Angry Dick and the Immigration Bill – A Conversation Worth 1000 Words

Angry Dick Cheney
The man you see above you is not Arlen Specter, the Senator that introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 to the Senate in April.

No…

The man you see above you is angry Dick. Angry because his rose garden was destroyed by an silly wabbit. But that’s beside the point. We aren’t talking about angry Dick or any other nonsense. We’re talking about the wonderful, spectacular, useful… don’t forget sensical …immigration reform bill of the year of our Bush 2006.

Please note the double “of” usage above for later humor below.

Yeah. You know, the part where the Senate put their heads together and came up with the perfect solution to all our troubles. Yeah, that one.

You can go read the full text at the Library of Congress, or you could stay here and skip all the boring stuff. I took the liberty of scanning through the too many to count pages for the juicy bits.

Subtitle D–Border Tunnel Prevention Act

Any person who knowingly constructs or finances the construction of a tunnel or subterranean passage…. [will be sentenced up to 20 years]
Any person who knows or recklessly disregards the construction or use of a tunnel or passage…. [will be sentenced up to 10 years]Any person who uses a tunnel or passage described in subsection (a) to unlawfully smuggle an alien, goods (in violation of section 545), controlled substances, weapons of mass destruction (including biological weapons), or a member of a terrorist organization…[will be sentenced longer]

I knew it… They’re holding out hope that Bin Laden will try to smuggle himself into America through a tunnel from Mexico. Carrying a suitcase of WMDs that he stole from Sadaam Hussein before we invaded Iraq.

SEC. 759 SCREENING OF MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE

Indicates whether the methodologies and technologies used by the Bureau to screen for and detect the presence of chemical, nuclear, biological, and radiological weapons in municipal solid waste are as effective as the methodologies and technologies used by the Bureau to screen for those materials in other items of commerce entering the United States through commercial motor vehicle transport.

What does this have to do with immigration reform? Nothing.

SEC. 762. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Ok, maybe that section title wasn’t enough. But seriously… almost half a billion dollars on unmanned aircraft to watch for illegal immigrants over the next 2 years? Somebody just wants to have fun flying model airplanes.

….and it goes on…. and on
See, I figure that in honor of a 300 page bill, I should at least go for a 300 line post or something, right? But seriously, there’s more interesting stuff floating around that’s related. Bear with me for a minute.

The Congressional Budget Office submitted their cost estimate (pdf) so that everybody could understand how much we’re really talking about it. Here’s some interesting tidbits from that report:

CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would increase the population in the United States by nearly 8 million residents by 2016

I know it’s probably gramatically correct, but using the word “by” in that context twice so close like that? Wierd.

Overall, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would reduce direct spending by $1.3 billion in 2007, but increase that spending by $54 billion over the 2007-2016 period.

Somehow by passing this bill, we’re actually going to make money in 2007 versus not having this bill in 2006. Would it not be wise to approve the bill now and then cancel it at the end of 2007 after making a quick buck?

CBO estimates that the longer sentences required under the bill would increase the prison population by about 2,900 person-years over the 2007-2011 period.

That’s like 72 people found in underground tunnels smuggling weapons of mass destruction. What would we ever do?

The most interesting part (hopefully phil read this far because we were talking about it the other day) is the COB’s take on immigration vs. wages:

Most studies found few, if any, adverse effects of immigration on the average wages of other workers. However, a widely cited study by George Borjas estimated that a 10 percent increase in the number of workers in a labor market delineated by education and experience would reduce the average weekly earnings of men in that market by 3 percent or 4 percent before secondary adjustments occur. That estimate overstates the long-run impact to the extent that the presence of the additional workers stimulates the demand for investment and leads other workers to acquire more education. Both adjustments are likely to occur.

If you want, you can read the pdf of that widely cited study, “The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market“. I took the time to skim through it, but it was kind of dry. A shorter alternative may be his op-ed published last month in the Wall Street Journal, “For a Few Dollars Less.

So there you have it. The initial education of Jeremy on the immigration bill. Pretty long considering I didn’t pay one ounce of attention to it until today. Maybe I’ll tackle the House version tomorrow since there’s going to be a sweet little battle going on over the next few weeks atop Capitol Hill.

Leave a Reply