher on the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Democrats want to change a new temporary worker program and reorder priorities in a merit-based system for future immigration that weights employability over family ties.

The unlikely coalition that brokered the deal, led by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is plotting to protect the agreement from “deal-breaker” changes that would sap its support. The group will hold daily meetings starting Tuesday to determine whether proposed revisions would sink what they are calling their “grand bargain.”

“We have to try our very best to work together to get something that will actually pass,” Kyl said.

Among the first changes to be debated will be a proposal by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., to shrink the temporary worker program created by the compromise plan. Some lawmakers in both parties consider the initiative, which would provide at least 400,000 guest worker visas annually, too large.

Others charge it’s impractical and unfair to immigrants, because it would allow them to stay only temporarily in the U.S. without guaranteeing them a chance to gain legal status.

“We must not create a law that guarantees a permanent underclass, people who are here to work in low-wage, low-skilled jobs but do not have the chance to put down roots or benefit from the opportunities of American citizenship,” Reid said.

Reid called the measure a “starting point,” but said he had reservations about it.

Conservative critics denounced the proposal’s quick granting of legal status to millions of unlawful immigrants.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the measure’s so-called “point system” doesn’t do enough to guarantee that future immigration will serve the country’s economic needs.

“I’m nervous about this thing,” said Sessions, who voted not to go forward with the debate. He called the point scheme “bait” to get conservatives to embrace the measure, and accused Republicans of compromising too much on an outline drafted by the White House in late March to attract GOP support.

“I’m disappointed – almost heartbroken – because we made some progress toward getting to this new framework, but the political wheeling and dealing and compromising and splitting the baby has resulted in a circumstance that, you know, we just didn’t get far enough,” Sessions said.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who also opposed opening debate, announced she would seek to alter the bill to mandate that illegal immigrants go back to their home countries before gaining legal status.

Under the proposal, that requirement only applies to heads of households seeking green cards and a path to citizenship. Others here unlawfully could obtain visas to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely without returning home.

Kennedy, called the plan “strong, realistic and fair.”

“For each of us who crafted it, there are elements that we strongly support and elements we believe could be improved. No one believes this is a perfect bill,” Kennedy said.

The White House has begun an active lobbying effort to drum up support for the measure, especially among Republicans who voted against an immigration overhaul last year.

President Bush is still hoping to sign the bill by summer’s end, said Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman.

“This is a very high priority for the president,” Fratto told reporters in Crawford, Texas. “We know that this is an emotional issue for members on both sides of political parties and both sides of the ideological spectrum, but we hope that we can find common ground.”

Conservatives in the House, whose opposition helped kill an immigration overhaul last year, began laying down markers in anticipation of their own debate, expected only if the Senate completes its measure.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., unveiled legislation he said was “an alternative to several of the large holes in the so-called Senate compromise.”

It would send home illegal immigrants who had been in the U.S. for fewer than five years and bar them from gaining lawful status.

Those in the country five years or more would be able to get a “blue card” to live and work legally in the U.S. after paying a $1,000 fine and learning English and American civics, but they could not bring their families. Blue card holders would have to leave the country to apply for legal residency.

In contrast, the bipartisan Senate compromise would allow illegal immigrants in the country by the beginning of this year to adjust their status.

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If you do not at least call ten of the names listed below in order to protest the brutally unfair amnesty legislation being proposed, please do not come back to this site. You are not welcome here.

To get an idea of what this country will be like in the future if this amnesty passes (and this is only one amnesty–more will come if this one passes) then please listen to my Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa at yesterday’s anti-LAPD/pro-illegal alien rally held in downtown LA. Villaraigosa is a man with great ambition. He wants to be governor. He wants to be president. You’d better start learning to speak Spanish now, because if this amnesty passes, this is what you will get.

This is the sound of your (future?) leader.
(Right click, Save as…to save the speech to your computer.)

Courtesy of the John and Ken show page…

CALL BOXER, FEINSTEIN, MCCAIN, OR ANY OTHER FOOL IN THE SENATE AND TELL THEM YOU REJECT AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS!

And give special attention to these politicians:

Senator Boxer:
202-224-3553 (D.C)
213-894-5000 (L.A)
909-888-8525 (Inland Empire)
E-mail

Senator Feinstein:
202-224-3841 (D.C)
310-914-7300 (L.A)
E-mail
Senator McCain:
(202) 224-2235 (D.C)
(602) 952-2410 (Phoenix)
(480) 897-6289 (Tempe)
(520) 670-6334 (Tucson)
E-mail
johnmccain.com

John Peschong – Senior Advisor to the California McCain for President Campaign:
916-648-1222, ext. 13 (Sacramento)

Senator Jon Kyl (author of this amnesty plan):
(202) 224-4521 (DC)
(602) 840-1891 (Phoenix)
(520) 575-8633 (Tucson)
E-mail
Kyl’s website says, “Securing the borders of the United States to protect against the entry of terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal aliens – while keeping them open for legitimate visitors and commerce – is one of my highest priorities.”
Oh really?

Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Leader:
Washington, DC Office
Phone: (202) 224-2541
Fax: (202) 224-2499

US SENATORS - use toll free number 866.340.9281

Akaka, Daniel K.- (D – HI) (202) 224-6361
Alexander, Lamar- (R – TN) (202) 224-4944
Allard, Wayne- (R – CO) (202) 224-5941
Baucus, Max- (D – MT) (202) 224-2651
Bayh, Evan- (D – IN) (202) 224-5623
Bennett, Robert F.- (R – UT) (202) 224-5444
Biden, Joseph R., Jr.- (D – DE) (202) 224-5042
Bingaman, Jeff- (D – NM) (202) 224-5521
Bond, Christopher S.- (R – MO) (202) 224-5721
Boxer, Barbara- (D – CA) (202) 224-3553
Brown, Sherrod- (D – OH) (202) 224-2315
Brownback, Sam- (R – KS) (202) 224-6521
Bunning, Jim- (R – KY) (202) 224-4343
Burr, Richard- (R – NC) (202) 224-3154
Byrd, Robert C.- (D – WV) (202) 224-3954
Cantwell, Maria- (D – WA) (202) 224-3441
Cardin, Benjamin L.- (D – MD) (202) 224-4524
Carper, Thomas R.- (D – DE) (202) 224-2441
Casey, Robert P., Jr.- (D – PA) (202) 224-6324
Chambliss, Saxby- (R – GA) (202) 224-3521
Clinton, Hillary Rodham- (D – NY) (202) 224-4451
Coburn, Tom- (R – OK) (202) 224-5754
Cochran, Thad- (R – MS) (202) 224-5054
Coleman, Norm- (R – MN) (202) 224-5641
Collins, Susan M.- (R – ME) (202) 224-2523
Conrad, Kent- (D – ND) (202) 224-2043
Corker, Bob- (R – TN) (202) 224-3344
Cornyn, John- (R – TX) (202) 224-2934
Craig, Larry E.- (R – ID) (202) 224-2752
Crapo, Mike- (R – ID) (202) 224-6142
DeMint, Jim- (R – SC) (202) 224-6121
Dodd, Christopher J.- (D – CT) (202) 224-2823
Dole, Elizabeth- (R – NC) (202) 224-6342
Domenici, Pete V.- (R – NM) (202) 224-6621
Dorgan, Byron L.- (D – ND) (202) 224-2551
Durbin, Richard – (D – IL (202) 224-2152
Ensign, John- (R – NV) (202) 224-6244
Enzi, Michael B.- (R – WY) (202) 224-3424
Feingold, Russell D.- (D – WI) (202) 224-5323
Feinstein, Dianne- (D – CA) (202) 224-3841
Graham, Lindsey- (R – SC) (202) 224-5972
Grassley, Chuck- (R – IA) (202) 224-3744
Gregg, Judd- (R – NH) (202) 224-3324
Hagel, Chuck- (R – NE) (202) 224-4224
Harkin, Tom- (D – IA) (202) 224-3254
Hatch, Orrin G.- (R – UT) (202) 224-5251
Hutchison, Kay Bailey- (R – TX) (202) 224-5922
Inhofe, James M.- (R – OK) (202) 224-4721
Inouye, Daniel K.- (D – HI) (202) 224-3934
Isakson, Johnny- (R – GA) (202) 224-3643
Johnson, Tim- (D – SD) (202) 224-5842
Kennedy, Edward M.- (D – MA) (202) 224-4543
Kerry, John F.- (D – MA) (202) 224-2742
Klobuchar, Amy- (D – MN) (202) 224-3244
Kohl, Herb- (D – WI) (202) 224-5653
Kyl, Jon- (R – AZ) (202) 224-4521
Landrieu, Mary L.- (D – LA) (202) 224-5824
Lautenberg, Frank R.- (D – NJ) (202) 224-3224
Leahy, Patrick J.- (D – VT) (202) 224-4242
Levin, Carl- (D – MI) (202) 224-6221
Lieberman, Joseph I.- (ID – CT) (202) 224-4041
Lincoln, Blanche L.- (D – AR) (202) 224-4843
Lott, Trent- (R – MS) (202) 224-6253
Lugar, Richard G.- (R – IN) (202) 224-4814
Martinez, Mel- (R – FL) (202) 224-3041
McCain, John- (R – AZ) (202) 224-2235
McCaskill, Claire- (D – MO) (202) 224-6154
McConnell, Mitch- (R – KY) (202) 224-2541
Menendez, Robert- (D – NJ) (202) 224-4744
Mikulski, Barbara A.- (D – MD) (202) 224-4654
Murkowski, Lisa- (R – AK) (202) 224-6665
Murray, Patty- (D – WA) (202) 224-2621
Nelson, Bill- (D – FL) (202) 224-5274
Nelson, E. Benjamin- (D – NE) (202) 224-6551
Obama, Barack- (D – IL) (202) 224-2854
Pryor, Mark L.- (D – AR) (202) 224-2353
Reed, Jack- (D – RI) (202) 224-4642
Reid, Harry- (D – NV) (202) 224-3542
Roberts, Pat- (R – KS) (202) 224-4774
Rockefeller, John D., IV- (D – WV) (202) 224-6472
Salazar, Ken- (D – CO) (202) 224-5852
Sanders, Bernard- (I – VT) (202) 224-5141
Schumer, Charles E.- (D – NY) (202) 224-6542
Sessions, Jeff- (R – AL) (202) 224-4124
Shelby, Richard C.- (R – AL) (202) 224-5744
Smith, Gordon H.- (R – OR) (202) 224-3753
Snowe, Olympia J.- (R – ME) (202) 224-5344
Specter, Arlen- (R – PA) (202) 224-4254
Stabenow, Debbie- (D – MI) (202) 224-4822
Stevens, Ted- (R – AK) (202) 224-3004
Sununu, John E.- (R – NH) (202) 224-2841
Tester, Jon- (D – MT) (202) 224-2644
Thomas, Craig- (R – WY) (202) 224-6441
Thune, John- (R – SD) (202) 224-2321
Vitter, David- (R – LA) (202) 224-4623
Voinovich, George V.- (R – OH) (202) 224-3353
Warner, John- (R – VA) (202) 224-2023
Webb, Jim- (D – VA) (202) 224-4024
Whitehouse, Sheldon- (D – RI) (202) 224-2921
Wyden, Ron- (D – OR) (202) 224-5244

Toll Free Congressional switchboard: 1-800-862-5530 or 202-224-3121

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Photo

I will say this at the beginning: During the May 1st illegal alien rally held in McArthur Park two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Police Department personnel stationed in that area responded far too excessively to a situation that required a determined and disciplined counter to a few thugs who used the rally for their own anarchistic ends.

Instead, the LAPD blew it. They blew it for themselves as an organization that seems eternally steeped in community recovery efforts, and to a lesser degree, they blew it for people such as myself who remain staunch advocates opposed to illegal immigration. Everyone understands and most reasonably agree the LAPD far exceeded their use of force (but not their authority) during the McArthur Park rally. Chief Bill Bratton was the first to come forward and accept responsibility for the unnecessarily brutal actions taken by those under his command (Mayor Villaraigosa was nowhere to be found–he was dubiously conducting international diplomacy in Latin America.) Bratton condemned those actions and he immediately punished officers who took the lead in the debacle. Additionally, the chief has borne witness to countless community members (I won’t say citizens since most are probably illegals) during public meetings as he and the LAPD in general were vilified and disparaged by a myriad of angry Los Angeles residents–people whose ire, without deviation was directed squarely upon Bratton and the police department. Again, understandably so and the police chief admitted as much.

Yet those who came out in denunciation against the rock and bottle-throwing hoodlums responsible for triggering the entire mess in the first place were few and far between, if there were any at all. The police response was disproportionate, antagonistic, and irresponsible. The thugs who initiated the whole mess were and are despicable. Yet even our Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said little to excoriate the few dirt bags who turned a relatively peaceful day into something that is now dramatically referred to as “The May Day Melee.” Instead, he has joined the mass of legal citizens and illegal aliens who simply wish to impugn the entirety of the LAPD.

Going that extra mile, as he is always want to do in situation where he’s guaranteed a high degree of media attention, Villaraigosa has decided to turn his back on the Los Angeles Police Department by attending a highly publicized rally taking place this evening in McArthur Park. The rally is being headed by Nativo Lopez, left-wing illegal alien proponent, open borders advocate, and amnesty champion for 12 to 20 million criminals living in the United States in direct violation of our laws. And Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, along with illegal-aliens-should-have-a-drivers-license-too Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, will be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Lopez at this obviously anti-LAPD rah-rah.

While I’m most likely repeating myself, Villaraigosa has chosen not to represent me as a legal resident of the United States and citizen of Los Angeles. Nor does he represent any of the other millions of legal Angelinos unfortunate enough to live under his reign. Villaraigosa is squarely in league with illegal aliens and Mexican nationals who break our laws, who run down our education system, who destroy our state health care institutions, who import and sell drugs, and who murder legal citizens. Villaraigosa has declared his deplorable intentions against me and everyone else of legal status in this city–he cares not for our concerns. Yet if you’re an illegal alien, he’ll be there for you. He may even let you register to vote.

Of course, this only further brings to light the breaking news of the day concerning the immigration reform/amnesty bill agreement between several “key senators.” Any bill or law that focuses on amnesty first and border enforcement second, as does this one, will ultimately fail with disastrous results. How many times does it need to be said? Secure the border first, then look at dealing with the millions of illegals already in this country.

One important factor many of the apparently clueless political progenitors in charge of the country seem to overlook is the simple fact of repetition from absolution acutely evidenced after the illegal alien amnesty granted back in 1986. After that amnesty the U.S. saw one of the largest floods of illegals pour into this country–more illegals hoping for another amnesty–simply because they did not take border enforcement seriously prior to passing that legislation. And it will happen again if anything resembling an amnesty passes. Not only do we receive multitudes more before a proposed amnesty, without a secure border we simply repeat the process ad infinitum until this country is buried under the weight of its imported and impoverished masses. The third world latino dystopias that fester in most of our large cities will boil over with disillusionment, anger, and eventual rebellion pointed at those considered the elite–the middle-class. Don’t think it will happen? Look at the suburban Paris riots of 2005. It’s nearly the same scenario. Little to no attempt at assimilation by these groups only expands the chasm between their culture and ours, worsening the situation even further.

Perhaps this will all one day be moot anyway. With the recent discovery that ethically questionable groups such as the National Council of La Raza and MALDEF are being allowed virtual veto power over any immigration bill that does not meet with their standards and their demands (see below), one can discern where this road we’re traveling is likely guiding us.

Maybe affirmative action laws aren’t so bad. As an Anglo living in the United States of the future, I may need them.

The image “http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070507/capt.7c6f6bd55320477f947acb45e22de428.immigration_rally_clash_cadd101.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Mayor, Speaker To Join Rally Protesting LAPD Behavior

Police Chief Also Plans To Attend; Deputy Chief To Retire

POSTED: 6:38 am PDT May 17, 2007

UPDATED: 11:59 am PDT May 17, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez are among those expected to join immigrant-rights activists Thursday for a march and rally to denounce the actions of Los Angeles riot police at a May Day rally at MacArthur Park.

The event will begin with a town hall-style meeting at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, followed by a 10-block procession to MacArthur Park, where organizers will hold a candlelight vigil and a series of performances.

“The LAPD denied our community both a political and physical space to nonviolently claim our rights to legalization for all undocumented immigrants and a fair immigration reform for the country,” said the event’s organizer, Mexican American Political Association President Nativo Lopez. “Political leaders and organizations throughout the country stand solidly with us.”

Due to street closures for the event, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will reroute 14 bus lines operating on and around Wilshire Boulevard between 4 and 10 p.m.

The affected bus lines are 18, 20, 21, 26, 51, 52, 200, 201, 204, 209, 352, 603, 720 and 754, according to Metro officials. Signs will be posted at affected bus stops to inform riders when and where the buses will be detoured.

Demonstrators, journalists and police officers were injured at the end of an immigration march in MacArthur Park May 1, when police tried to disperse some people who moved off the sidewalk into Alvarado Street.

Some demonstrators responded by throwing plastic bottles and rocks at officers, according to police. Officers clad in riot gear used batons and fired 146 rounds of foam-rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

A preliminary version of the LAPD’s after-action report will be heard by the full City Council on May 30. In a separate investigation, the department is checking into complaints filed by demonstrators and journalists injured during the fracas.

A third LAPD investigation is aimed at searching for those who allegedly started the confrontation by throwing rocks and plastic bottles at officers.

Separately, the Police Commission is investigating the matter, while the FBI launched a preliminary probe to determine whether the LAPD committed civil rights violations.

Police Chief William Bratton has blamed a leadership breakdown at the scene for police measures that he has described as inappropriate.

Bratton, who will be at the LAPD’s assembly area at today’s rally, according to his office, told KPCC-FM on Wednesday that the ranking officer who was in MacArthur Park during the May 1 melee has decided to retire rather than continue on home duty pending an investigation.

Bratton announced last week that Deputy Chief Cayler “Lee” Carter Jr. Carter was being demoted from deputy chief to commander and reassigned from his job as command officer of Operations Central Bureau to his home.

The chief said Wednesday that Carter has decided to retire effective June 6.

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Agreement Reached on Immigration Reform

May 17 01:41 PM US/Eastern
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – Key senators and the White House reached agreement Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border. The plan would create a temporary worker program to bring new arrivals to the U.S. A separate program would cover agricultural workers. New high-tech enforcement measures also would be instituted to verify that workers are here legally.

The compromise came after weeks of painstaking closed-door negotiations that brought the most liberal Democrats and the most conservative Republicans together with President Bush’s Cabinet officers to produce a highly complex measure that carries heavy political consequences.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said he expects Bush to endorse the agreement.

The accord sets the stage for what promises to be a bruising battle next week in the Senate on one of Bush’s top non-war priorities.

The key breakthrough came when negotiators struck a bargain on a so- called “point system” that would for the first time prioritize immigrants’ education and skill level over family connections in deciding how to award green cards.

The draft bill “gives a path out of the shadows and toward legal status for those who are currently here” illegally, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

A spokesman for Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., one of his party’s key players in the talks, confirmed that the group had reached agreement.

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a “Z visa” and—after paying fees and a $5,000 fine—ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of household would have to return to their home countries first.

They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed.

A new temporary guest worker program would also have to wait until those so-called “triggers” had been activated.

Those workers would have to return home after work stints of two years, with little opportunity to gain permanent legal status or ever become U.S. citizens. They could renew their guest worker visas twice, but would be required to leave for a year in between each time.

Democrats had pressed instead for guest workers to be permitted to stay and work indefinitely in the U.S.

In perhaps the most hotly debated change, the proposed plan would shift from an immigration system primarily weighted toward family ties toward one with preferences for people with advanced degrees and sophisticated skills. Republicans have long sought such revisions, which they say are needed to end “chain migration” that harms the economy, while some Democrats and liberal groups say it’s an unfair system that rips families apart.

Family connections alone would no longer be enough to qualify for a green card—except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.

New limits would apply to U.S. citizens seeking to bring foreign-born parents into the country.

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Latino Groups Play Key Role on Hill

Virtual Veto Power in Immigration Debate

By Krissah Williams and Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 16, 2007; Page A04

When Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) declared last week that unnamed “stakeholders” would decide whether Congress overhauls immigration law this year, Latino organizations in Washington understood exactly what he meant.

After laboring in obscurity for decades, groups such as the National Council of La Raza, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the National Immigration Forum are virtually being granted veto power over perhaps the biggest domestic issue coming before Congress this year. Organizations that represent what is now the nation’s largest minority group are beginning to achieve power commensurate with their numbers.

“There’s a real sense that the Latino community is key to the solution in this debate, so now they are reaching out to us more than ever,” said Eric Gutierrez, lead lobbyist for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF. “Neither party wants to make a misstep politically.”

Such groups were practically in the room yesterday, maintaining contact as Democratic and Republican senators tried to hammer out a new immigration bill before a deadline set by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) for today before he moved it last night to Monday. The contours began to emerge for a bill that would couple a tightening of border controls with a guest-worker program and new avenues for an estimated 12 million undocumented workers to work legally.

Negotiators agreed yesterday that illegal immigrants would be granted a new Z Visa, allowing legal residency for eight years. During that time, the head of an undocumented household would have to temporarily go back to the home country to apply for permanent U.S. legal status for his or her family. Holders of Z Visas would then have to pay a fine and back taxes, undergo a criminal background check, and begin to work toward citizenship.

But Republicans and Democrats were still trying to bridge a deep divide over two remaining issues: Whether 400,000 foreigners entering the country as temporary workers would have to leave the country after three years or be granted a chance to stay permanently, and how extended family ties should be weighed in granting visas to those seeking to enter the country.

A deal on those tough issues could depend on the assent of Kennedy’s “stakeholders,” Democratic negotiators agreed. Democratic leaders, who are fighting for the loyalty of the fast-growing Latino electorate, have no desire to embrace legislation that could end up alienating the voters they are trying to woo.

The early word from the groups is not promising.

“Some of the proposals that are coming from the negotiations in the Senate and White House are measures that the immigrant community advocates are wholly against, particularly the elimination of some aspects of family reunification,” said William Ramos, a spokesman for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

The groups also oppose a policy that would force immigrants to return to their home countries for an extended period and to petition for reentry.

Latino organizations know well that they have muscle to flex. A bill passed by the House last year that would have made illegal immigration a felony drove millions of Latinos into the streets in cities across the country last spring.

When the current immigration law was written 21 years ago, the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, tacitly approved the legislation, even though it provided no direct path to citizenship for most temporary workers. But the Latino community was much smaller then, and illegal immigration was a regional issue, confined mostly to California, Texas and New York.

Today, U.S. citizens of Latino descent, having eclipsed African Americans as the nation’s largest minority, are far more organized and politically active. “We’re not going to let them screw it up,” said Brent A. Wilkes, LULAC’s national executive director.

LULAC, MALDEF, La Raza and the National Immigration Forum are part of a broad network of immigrant rights groups that hold nightly conference calls and strategy sessions on the legislation. The groups speak daily with top aides in Reid’s and Kennedy’s offices.

The White House, well aware that immigration may offer President Bush his last best chance at a major domestic achievement for his second term, has worked hard to keep the groups on board, even as Bush has shifted to the right with a new plan that is tougher than the proposals he embraced last year.

The White House held a meeting 2 1/2 weeks ago with Latino advocates, labor unions and civil rights organizations in which an adviser outlined an administration’s policy based on increased border security and a temporary-worker program. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez have also met with some of the groups.

“At least they are paying attention to us,” said MALDEF President John Trasviña.

The groups have also made it clear to Republicans that they are willing to press hard this year.

“Power is not handed over. To get your place at the table, you have to fight for it,” Wilkes said.

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