Harry Reid calls Illegals "undocumented Americans"

What’s the point of making illegals go through a path to citizenship when Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid declares on the floor of the Senate that the 12 million people who are in this country illegally are actually “12 million undocumented Americans.” Americans! Michelle Malkin is right when she says that the concept of American citizenship is now dead. Watch the video yourself; it’s front and center on Reid’s own site.

Bryan at Hot Air captured it in case Reid’s people take it down.

Update: I wrote in a post last night that Reid may shelve the bill if a vote for cloture scheduled to take place tomorrow fails. Let’s hope it fails because this bill has so many holes in it that it will do nothing but exacerbate the immigration problem. Senator Jeff Sessions outlines the twenty loopholes in the bill that will keep it from actually doing anything. Here are a few of them:

Legal Status Before Enforcement

Amnesty benefits do not wait for the “enforcement trigger.” After filing an application and waiting 24 hours, illegal aliens will receive full “probationary benefits,” complete with the ability to legally live and work in the U.S., travel outside of the U.S. and return, and their own social security card. Astonishingly, if the trigger is never met and amnesty applications are therefore never “approved,” the probationary benefits granted to the illegal alien population never expire, and the new social security cards issued to the illegal alien population are not revoked.

Trigger Requires No More Agents, Beds, or Fencing Than Current Law

The “enforcement trigger” does not require the Department of Homeland Security to have detention space sufficient to end “catch and release” at the border and in the interior. Even after the adoption of amendment 1172, the trigger merely requires the addition of 4,000 detention beds, bringing DHS to a 31,500 bed capacity. This is far short of the 43,000 beds required under current law to be in place by the end of 2007, or the additional 20,000 beds required later in the bill. Additionally, the bill establishes a “catch, pay, and release” program. This policy will benefit illegal aliens from countries other than Mexico that are caught at the border, then can post a $5,000 bond, be released and never show up for deportation hearings. Annual failure to appear rates for 2005 and 2006, caused in part by lack of detention space, doubled the 2004 rate (106,000 – 110,000 compared with 54,000). Claims that the bill “expands fencing” are inaccurate. The bill only requires 370 miles of fencing to be completed, while current law already mandates that more than 700 miles be constructed

Three Additional Years Worth of Illegal Aliens Granted Status, Treated Preferentially To Legal Filers

Aliens who broke into the country illegally a mere 5 months ago, are treated better than foreign nationals who legally applied to come to the U.S. more than two years ago. Aliens who can prove they were illegally in the U.S. on January 1, 2007, are immediately eligible to apply from inside the U.S. for amnesty benefits, while foreign nationals that filed applications to come to the U.S. after May 1, 2005 must start the application process over again from their home countries. Last year’s bill required illegal aliens to have been here before January 7, 2004 to qualify for permanent legal status.

Completion of Background Checks Not Required For Probationary Legal Status

Legal status must be granted to illegal aliens 24 hours after they file an application, even if the aliens have not yet “passed all appropriate background checks.” (Last year’s bill gave DHS 90 days to check an alien’s background before any status was granted). No legal status should be given to any illegal alien until all appropriate background checks are complete.

Terrorism Connections Allowed, Good Moral Character Not Required

Illegal aliens with terrorism connections are not barred from getting amnesty. An illegal alien seeking most immigration benefits must show “good moral character.” Last year’s bill specifically barred aliens with terrorism connections from having “good moral character” and being eligible for amnesty. This year’s bill does neither. Additionally, bill drafters ignored the Administration’s request that changes be made to the asylum, cancellation of removal, and withholding of removal statutes in order to prevent aliens with terrorist connections from receiving relief.

Gang Members Are Eligible

Instead of ensuring that members of violent gangs such as MS 13 are deported after coming out of the shadows to apply for amnesty, the bill will allow violent gang members to get amnesty as long as they “renounce” their gang membership on their application.

Read all of Senator Sessions’ list. It’s important that everyone understand how flawed this bill really is.

Update II: The Cornyn amendment that would prevent felons and those who are already scheduled to be deported from getting a path to citizenship failed.

WASHINGTON (AP) – A bipartisan immigration bill narrowly survived a potentially fatal challenge on Wednesday when the Senate turned back a Republican bid to limit the illegal immigrants who could gain lawful status.

The close vote on a proposal by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to bar felons–including those court-ordered to be deported–from legalization reflected the delicate position of the contentious immigration bill, which remains under threat from the right and the left.

The vote was 51-46 against the amendment. Democrats succeeded in sucking support from Cornyn’s proposal by winning adoption of a rival version that would bar a more limited set of criminals, including certain gang members and sex offenders, from gaining legalization. The Senate backed that amendment 66-32.

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