It's a common news story these days: A bus on the highway crashes, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. And the official cause is "driver fatigue." Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., backed by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the AFL-CIO, has a bill, the Driver Fatigue Prevention Act (S.487), to reduce such tragedies by extending the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime pay provisions to intercity bus drivers. For over 50 years the Department of Transportation has precluded overtime laws from applying to such travel. The ATU in recent weeks has stepped up pressure for passage of the bill, unveiled last March.
Among the criticisms of the new Senate immigration bill is the secretive manner in which it was written. And given the details, it's hardly any wonder that the eight senators overseeing the proceedings - the "Gang of Eight" - refused to hold hearings or debates until after the bill's release. Case in point: Tucked away in the measure are two sections that would route a combined $150 million or more to "public or private, non-profit organizations" that are "community, faith-based or other immigrant-serving." Recipient groups could use funds to aid potentially tens of millions of illegal immigrants and family members to obtain lawful permanent resident status and eventual citizenship.
If there were any doubts that the oft-used term "comprehensive immigration reform" is a stalking-horse for amnesty, a new Senate proposal unveiled yesterday should dispel them. The measure, touted as a way to fix our "broken" immigration system, will do the opposite. Not only will it demean U.S. citizenship and rule of law, it also likely will produce adverse economic effects. The main feature of the 844-page bill is that it would allow millions of illegal immigrants to apply for legal residency and eventual citizenship. Significantly, the bill bears a strong union influence. And labor officials aren't bashful about it. Ana Avendano, AFL-CIO director of immigration, declared last week: "Politicians know that if they stand in the way of citizenship we will steamroller them."
"Jobs that Americans won't do" is a weak, if common rationale for high levels of immigration. Get set for an equally dubious idea to justify immigration: "housing that Americans can't buy." Senators Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are believers. And they're offering a sweet deal. On Thursday, October 20, the two lawmakers unveiled legislation, the Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America Act, or VISIT-USA Act (S.1746), one of whose elements would provide renewable three-year resident visas to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in residential real estate here. The plan thus assumes both the need for a housing industry bailout and a large injection of foreign capital toward that end. Supporters should spend some time pondering the downside.