Congress

House GOP takes broad aim at Obama immigration policies

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans plan to take broad aim at President Barack Obama's immigration policies next week, including votes to overturn protections for immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids.

The plan emerging Friday satisfies demands from the most conservative lawmakers ...

Conservatives in the GOP caucus pressed leadership to go further, and also shut down an earlier 2012 program that has granted work permits to more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids. Other changes would undo Obama directives to immigration agents that had sought to limit deportations of people with no significant criminal record...

Obama's directives in November gave temporary relief from deportation to about 4 million immigrants in the country illegally, along with permits allowing them to work legally in the U.S. They applied mostly to immigrants who'd been in the country more than five years and have kids who are citizens or legal permanent residents....

The developments come in the first week that Congress was back in session under full Republican control. Yet there's no guarantee that the Senate, where minority Democrats still exercise considerable sway, would accept the House legislation. And Obama could very well threaten to veto it.

At the same time, Democrats say Republicans are courting electoral disaster in the 2016 presidential election by passing legislation that could alienate many Latino voters.

Many of the same House conservatives who voted against Boehner for speaker earlier this week in a failed overthrow attempt were declaring victory Friday at the shape the immigration legislation was taking.

"I liked what I heard," said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, after a closed-door meeting of House Republicans to discuss the legislation.

"I really appreciate the process of allowing all of us to have some input," said Gohmert, a frequent critic of House Republican leaders. "One of the things that has really been lacking for the last eight years is having more input like we've finally gotten in this bill, so this is a good thing."

___

Associated Press writers Stephen Ohlemacher, Alan Fram and Charles Babington contributed to this report.

Obama Admits Amnesty Is For Many More Than 5 Million

President Barack Obama told a group of illegal immigrants in Tennessee that his immigration-law rewrite means “you’re not going to be deported.”

Obama’s admission acknowledged that his Nov. 21 declaration provides a de facto amnesty for the 12 million illegals living in the United States.

The confession contradicts his many suggestions, and many media reports, that his Nov. 21 amnesty covers only five million illegal immigrants whose children have citizenship or green cards.

In practice, the president is allowing all 12 million illegals who have not committed major felonies or who are not terrorists, to illegally stay and compete for work against lower-wage Americans and American professionals.

“What we’re saying essentially is, in that low-priority list. … You’re not going to be deported,” Obama told the crowd, including the illegals.

The formal Nov. 21 policy awards actual work permits, tax payments and Social Security cards to the five million illegals with children who are citizens or legalized. The five million will have Obama work permits when seeking jobs sought by the four million Americans who turn 18 each year.

“What we’re also saying, though, is that for those who have American children or children who are legal permanent residents, that you can actually register and submit yourself to a criminal background check, pay any back taxes and commit to paying future taxes, and if you do that, you’ll actually get a piece of paper that gives you an assurance that you can work and live here without fear of deportation,” Obama said.

That “does apply to roughly five million,” he said.

Americans are already competing against the roughly 600,000 working-age immigrants who arrive each year, and the roughly 650,000 blue-collar and white-collar guest workers who arrive for short-term or long-term jobs.

Companies favor Obama’s huge increase to the supply of new workers, because many want to hire foreign workers. Those workers will work for low wages, in part, because they need to be employed while they’re waiting to receive the very valuable prize of U.S. citizenship.

A large proportion of the five million illegals are former guest workers, who work as professionals in financial, medical and technology jobs sought by Americans.

Obama also said citizenship should be given to more foreign professionals who compete for jobs sought by American graduates. “We should be stapling a green card to the [foreign] graduates of top schools in fields that we know we need,” he said.

So far, the GOP leadership — which is allied to major business groups — has not tried to block Obama’s amnesty, despite many polls showing deep public opposition to immigration and foreign workers. GOP leaders say they’d like to pass their own amnesty law and foreign-worker law in 2015.

Obama’s policy also puts some illegals on a fast-track to citizenship, boosts the inflow of foreign blue-collar and white-collar guest workers, and dismantles Secure Communities program that repatriated illegals who were caught by local police for minor or severe crimes.

The new policy also directs border police to release border-crossers who claim to be eligible for the Nov. 21 amnesty, and it effectively bars agents from repatriating the many tourists and guest-workers who overstay their visas and try to get jobs in the United States.

The Nov. 21 policy is an extension of Obama’s unstated policies.

In the 12 months up to October 2014, Obama deported less than one percent of the 12 million illegals living in the country. He is awarding work permits to roughly 600,000 younger illegals, and to roughly 300,000 additional migrants and guest workers. He also repatriated only about 2,000 of the roughly 130,000 Central American migrants who flooded over the border this year. His deputies released 129,000 arrested illegals back into American communities, including roughly 30,862 convicted foreign criminals.

Unions make push to recruit protected immigrants

CHICAGO (AP) — Unions across the U.S. are reaching out to immigrants affected by President Barack Obama's recent executive action, hoping to expand their dwindling ranks by recruiting millions of workers who entered the U.S. illegally...

SEIU, whose more than 2 million members include janitors and maintenance workers, recently announced a website where immigrants can learn about the action. The AFL-CIO says it's training organizers to recruit eligible workers. And the United Food and Commercial Workers and other unions are planning workshops and partnering with community groups and churches to reach out to immigrants.

The efforts come even as Republicans and other opponents of Obama's action work to undo it, saying it will hurt American workers, and as some labor experts say they're skeptical immigrants will feel safe enough to unionize in large numbers.

Labor unions have struggled over the past decade to maintain their membership and political muscle. The ranks fell by more than 1.2 million between 2003 and 2013, when there were about 14.5 million members nationwide..

Business-friendly Republican governors have approved measures in recent years aimed at weakening labor, even in places such as Michigan that were once considered union strongholds. In Obama's home state of Illinois, a GOP businessman unseated the Democratic governor last month in part by promising to constrain labor's influence in government...

Unions say they can help protect immigrants against abuses such as wage theft and discrimination. And even if the immigrants aren't citizens and cannot vote, they can help unions by paying dues and doing the heavy lifting needed around election time — knocking on doors, driving voters to the polls and making phone calls for pro-labor candidates.

Republicans say the executive actions — which would affect people who have children and have been in the U.S. more than five years — will make it tougher for Americans already struggling to find good-paying jobs...

"The president's action is a threat to every working person in this country — their jobs, wages, dreams, hopes and futures," said GOP U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama...

Shannon Gleeson, an associate professor at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, said she expects the response to be "very place-specific," with people coming forward in places that have traditionally been considered immigrant-friendly, like Los Angeles, while being reluctant in places like Houston, where it's a struggle to find a unionized hotel.

"If I'm there, am I going to stick my neck out?" Gleeson said. "I don't know, maybe not."

Senator Wyden is coming to town(hall) meetings near you in January

Alert date: 
December 17, 2014
Alert body: 

Plan to attend one of these meetings in early January. 

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

Jan 02

Deschutes County Town Hall »

Jan 2 2015 10:00AM

Deschutes County Services Building – Barnes/Sawyer Rooms
1300 NW Wall
Bend, OR

Jan 03

Clackamas County Town Hall »

Jan 3 2015 11:00AM

Camp Withycombe
15300 SE Minuteman Way
Clackamas, OR

Jan 03

Multnomah County Town Hall »

Jan 3 2015 2:30PM

PCC Southeast Campus
2305 SE 82nd and Division
Portland, OR

Jan 04

Marion County Town Hall »

Jan 4 2015 1:00PM

Marion County Courthouse
555 Court St. NE
Salem, OR

Jan 04

Washington County Town Hall »

Jan 4 2015 4:00PM

Beaverton City Library (Main Branch) – Auditorium
12375 SW 5th St
Beaverton, OR

Jan 05

Benton County Town Hall »

Jan 5 2015 10:00AM

Philomath High School – Auditorium
2054 Applegate St
Philomath, OR

Jan 05

Lane County Town Hall »

Jan 5 2015 2:00PM

Sheldon High School – Auditorium
2455 Willakenzie Rd
Eugene, OR

 

Republican leadership is already dropping the ball on immigration

The president is all-in with his amnesty memos. He claims resources don't permit him to enforce immigration law, so he's bypassing Congress and the constitutional limits of his office by giving over 4 million illegal aliens work documents with the intention of making it politically impossible to ever return them home. No doubt this is not the end – there is more to come over the next two years.
 
Can't get what you want through Congress? Just change the law by yourself.
 
Aside from the obvious adverse economic impacts of adding over 4 million new people to the work-authorized labor force, let's look at the basic politics of the situation. What happens when one side is united and focused, while the other is jumbled and incoherent?
 
Obama is all-in, not just with his amnesty, but with people and organizations that work to destroy or undermine U.S. immigration controls. Moreover, there appears to be a wholesale shift within the Democratic Party away from any interest in controlling immigration in the future.
 
This is new. During most of the 20th Century, the Democratic Party had a strong impulse to protect American labor. Now, after thirty years of outsourcing jobs, that's all disappeared. Organized labor has virtually evaporated and so has that wing of the Democratic Party. In 2014, there seems to be unanimity among the Democrats that everyone who wants to come should be able to come. Of course this is with the expectation that a huge majority of new government dependent immigrants will vote for Democrats.
 
Let's compare that with Congressional Republicans. It's not even 2015 and already they are all over the map. It's not just that some Republicans are in the pockets of the Chamber of Commerce (though plenty are), it's that there is no core consensus on what is good public policy. Beyond "secure the border" (not a serious policy construct) and "more guest workers," there is no willingness to embrace the good ideas that are out there. Republicans can't even agree on how to define the problem. When you cannot agree on the problem, you can bet there's no consensus on solutions.
 
From the standpoint of power and predictive outcomes, it's easy to see where this is heading. Democrats are united and driven by a common goal: destroy America's immigration limits and controls regardless of the consequences for taxpayers, American students and working families.
 
Republicans are spooked by shadows and specters conjured up by pundits, consultants and certain key donors. "We need the labor," says one. "Can't offend Latino voters," another announces. "Don't want a shutdown – hurts the party," they say. "We can't make people who've broken our laws go back home – that would look bad." And so it goes.
 
Too many Republicans cannot grasp what is at stake here. They will not take the time to examine the serious policy issues in play. Others simply want to satisfy big donors' demands for more visas.
 
What we need to see from next year's House and Senate leadership is a five point program to get something done that responds to the threat we face as a nation. Here are some ideas:
 
• Repeal the unaccompanied minors' law that is being manipulated by smugglers to move Central Americans into our country illegally. (So far, all we see is funding to help it along.)
• Pass a law that both bars the explicit claim of deferred action and parole discretion asserted by the president and DHS, as well as their ability to issue work documents to those not in the country in a defined status (non-immigrant, refugee or permanent resident alien).
• Pass a mandatory e-verify bill for all employers and present it to the President.
• Pass an interior enforcement bill that unites state, federal, and local assets in immigration law enforcement.
• Begin drafting a meaningful bill to restore a functioning immigration control system that will redefine this debate away from "amnesty at all costs" to a serious effort that will restore public confidence that the Congress can set enforceable immigration limits.
 
Here's the axiom: A unified party will prevail over one that is jumbled and unfocused. For those of us hoping for a robust policy response from Congress, what we see so far disappoints. 2015 looks to be a rough ride.
 
Dan Stein is President, Federation for American Immigration Reform.
 

Conservatives Express Anger That Amnesty Not Defunded In Omnibus - The Fix Is In

Conservatives who had wanted to see language to block President Obama’s executive actions inserted into the massive, must-pass government funding bill are expressing frustration and anger at House Republican leadership’s lack of an appetite to fight amnesty now.

“The fix is in, which I’ve been saying all along,” Rep. Matt Salmon said after leaving the GOP’s conference meeting Wednesday morning.

Tuesday night the House Appropriations Committee posted its $1.1 trillion spending package. The measure is expected to receive a vote Thursday. If no funding bill is passed by that night, the government would shut down.

“Promises around here — regardless of who they are made by — don’t seem to mean anything,” Salmon told reporters.

He explained that lawmakers’ phones have been “lighting up” with constituents asking them “do what [they] were elected to do.”

The Arizona lawmaker is spearheading an amendment with other conservative lawmakers to attach an amendment to the funding bill that would prohibit funding for Obama’s executive amnesty. His spokesman estimated to Breitbart News that the amendment currently has 55 co-sponsors. The amendment is, however, unlikely to receive a vote.

Leadership’s spending package instead is designed to fund most of the government through September, but only fund the Department of Homeland Security into February, when Republicans will have more reinforcements in the Senate to pursue a fight against Obama’s executive actions on immigration...

Conservative lawmakers Wednesday not only expressed frustration with the short amount of time given to consider the 1,603 page bill and the fact that it does not defund executive amnesty immediately, but they also questioned whether leadership would actually give a full-fledged fight next year.

“What is there to suggest that a few months from now you will oppose the amnesty that you have today funded?” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), also a co-sponsor of the defund amendment, asked.

“My biggest concern is that there are a significant number of Republicans who support amnesty, they just don’t support the way in which the president did it. That is a big distinction,” the Alabama conservative said...

Some of the ability to fight Obama on executive amnesty will be lost if House Republicans go along with allowing it to be funded, if only for a short time, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) argues.

“My point is you either defend the Constitution when the president violates it or you lose some of your ability and traction to do so later,” King said. “I think its better to fight now than it is later. So therefore I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, that’s for this Congress and I expect to be standing on the floor January 6th taking another one. I don’t want to have voted to fund the lawless, unconstitutional act by the president and then I could take an oath and mean it.”...

This entry contains excerpts - read the complete article

'Cromnibus' Spending Bill Passes, Just Hours Before Deadline

Post updated at 9:38 p.m. ET.

A massive federal spending bill finally won the House's approval Thursday night, less than 3 hours before a midnight deadline that threatened a federal shutdown. The measure's fate had been in doubt after it narrowly survived a rules vote earlier in the day. The final tally was 219-206.

Faced with uncertainty over Congress meeting its deadline to approve a bill, the House's leadership scheduled a vote on both the long-term spending bill and a stop-gap continuing resolution. It passed a two-day resolution in order to give the Senate time to consider the spending bill.

The $1.014 trillion spending measure has been criticized for easing rules on campaign finance and the banking industry. But its supporters say it's also a bipartisan deal that would fund most of the U.S. government until next October.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., called it a "hold your nose vote."

The final tally for the spending bill was starkly different from that in an earlier procedural vote.

Around mid-day, no Democrat voted in favor. But after the final vote was called shortly after 9 p.m. ET, more than 30 Democrats voted for the spending bill. In contrast, more than twice as many Republicans voted against it in the final tally than had earlier in the day.

We've updated this text; from our earlier post:

Disagreement over the bill forced the final vote to be delayed for hours Thursday. It also created unlikely alliances: The White House joined with House Speaker John Boehner to rally support for the measure, most House Democrats agreed with a small group of Republicans – including Rep. Michele Bachmann – that the bill should be rejected.

You can read the bill, broken down by government agency, on the House Appropriations Committee site.

The legislation was nicknamed "cromnibus" because it combines the traditional sweeping scope of an omnibus spending bill with a continuing resolution (CR). While it would fund most of the government until the next financial year, the Department of Homeland Security would only be funded through February, in a move that seeks to limit President Obama's recent executive actions on immigration.

Another part of the measure would vastly increase the maximum amount of money a contributor can give to a political party.

"Right now a person can give just under $100,000 a year to a party through its various committees," NPR's Ailsa Chang reports on All Things Considered. "And under this bill, that cap goes up to almost $800,000."

Shortly after noon Thursday, the bill squeezed by in the rules vote, 214-212, after Republican leaders, including Speaker John Boehner and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry, walked the floor to bolster support, NPR's Juana Summers reports.

After no Democrats voted in favor and more than a dozen Republicans defected to vote against, the House was adjourned so Boehner could organize his support.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi spoke out against the bill in the House earlier Thursday, sharply criticizing it for altering rules in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to let banks place both standard accounts and accounts that handle riskier derivative trades under the protection of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"I was so really heartbroken ... to see the taint that was placed on this valuable appropriations bill from on high," Pelosi said. She told her colleagues that anyone voting for the legislation would be putting their name next to what she called "a ransom" and "blackmail" that would profit Wall Street.

Discussing the opposition, Boehner said the provisions were "agreed to in this bill on a bipartisan, bicameral agreement. So while some members may have objected to this issue or that issue, nobody did this unilaterally. We've done this in a bipartisan fashion, and frankly it's a good bill."

Others have criticized the bill for containing provisions such as one that seeks to block Washington, D.C.'s bid to legalize the recreational use of marijuana — as more than 65 percent of the federal district's voters decided to do last month.

The Hill tells us who voted with the Democrats against the spending measure earlier Thursday:

"The 16 Republican defectors were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Dave Brat (Va.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Steve King (Iowa), Raúl Labrador (Idaho), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Matt Salmon (Ariz.) and Steve Stockman (Texas)."

D.A.King weighs in on GOP's amnesty plans

D.A. King is a nationally recognized authority on immigration and president of the Georgia-based, pro-enforcement immigration watchdog group, the Dustin Inman Society.  Read his letter to the editor about the GOP's plan to keep their heads down as President Obama's amnesty scheme washes over us.

D.A. King is an endorser for the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses campaign.  We are proud to have him be a part of our campaign!
 

Sheriffs to Converge On DC, Demand GOP Block Boehner's Plan to Fund Obama's Amnesty

On Wednesday, 50 sheriffs from around the country will converge on Washington, D.C. to demand that the GOP block House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) plans to fund Obama's executive amnesty.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), "the sheriffs will speak out against the president's recent executive amnesty which grants deferred action to millions of illegal aliens."

Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson of Bristol County, Massachusetts organized the trip to the nation's capital. He will be joined by the other sheriffs at "a joint press conference with Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and David Ritter (R-LA), and other members of Congress."

The press conference is being held on December 10 because that comes less than two days "before government funding expires." To date, FAIR reports that Boehner has been hesitant to say he will not fund Obama's amnesty, choosing instead to say "there are a lot of options on the table" or "we have limited options in terms of how we can deal with this."

In reality, Boehner can see to it that Congress separates Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding "from the larger omnibus appropriation measure" and explicitly states that no funds can be used to fund Obama's amnesty. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is all but certain to oppose and attempt to block this move. Therefore, another avenue -- one of less resistance -- is to "kick the can down the road on DHS funding until early 2015 when the Republicans control both houses of Congress." This option takes Reid out of the scenario but it also means Boehner will have to be pressured all over again in January when the measure comes back up.

Option three is to pass a bill that simply defunds amnesty. This is a straightforward approach. And although it would face "a near certain veto" it would also force Obama to come out and "hold DHS hostage to his amnesty program."

Boehner's fourth option is to simply ignore the will of midterm election voters and obey Obama's wishes. But the sheriff's are coming to D.C. to ask the GOP to stop Boehner from doing this.
 

GOP Spending Bill Gives Nearly $1 Billion To Aid Border Migrants

The GOP’s draft 2015 “omnibus” spending bill reportedly includes $948 million to help poor and unskilled Central American migrants establish themselves in the United States, but includes no effective restrictions on President Barack Obama’s plan to provide work permits and tax payments to millions of resident illegal immigrants.

That new spending works out to $16,928 for each of the 56,000 youths, young adults and children who crossed the border during the 12 months up to October 2014.

Prior to October, Obama’s officials sent only 1,901 of the migrants back home to Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, according to a federal report.

Much of the $948 million may also be used to care for the next wave of illegals who could flood across the border during the summer. The influx in the summer of 2015 is expected to be large, because Obama is offering work permits and social security numbers to at least five million illegals already in the country.

The $948 million fund is part of the one-year, $1 trillion 2015 spending plan described in a late-night report from The New York Times.

The GOP leadership has given merely lip service to supporting the opposition among GOP legislators and much of the public to Obama’s welcome for foreign migrants, and is now refusing to direct the Department of Homeland Security not to spend any funds on implementing the Obama amnesty.

Instead, the leadership, led by House Speaker John Boehner, drafted a bill imposing a 60-day spending limit for Obama’s immigration agencies.

The planned 60-day spending limit is largely symbolic, because the most important immigration agency can operate on fees paid by the illegals.

“Leadership is basically giving in to every facet of Obama’s amnesty. We’re giving up an astonishing amount of leverage on every issue imaginable,” said one Hill aide.

The struggle between Boehner’s business wing and the populist conservative wing, has received little coverage in the established media, even though GOP legislators are calling for the public to protest their leadership’s policies. Top GOP officials have said they would like to pass their own amnesty and foreign worker bill in 2015.

Obama’s amnesty, announced Nov. 21, minimizes enforcement of immigration law against all 12 million illegals in the United States, and creates enforcement loopholes for new migrants coming over the border or flying into U.S. airports on temporary visas.

The plan also puts many illegals on a fast-track to citizenship, and increases the inflow of university-trained migrants who can gain citizenship if they compete for any professional jobs sought by U.S. college graduates.

The cost of Obama’s amnesty is expected to reach $2 trillion over 50 years, or roughly $22,000 per new U.S. college graduate.

In 2014, Obama’s agencies accepted the children, youths and adults delivered to them at the border by paid escorts, before providing them with health screenings and air transport to parents and family members throughout the United States.

Obama’s deputies are also spending at least $7 million to provide free lawyers to the migrants so they can win court cases to remain in the United States. Up to 1,901 were sent home by October.

The money likely will also be used to support family units of women and children that cross the border.

In fiscal 2014, roughly 66,000 people in family units crossed the border. Only 582 were repatriated before October. Nearly all were allowed to apply for residency, and either attend American schools or apply for work permits.

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