Several members of Oregonians for Immigration Reform have received recently a letter from Sen. Ron Wyden giving his views on S.744 and immigration generally. The letter was sent by email on November 19, 2013.
Many of Sen. Wyden’s statements in the letter are either false or misleading. Below we have reproduced the text of his letter in bold font, and we have followed each paragraph with a correction or other response.
For more information on issues in S.744 and its House version, H.R. 1417, see References on Amnesty Bills on the OFIR website.
Here is the Senator’s letter, with OFIR's response indented under each of the Senator's statements.
"Thank you for contacting me about immigration reform. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue."
"For too long, millions of immigrants have been living in America’s shadows, with more coming across our borders illegally every day." -- Sen. Wyden.
Senator Wyden, "Immigrants are living [illegally] in America’s shadows" and "more are coming across … illegally every day" because you and others in Congress and the government have refused to enforce the immigration laws. You have been in Congress continuously since 1981, a total of 32 years. What have you ever done to see that the immigration laws are enforced? Your record on immigration issues is graded F by NumbersUSA based on official records of your votes in Congress. The record is incontrovertible – you have failed to uphold the nation’s immigration laws. You have actually weakened them by repeatedly voting for amnesties and other benefits to illegal aliens, enticing more to come.
"Farmers are constantly telling me about their struggles to find a stable and legal workforce or face the real prospect of unharvested crops rotting in the fields." — Sen. Wyden.
You could tell them about the H-2A visa program which was set up to help agriculture get seasonal farm labor if it’s really needed. The truth is many employers prefer to hire illegal aliens because they profit from the substandard wages they can pay and the substandard working conditions they can use. Cheap labor can never be cheap enough to satisfy some employers. Most citizens would rather pay more for food and other goods and know that it doesn’t come at the expense of exploited workers and non-enforcement of immigration laws. Most citizens understand that good wages and working conditions are necessary for a strong democracy to survive.
"Bright, capable children, who were brought to the country through no fault of their own, are being denied the opportunity to contribute to and succeed in the only country they know as home." – Sen. Wyden.
The parents of children "brought to the country through no fault of their own" are responsible for their children’s plight, not U.S. citizens. It is not our obligation to give legal status to children because of their parents’ illegal entry. The entire family that is here illegally should return to the country where they are citizens and devote their "contributions" to making that country an acceptable place to live. Being with their families and others of their own country, "bright, capable children" can quickly accommodate themselves to that country.
"America’s story is intertwined with the story of immigration — my own parents emigrated from Nazi Germany, a story familiar to many of the folks who come to our shores seeking asylum. For these and many other reasons, I welcomed the debate on immigration." – Sen. Wyden.
Here again are the tugs at peoples’ heartstrings, the call to sentimentality, the implied idea that immigration is always good and desirable, without any restrictions or limits. In truth, immigration to the U.S. is supposed to serve the interests of citizens of the U.S., not the interests of foreign nationals. It is neither desirable nor feasible to maintain open borders.
"Comprehensive reform is long overdue, and an overwhelming majority of my Senate colleagues agreed. As you know, in June, the U.S. Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) with a bipartisan vote of 68-32. I voted in support of the measure.
"Only after I was convinced that strong, enforceable border security measures were in place did I start considering the immigration bill on its other merits."— Sen. Wyden.
Senator, if you were convinced that "strong, enforceable border security measures were in place" you either didn’t read the bill or you failed to understand it. It is worthless for improving border security and in some respects it weakens or displaces security processes that are now in place. http://cis.org/kephart/widening-existing-vulnerabilities-national-security-implications-s744-part-1
"S.744 requires DHS to submit a border security plan within 6 months that includes a goal ‘for achieving and maintaining effective control’ along the U.S.-Mexico border. (p.864). The bill defines effective control as: (1) ‘persistent surveillance’ and (2) an ‘effectiveness rate of 90 percent.’ (p.855) …
"… even if a 90 percent effectiveness rate were a reliable indication of border security, S.744 does not actually require that DHS reach a 90 percent effectiveness rate. S.744 requires DHS to submit a border security plan "for achieving and maintaining" a 90 percent effectiveness rate at the U.S.-Mexico border, but there is no requirement that DHS actually achieve this goal. (p.864, 854-855)" Thus, the goal of a 90 percent effectiveness rate is nothing more than a goal, one that will neither accurately depict whether the border is secure or one that must be met. …" – http://immigrationreform.com/2013/06/19/data-shows-border-security-metric-in-s-744-subject-to-political-manipulation/
"Specifically, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act hikes Border Patrol ranks by 20,000 — almost doubling the contingent and spends $4.5 billion on technical innovations intended to provide security personnel with full situational awareness along the southern border." – Sen. Wyden.
The 20,000 increase in Border Patrol ranks does not occur for years, if ever, after illegal aliens are granted what they and their supporters want – legal status in the U.S. which occurs immediately. "The bill grants amnesty (Registered Provisional Status) … before the first new Border Patrol agent is hired and virtually guarantees that the borders will never be secured because once illegal aliens have legal status, they and their supporters know that citizenship will eventually be granted whether the border is secured or not. … Even if 20,000 border agents are hired there is no assurance that they won’t be prevented from effectively controlling the border by elected officials who are beholden to lobbyists and big donors. …"
Regarding the $4.5 billion for technology: "This expenditure will in all likelihood be made since it is what the host to Bloomberg TV’s ‘Capitol Gains’ labeled a ‘pathway to profit for federal contractors’. However, the only requirement is that the strategy be fully implemented and activated. There is no requirement that it work as advertised or that it actually slows the flow of illegal aliens." – http://cis.org/mortensen/hoeven-corker-amendment-long-amnesty-short-everything-else
"It also implements an entry-exit visa program to keep tabs on visitors who overextend their stay and expands the E-Verify program to make employers aware of a potential worker’s immigration status. These are serious, extensive, and effective steps that will curtail much of the illegal immigration that has plagued our country for so long." – Sen. Wyden.
"Congress has mandated a visa entry/exit system for years; however, nothing has been done. What guarantee is there that it will be done this time? Can the federal government be trusted to do what it says? …
"The Hoeven-Corker amendment to S.744 delays the full use of E-Verify for years while allowing illegal aliens to get RPI status almost immediately. During that time, employers will be free to hire a new wave of illegal aliens rather than employing RPIs, legal immigrants, or American citizens who will demand higher wages and benefits." – http://cis.org/mortensen/hoeven-corker-amendment-long-amnesty-short-everything-else
"The bill the Senate voted on also overcomes one of the greatest challenges we have had in the past — that is creating a path to citizenship for the 11 million people who are working here illegally but have broken no other laws. Immigrants are an important and positive influence on the American economy, and while earning citizenship will be far from easy or quick; with the enactment of the Senate bill, it will be possible." – Sen. Wyden.
There have been 7 mass amnesties passed by Congress since 1986, each one resulting in ever increasing illegal immigration. Another amnesty will only trigger additional illegal immigration. S.744 makes it easy and almost automatic for illegal immigrants to get legal status; your statement that "earning citizenship will be far from easy or quick" is a total misrepresentation.
"I had concerns with the Senate bill — from its detrimental environmental provisions to an imperfect path to legalization, but we didn’t have the option to vote between a perfect bill and the status quo; the choice was between the Senate compromise bill and the status quo." – Sen. Wyden.
Did you even read the bill before it was voted on? It was over 1,000 pages and Senators were given only a few hours to peruse it before a vote was called. You voted for a bill full of holes for evasion and fraud, one that in nearly all ways would be extremely harmful to this country.
"And I think the majority of Americans would agree that the status quo cannot stand." – Sen. Wyden.
No, polls show that when the bill’s provisions are truthfully explained to voters they would choose no action rather than the harmful measures in S.744.
From Pulse Opinion poll of August 2013: "60% of likely voters oppose the Senate bill’s proposal to increase the number of green cards for new immigrants to 20 million over the next decade. Only 28% of respondents supported such measures.
"Three-quarters of those surveyed said there are more than enough unemployed Americans with lower levels of education to fill the jobs that would go to millions of new immigrants under the Senate bill. Only 17% said foreign workers are needed to fill labor shortages.
"A solid majority of voters are worried about the impact of immigration reform, which could put millions of illegal aliens on a path to citizenship and create large guest-workers programs, will have on the labor market."
From a Rasmussen poll of likely voters, October 22, 2013:
"Only 25% think it is even somewhat likely that the federal government will secure the border and prevent illegal immigration with new immigration legislation; 65% consider it unlikely.
"Only 18% think illegal aliens should be given immediate amnesty; 62% believe legalization should occur only after the border is secured, and 19% are unsure.
"It is now up to the House to pass a bill. It’s important to remember that it’s not only good policy, but that it’s also in the long term economic interest of America for both houses of Congress to get together and send a good, bipartisan bill to the President to sign into law." – Sen. Wyden.
The House leadership proposes to work on smaller bills addressing particular components of immigration policy. This is the most sensible way to address current problems. Immigration is a serious subject with many different aspects, too many to be covered effectively in one mammoth bill such as S.744.
"Again, thank you for keeping me apprised of the issues that are important to you. If I may be of assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me." — Sen. Wyden.
Sen. Wyden, you make no mention of one of the most damaging features of S.744, the doubling of legal immigration and the huge expansion of visas for foreign workers. These features would make our unemployment problem far worse. Oregon’s U-6 unemployment rate is 16.5%, the 3d highest in the nation. You betray your constituency by working for benefits to illegal aliens and other would-be immigrants and their employers when our nation is overcrowded already, wages are falling, and millions don’t have jobs at all or are stuck in jobs that pay very low wages with no prospect for anything better. Citizens rightfully expect their Congresspersons to put the interests of citizens and this nation first, before the interests of foreign nationals and their employers.
Read more about Sen. Wyden misrepresents amnesty proposals to constituents