Kevin McCullough

The citizens of the United States of America finally have the U.S. Senate on the record regarding illegal immigration and the state of where we are at in 2006. Unlike the bill put forward and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives – the Senate bill does nothing to increase American safety or border security, nor to strengthen our efforts in the War on Terror.

No, the U.S. Senate decided to play footsy with those who show no respect for the laws of our nation. And the bill they have put forward punishes law-abiding Americans, while making it possible for lawbreaking Mexicans, Arabs, and others to find a way to skirt the laws of our nation and be rewarded for it.

In the House debate, there was at least an acknowledgement from the members – race-baiting Cynthia McKinney aside – that the War on Terror is real and our nation's security is of extreme importance. In the Senate, the voices that wished to address this war were shouted down by those who are pandering for votes to preserve their survival in the election of 2006.

Is it any wonder that the American people have forgotten 9-11? I mean why should the American people be vigilant about national security when the best that our U.S. senators can come up with is, "Let's protect the hard-working people," who violate our sovereignty, spit on our laws, and mock our justice system?

OK, I guess mocking our justice system is more of an uncontrollable reaction rather than a sign of disrespect, but there was a day when we called ourselves a nation of laws.

And another thing ... stop telling me how hard working the illegal aliens are who are in our nation. BIG, STUPID DEAL!

Being hard working is what my grandfathers were going back generations on both sides of my family tree. I work hard every single day, and my learning-disabled son – who is a legal immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen from Central America presently works three jobs. Hard work is the basic requirement of success for an American – not a point of praise that allows a person who has broken our law to become enshrined as a national hero. Hard work is the minimum, not the end all. And it's something I wish the U.S. Senate would learn more about.

There were two parts of the Senate bill that are worth applauding.

The first is to deport every illegal here who has been here less than two years. But since we are not presently enforcing our other immigration laws, what gives me any hope that this will be enforced?

The second part is that it requires those who have been here between 2 to 5 years to return to a U.S. port of entry and apply officially for the work visa they seek. Hey, I didn't say it was earth-shattering, but making them step one foot back outside the United States before they apply is something.

The third sad part to the Senate bill is to allow those who have been gainfully employed for five years or more to apply for immediate citizenship. So even though every one of the senators told the American people that amnesty would "never be offered," this was, in fact, exactly what they got.

When it goes to the compromise committee between the House and Senate, I expect the fireworks to fly. I hope that the compromise team will allow the final bill to keep the tough border-security language of the House bill. I also hope that they will add some conditions to the "5 years plus" section of the Senate bill – like requiring the person applying to have no criminal record, and to be already current on their tax status. That means that the nearly one-third of felons sitting in our prisons nationwide – who are not U.S. citizens – will never be eligible.

What shape the bill takes coming out of the compromise will be the true test.

The House of Representatives is acting like Americans are rightfully worried about national security and they were sent to Washington to do something about it. The U.S. Senate is acting like the only people who live in America are illegal aliens. (Don't they know they won't even be voting in November?)

Let's hope against hope that serious men, will decide this deadly issue, on behalf of what is best for the future of America.

And while they do what we sent them to Washington to do, we hard-working American citizens will be doing our jobs, and voting our conscience when we ask ourselves the question at the ballot box this November on who is working hardest to keep America safe.

Enough from me for now, my job starts at 5 a.m. tomorrow.