I was involved in a blogger conference call today with Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). The majority of the call was centered around immigration, which is the topic on people's minds right now.
My question was about border security. I commented that in the last blogger conference call a Texas sheriff said that one of the best deterents is simply a set of eyes, that a illegal won't cross the border if he knows he's being watched. The Minuteman Project is doing just this and is very effective. Will congress express support for this group? Why isn't this group being better supported? Rep. Kingston said he was aware of the horror stories that take place at the border. However, he suspected that most members of congress and the general public were simply unaware of how bad things are at the border.
Ed Morrissey asked if an guest worker program passes will we end up with guest workers and illegal immigrants. Also, how do we prevent a situation much like France with immigrants who don't assimilate? Rep. Kingston said that any immigration reform should follow the House model, which will allow all employees who hired illegal immigrants three months to register their employees. The immigrant would then have a certain amount of time before having to go home and re-register as a guest worker. Employers who don't register their illegal employees would face heavy fines. Rep. Kingston also mentioned a two track system: one for those who want to become citizens and those who simply want to work and make money.
Mary Katherine Ham asked how the US makes sure those immigrants who are supposed to go home and re-register as a guest worker actually do this. Rep. Kingston essentially said it would be very hard for the US gov't keep track of guest workers and would need use private industry to help. He also said that a protest of about 1000 people was taking place in Savannah. He mentioned that many of his constituents were not happy that an illegal immigrant can so brazenly walk down the street making demands.
John Hawkins asked a great question: If government is incapable of enforcing current laws how can it enforce new ones? Kingston's anwer: Perfect shouldn't be the enemy of good. We have to take a look at the old law and determine which parts are good.
Enlighten New Jersey said that we don't import workers; we import families. How many workers do we really need? Eliminating the birthright citizenship will help deter a lot of the families from coming over. Rep. Kingston said that the US is one of only 36 countries left who offer birthright citizenship. I also believe he said that 42% of women coming over the border are do so to give birth.
Tim Chapman asked about an article that stated the death of the 1994 Republican Revolution. Is DeLay's departure an end to the revolution? Rep. Kingston said that he thought there are still embers of the revolution in the Republican party. As an example, he stated that John Boehner, the new House Majority Leader, was one of the 1994 originals.
Others blogging on the conference call: