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New York mayor calls immigration bills 'naive' at field hearing

[JURIST] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg [official profile] testified at the outset of congressional field hearings [JURIST report] on federal immigration reform [JURIST news archive] Wednesday that competing bills passed by the US House and Senate are both unrealistic. Speaking [recorded video; prepared text] before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing [committee materials] in Philadelphia, Bloomberg described the House bill [HR 4437 summary], which makes unlawful presence in the US a felony subject to deportation, as "pure fantasy." But he said the Senate bill [S 2611 summary] was equally "naive" because it requires some people to "report to deport" through guest-worker programs. Bloomberg continued:

There is only one practical solution, and it is a solution that respects the history of our nation: Offer those already here the opportunity to earn permanent status and keep their families together.

For decades, the Federal government has tacitly welcomed them into the workforce, collected their income and Social Security taxes, which about two-thirds of undocumented workers pay, and benefited immeasurably from their contributions to our country.

Now, instead of pointing fingers about the past, let’s accept the present for what it is by bringing people out of the shadows, and focus on the future by casting those shadows aside, permanently.
Among the proposals that Bloomberg offered was a "bio-metric employment card containing unique information," such as fingerprint or DNA data, that would allow employers to confirm job applicants' citizenship status.

The field hearings, which continue Friday [meeting notice] under the auspices of the House International Relations Committee at a border patrol station in Laredo, Texas, make passage of a comprehensive immigration bill before November's midterm elections unlikely. Republican House leaders nonetheless deny that they timed the hearings [JURIST report] to postpone conference negotiations until after mid-term elections in November. AP has more.

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