Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Iowa's right turn

An immigration bill presented in Iowa is including the exclusion of DREAMERS from college. The bill is comprehensive and shows extensive effort on the part of the lawmakers. With so many other issues to be concerned about - the economy, K-12 education, the environment, etc. why is the Iowa Senate so focused on a bill that will deplete the resources of the state - only to bring further economic burden once it is implemented?

It is kind of like popular opinion about undocumented immigrants having driver's licenses... according to polls most Americans don't want driver's licenses granted to someone who is not documented - The safety issue of having so many people out there not having a license has been ignored. There seems to be a fantasy that if people don't have licenses they won't drive. As mentioned before in this blog - in many places people have to drive to survive.

One question about Iowa, why does the U.S. take the Iowa Caucus so seriously? Some say Iowa represents the white middleground of America. If this is true what does it mean that our middle America is becoming so xenophobic?

Iowa State Senator Jeff Angelo:

"barring illegal immigrants from state colleges and universities could be as simple as asking more questions of prospective enrollees"

Some costs remain uncounted for GOP immigration plan

Des Moines
January 29, 2008

Senate Republicans said today that the cost of an immigration reform package would be greater than the $2.4 million they estimated, acknowledging they had not accounted for costs that state government would bear to help businesses avoid hiring illegal immigrants.

They also said they were unsure how state colleges and universities would sift illegal immigrants from their enrollment, another requirement of the legislation unveiled today.

The plan’s key feature is adding 14 state troopers to the force to ease the burden of arresting and transporting illegal immigrants.

The list of related proposals, aimed at tackling the hot-button issue lawmakers agree Congress has neglected, also includes requiring Iowa Workforce Development to check the immigration status of workers.

Sen. Jeff Angelo, a Creston Republican, said lawmakers had not consulted Iowa Workforce Development officials about what the process would cost.

“We’re going to have to work with them and make that a budget priority as to what implementation of such a system would cost, but that’s going to take a little further research,” Angelo said.

GOP senators said the extra troopers would cost $2.4 million for the first two years, and roughly $1 million annually in subsequent years.

Democrats, who control both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office, have introduced immigration legislation in the House. Their bill would impose criminal penalties on corporate executives found guilty of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

Republicans say the Democrats’ measure is inadequate. The GOP proposal also includes requiring troopers to undergo the same training as federal immigration officers and making the harboring of an illegal immigrant a felony under state law.

Angelo, part of a three-member GOP Senate immigration panel, said barring illegal immigrants from state colleges and universities could be as simple as asking more questions of prospective enrollees. However, neither lawmakers nor university officials were ready to suggest how that could be accomplished.

“If you’re a major university, you don’t have to ask too many questions. We don’t force you to do that as a lawmaking body. And you just sort of wink and nod and illegals get through the system,” Angelo said.

“You have to come up with a strictly defined system of how you identify how people provide proof that they’re legal and we have knowingly not done that over the years,” he said.

University officials at the Capitol today declined to comment on the proposal.

“I don’t know what our responsibilities would be,” said David Miles, president of the Iowa Board of Regents. “It’s a little bit too early for me to know what burden it might create.”

for link to article click title of this post

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