Thursday, May 18, 2006

Immigration update: Senate amendments being voted on...

...Thursday 5/18. From an email from New Haven Legal Assistance:
S. Amend. 3985, is sponsored by Sen. Ensign (R - NV) and would make it so that undocumented immigrants who are eventually legalized under the proposed bill could not count any earnings they had while they were undocumented toward their Social Security retirement or disability or survivor's benefits. This would be the case even though the immigrant had paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes.
S. Amend. 4064, is sponsored by Sen. Inhofe (R - OK) and would require that English be used in all official business of the United States, except when another language is specifically designated in law. While no one is opposed for the government to use English (!), the problem with this amendment is that it would make it less likely for the federal government to provide forms and other services in languages other than English. The amendment also makes it more difficult to obtain citizenship by increasing the English-language and civics requirements.
Again, although I have not thought about this much, I have no problem with an English-language requirement for citizenship. But if the system is being used by immigrants with few such skills, why would you make it harder for them to get forms they can understand? If you want to decrease immigration, lower the quotas; don't let people into the system, and then put incomprehensible obstacles in front of them. Plus, the social security provision just seems mean. Clearly you shouldn't get benefits you are not paying for; but if you are paying into the system, and eventually become legal, what is the point of denying you this money?

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