First, let's start with H.R. 1955. This is a bill that tries to address the increasingly concerning threat of homegrown terrorism. I, like most, agree that homegrown terrorism is a serious issue and it should be addressed by the government. While this bill is well intentioned, I did find some things that were troubling...
I think the vague definitions that this bill appears to have lends itself to potential abuses of civil liberties. The bill is certainly well intentioned. Home grown terrorists are a big and bigger problem. That said, it doesn't seem to me to be something that can be legislated. This seems to be a priority law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security matter. I don't think you can legislate tougher measures against homegrown terrorists. That happens when departments apply more pressure, more focus, and more resources to the matter.Finally, from scanning the bill, I have found one other big potential problem. Here is the full text of the bill. Here is the part that concerns me.
The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish or designate a university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States (hereinafter referred to as `Center') following the merit-review processes and procedures and other limitations that have been previously established for selecting and supporting University Programs Centers of Excellence. The Center shall assist Federal, State, local and tribal homeland security officials through training, education, and research in preventing radicalization and homegrown terrorism in the United States. In carrying out this section, the Secretary may choose to either create a new Center designed exclusively for the purpose stated herein or identify and expand an existing Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence so that a working group is exclusively designated within the existing Center of Excellence to achieve the purpose set forth in subsection...
The vague definition I referred to was to the bill's definition of a homegrown terrorist.
As with many bills, this one came out of committee in the house, and then it passed the full House only to languish in committee in the Senate. This bill looks to be one of many that has a quick move through the House and then meets roadblocks when it enters the Senate.
H.R. 505...This is a bill that looked to establish certain sovereign rights within the state of Hawaii. Here is the pertinent part.
Recognizes the right of the Nativ more...e Hawaiian people to reorganize the single Native Hawaiian governing entity to provide for their common welfare and to adopt appropriate organic governing documents. Establishes a Commission to: (1) prepare and maintain a roll of the adult members of the Native Hawaiian community who elect to participate in such reorganization; and (2) certify that the adult members of the Native Hawaiian community proposed for inclusion on the roll meet the definition of Native Hawaiian.This is a dangerous bill and I said as much. The sort of sovereignty this would create for some in the state of Hawaii would threaten the very sovereignty of the United States. This bill is modeled on the special treatment that our government gives to Indian Reservations. While we can debate the merits of giving the Native Americans special rights, I am firmly against expanding those rights to other groups.
This bill is another example of one that made some ripples while it moved through the House only to be dead on arrival once it reached the Senate. It languishes in committee along with H.R. 1955.
The SAVE Act. I once referred to this bill as a rock star. I stand by that. It has 122 co sponsors. It is being sponsored by such names as John Murtha and Tom Tancredo. It is being hailed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as well as several business groups. There is a wide ranging and eclectic group of law makers, civic groups, and other power players that are backing this bill. Here is the quick rundown...
SAVE Act would eventually require every employee in America to go through the E-Verify system. This internet system provides employers with an inexpensive, quick, and accurate way to verify that employees are not illegal aliens. The rules for use are such that no employee or employer suffers if there is a mistake in the system because there is ample time to correct errors on the employee's side and on the government's side.So, in theory, this bill would provide a system for creating an ID card that would be able to identify quickly and easily the legal status of every potential and current employee. As Yogi once said,
in theory there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there isThat seems to be the operative language with this bill. While there are things that trouble me about it, it continues to be the first bill vis a vis illegal immigration to at least have the right idea.
It is currently in no less than eight committees...in one stage or another. While there is no recent news, I absolutely believe that it will be taken up next year and is very likely to become law. There are simply too many folks that occupy too many different parts of the ideological world that are all behind it for anything else to happen. It is interesting that this is the only one to not quickly pass out of committee and the full House. That just shows the contrarian nature of which bills are legit and which aren't. I will continue to watch this bill and I do expect serious and tangible action on it in the new year.