HispanicVista Columnists

"Amnesty, No! Common Sense, Yes!"

By Raoul Lowery Contreras


           Minutes after newly sworn-in President George W. Bush spoke of liberty worldwide, a prominent Republican congressman told this writer that the President’s immigration reform proposal is as important as anything on the political horizon.

           Inauguration Day, Congressmen Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Randall (Duke) Cunningham (R-CA) discussed illegal immigration with this writer. Rather than phone interviews they were gracious enough to allow personal interviews in their Washington offices.

           Both believe that no one should be here illegally. Both agree that many illegals work hard at valuable work and contribute to the economy. Both are against "amnesty" for illegals though each defines it differently. Both agree that "normalization" of illegals is necessary.

           Cunningham: "I oppose the President’s amnesty plan." Issa: "I want to know who these people are, what they earn--I want accountability."


         Issa has been appointed to the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction on immigration, legal and illegal. Congress’ jurisdiction over immigration comes from Section 8, Article 1 of the Constitution--Congress shall "establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization."

           Thus, Issa is positioned to heavily influence immigration law. Washington observers say that committee chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) is inclined to let Issa work out immigration legislation because Issa knows the problem far better than congressmen from, say, Colorado.

          How? He is re-introducing his House Resolution 3651 from the last Congress. The bill appears complicated as all Congressional laws do. Simply put, however, the bill faces the illegal alien problem head on.

          Issa’s goals are to get the facts by setting up a work permit program that illegals already here can apply for with employer help. The permit would be for a year with six annual renewals. It would be portable; an employee could move from one job to another. Administrative fees charged to applicants would pay for the program.

           Issa projects that within that 7-year period we would know who they are and how many are here. With that information, Congress can then realistically create new laws to address clearly defined problems.

          For example, Issa projects that the current multi-billion dollar underground economy would shrink tremendously because workers and employers wouldn’t have to hide payrolls from the IRS. We would know exactly how much they pay in taxes and cost in benefits.

          The U.S. Government is currently offering amnesty to criminal farms and companies if they cooperate in studying the criminal pollution they are causing. The State of California is offering amnesty to tax cheats. Darrell Issa, like the government and California, is tackling a serious problem in his new Judiciary Committee assignment. He looks to solve the problem.

          Cunningham will probably support Issa’s program because he supports a "strong guest worker program," while opposing "amnesty."

          Issa predicts his bill can pass in the House with Democrat votes offsetting renegade Republicans. Everyone knows that the United States Senate will produce a guest worker program by a huge majority and that the President would sign such a bill. Issa, then, is on the right track; he is earning his salary.


Contreras' newest book--THE ILLEGAL ALIEN: A DAGGER INTO THE HEART OF AMERICA??--is available at www.amazon.com