Thursday, May 18, 2006

Kyl/Cornyn: three measley misdemeanors disqualifies earned legalization

It is horrible to hear that a Kyl-Cornyn amendment would automatically reject without any exception people who have three small misdemeanor fines on their record. This is much too harsh, especially when you consider how difficult it is to qualify for earned legalization. The people who can somehow achieve all the other requirements for earned legalization should not be thrown away just for three small misdemeanor fines.

This means someone who jumped a turnstile three times will be blocked without any discretion from earned legalization even if the person paid taxes for decades and was otherwise law-abiding. Or someone who got a small fine for vague disorderly conduct, fare jumping, or three card monte a total of three times. This kind of pettiness to make an absolute block on earned legalization is horrible public policy.

Bizarrely, the language ignores the penalty imposed for the misdemeanors. So, two eleven-month prison terms for two misdemeanors is considered by the Senate to be fine, but three misdemeanors that led to no prison time and $50 in fines is considered completely unacceptable to the Senate, with no discretion. Ignoring the penalty imposed seems to be a wrong-headed approach.


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