national legislation

The way to win

The push for a “wall” seems to have many backers who oppose illegal immigration.  But they need to think of the “wall” in broader terms.  A physical wall is only one way, and not necessarily the best way, to stop illegal immigration.

Let’s expand the goal to include both physical and new legal barriers.  The latter are desperately needed.

Van Esser of Numbers USA succinctly outlines several steps that would actually cut down on illegal immigration more effectively than “the wall.” 

… “It’s commonly accepted that around forty percent of illegal immigration is caused by people overstaying their visas. An effective entry-exit system with interior enforcement will solve that problem, not a wall.

“The prospect for jobs induces most illegal border crossings and visa overstays. And the draw increases for those inclined to have a family on U.S. soil since the wrongful interpretation of the 14th Amendment yields public benefits for their kids. Here too, a wall is of limited benefit compared to cutting off the jobs magnet through E-Verify and a legislative clarification of ‘birthright citizenship.’

“For some time now, the prospect for jobs also has induced migrants to game our asylum system. Loopholes in the asylum law, combined with related court rulings, virtually guarantee release for ‘family units’ that present themselves at ports of entry. And if the numbers remain high, others must be released due to limited detention space. A wall can’t fix this problem because most are using ‘doors.’ … “ 

Van Esser calls for a change in campaign strategy:

“The battle we face is one to protect American lives and livelihoods, our quality of life, the National Treasure and, ultimately, our sovereignty. In a sense, it’s a modern-day equivalent of the founding fathers protecting our unalienable rights of ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ They fought for our independence and it’s time we defend ours. We need to wall ourselves off from illegal border crossers, visa overstayers and asylum gamers.”

That means a wall of effective, well-enforced immigration controls not limited to a physical structure.  Chiefly we need:  mandatory E-Verify, an end to birthright citizenship, closing of loopholes in the asylum and refugee rules.  Also, with modern electronic technology, we can now set up the much-needed, effective entry-exit system that will screen travelers coming in by air and sea, as well as those crossing land borders, and ensure that they depart on schedule. 

Trump Administration Aims to Sharply Restrict New Green Cards for Those on Public Aid

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administration deems a drain on the country.

The move could force millions of poor immigrants who rely on public assistance for food and shelter to make a difficult choice between accepting financial help and seeking a green card to live and work legally in the United States.

Older immigrants, many of whom get low-cost prescription drugs through the Medicare Part D program, could also be forced to stop participating...

The move is not intended to affect most immigrants who have already been granted green cards, but advocates have said they fear that those with legal resident status will stop using public benefits to protect their status. The regulation, which the administration said would affect about 382,000 people a year, is the latest in a series of aggressive crackdowns by President Trump and his hard-line aides on legal and illegal immigration.

Federal law has always required those seeking green cards to prove they will not be a burden and has taken into consideration the acceptance of cash benefits. But the government has never before considered the use of other public benefits, like assistance for food.

Now, the new regulation — announced on the Department of Homeland Security website — will require that immigration caseworkers consider the use of public benefits to be “heavily weighed negative factors” for those who are applying to remain legally in the country on a permanent basis. Those who are deemed likely to become dependent on government assistance will probably be denied.

The rule would affect people seeking to immigrate to the United States permanently and others who are in the country on temporary visas — including students and workers — who seek to stay permanently...

In a news release, the Department of Homeland Security said the new rule would “ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits.”...

Pro-immigrant activists predict that poor immigrants will immediately begin withdrawing from public assistance programs...

“This is an attack on immigrant families and an attempt to make our immigration system a pay-to-play system where only the wealthy need apply,” said Jackie Vimo, a policy analyst with the National Immigration Law Center...

Stephen Miller, the president’s top immigration adviser, has long believed that being tough on immigrants is a winning tactic for Republican candidates...

But the breadth of the effect on immigrants could also energize liberal voters to support Democratic candidates. In New York, for example, city officials estimated that under an earlier draft of the regulation, which was leaked to the news media, nearly one million people could be hurt.

They said the children of immigrants who are in the United States legally could be the most vulnerable. Indeed, immigrant parents who work low-wage jobs and rely on assistance may need to remove their children from the programs to keep their families together in the United States. Unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for nearly all public benefits.

Trump administration officials say the rule is intended to promote fiscal responsibility.

“Self-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law since this country’s earliest immigration statutes,” the proposal says. It remains United States policy that “the availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States.” (emphasis added)

The government has traditionally considered someone who relies on government cash assistance for more than half of his or her income a public charge. Now, however, officials will take into account whether an individual or a family has received any of an assortment of noncash public benefits, such as aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps; the Section 8 program, which provides housing assistance; or the Medicare prescription drug program for older adults.

“This is long overdue,” said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, whose research supports decreased immigration. “This country has defined public charge in a fictional way in order to facilitate high levels of low-skilled immigration. But this is simply a 21st-century definition of what public charge is.”

Officials said that the new rule did not apply to refugees or asylum seekers who enter the country, or to legal immigrants who serve in the military. Cash or other assistance given to the immigrant victims of natural disasters would not be counted against them.

Critics of the new rule argue that it deviates from longstanding precedent and from Congress’s original intent for the public-charge statute...

Nearly 20 million children in immigrant families could be affected by the policy changes, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation that examined a draft of the new rule that was even broader than the one announced on Saturday. Almost nine in 10 of those children are United States citizens.

“The proposal is clearly intended to deny basic supports like food, health care and housing to lawfully present immigrants and their families — including millions of children and U.S. citizens — who pay taxes, work, go to school and contribute to our country’s economy,” Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington wrote in April in a letter to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the agency that reviews proposed rules before they are published. The mayor of Seattle wrote a similar letter expressing concerns...

“It’s a bit like the creation of a castelike system,” Mr. Fremstad said. “Unless you’ve had an ‘American dream’ going for you in your home country, you’re going to have a hard time earning it here. It’s really screening those people.”

Mr. Krikorian does not contest that view.

“This isn’t a moral issue,” he said. “A Honduran with a sixth-grade education level isn’t morally flawed, but he works three jobs and still can’t feed his family. Immigrants with low levels of skill are a mismatch for a modern society like ours.”

The complex web of technicalities surrounding the new rule are difficult to understand, said Charles Wheeler, a legal expert at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, so the number of immigrants who withdraw from programs could exceed even the number who are subject to the rule.

 

Paying the bill for illegal immigration

Our conflicting immigration policies and rules in the U.S. can lead to some amazing true-life stories. Here’s a shocker that wouldn’t have happened had Congress not passed so many loopholes and dodges in immigration laws, making immigration law enforcement extremely complicated and often misreported in the media.

How about a little sympathy for the needs of U.S. citizens, and not so much for the millions of foreign nationals who enter and stay in the country illegally? 

1. Check out the immigration voting records of your members of Congress here.

2. Vote YES on the Stop Oregon Sanctuaries initiative (Measure105) in the Oregon general election, November 6, 2018.

LOOK WHAT THIS ILLEGAL ALIEN IS COSTING THE U.S.:

Paying the Cost — Literally — for Alien Criminals in the United States

By Dan Cadman, Center for Immigration Studies,  on July 31, 2018

[Excerpt only.  For emphasis, we’ve put some parts into bold font.  Read the full article here.]

I've been reading about the case of an illegal alien from Mexico who was arrested and criminally charged in a county in Utah for serial sexual abuse of his 8-year-old stepdaughter. He has also been charged with multiple counts of document fraud and identity theft, almost certainly because once arrested for the pedophilia crimes, law enforcement officials determined that he was living and working in the United States with phony documents involving someone else's Social Security number or name.

The alien, 49-year-old Gerardo Valerio-Romero, since being jailed, has been diagnosed with cancer and run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Worse, the treatments have necessitated postponements of his trial, which results in the need for more treatment, and so forth, in a downward financial spiral that is bankrupting the county sheriff's office.

Two media accounts show some of the troubling aspects that crop up in such cases.

KUER public radio, for instance, quotes his lawyer as suggesting that the sheriff's office simply drop the charges and let him be deported to Mexico (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "ICE", that much-reviled agency of late, has filed a detainer seeking custody after the disposition of Valerio-Romero's criminal charges.) The sheriff's office responded that they don't wish to, because of the uncertainty that he will actually be deported should that occur. Almost as an afterthought, the sheriff suggested that such a recourse permits the man to avoid accountability.  …

It seems to me that criminal accountability is vitally important in this case. As a retired ICE official, it's something I'm confident current ICE agents also feel strongly about, because they know the system. The truth is that, even if he were removed, policing our border is such a difficult proposition these days — with resistance to border barriers, continual pushes to play the catch-and-release game, and the big money to be made in human smuggling — it's entirely likely that Valerio-Romero would illegally return in a relatively short period of time and simply relocate someplace else with new fraudulent documents bought cheaply from a storefront vendor.

As to the sheriff's assertion that he "does not believe Immigration and Customs Enforcement will push to deport Romero should the county release him", that needs put into context:

If the Utah County district attorney's office foolishly drops the charges, then Valerio-Romero may be an illegal alien, but he's not a criminal alien. He drops to the bottom of the priority list not only for ICE, but also for the immigration court. If ICE attempts to detain him without bond, or with a high bond, his immigration attorney will undoubtedly at that point say, "But judge, he's not a convict, he's simply illegally in the United States like the other 11 million or so aliens in his circumstance." ICE is consistently hammered for allegedly deporting aliens who have no criminal convictions. That sometimes is so, but Valerio-Romero is exactly the kind of case that gets statistically misreported by the hundreds in the press or by opportunistic migrant advocates, who choose to obfuscate the facts behind each of those cases, leaving the public with serious misunderstandings of the work going on behind the scenes.

The other article about the case, in the Daily Caller, quotes Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie as saying:

We're looking to the federal government and federal delegation to step up. It's their responsibility to enforce these laws. It's their failure to act that's created this situation.

Oh? How does that follow? Does Utah County step up and take responsibility for the medical cost of victims of violent crimes since it is clearly "their responsibility" to enforce laws against such crimes?

How about pedophiles? Putting aside the man's immigration status, isn't it Utah County's job to protect children against predators, which they failed to do in this case? Will they be paying for the years of psychological treatment that the victimized child should receive? If not, why not?

I don't want to suggest that I'm without sympathy for the plight of the county sheriff's office. On the contrary, they have been caught in the cross-hairs of a myopic county commission that apparently was too foolhardy to obtain catastrophic inmate health care insurance on one hand, and a federal Congress on the other hand that even now cannot bring itself to pass overdue and sorely needed immigration enforcement reforms.

Instead, Congress is reduced to such foolishness as introducing bills to abolish ICE on the Democratic side of the House, and nonbinding resolutions "in support" of ICE on the Republican side, even as their Appropriations Committee adopts a series of measures in the 2019 budget that would turn a bad situation even uglier.

Sessions Shuts Down Stealth Amnesty

WASHINGTON Attorney General Jeff Sessionss has ordered an end to a longstanding practice of immigration judges (IJs): administratively closing cases to make them disappear from the docket. Immigration judges did this so often in past administrations that the procedure amounted to a vast amnesty-by-stealth for deportable aliens. When an alien’s case is administratively closed, the alien gets to stay in the United States until the case is reopened—and most such cases, once closed, are never reopened.

The Attorney General noted that out of fourteen briefs he received from various groups, the brief of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) was the only one to oppose administrative closure. Again and again, this lopsidedness in briefing is the reality in these cases, with dozens of groups pushing open borders, and IRLI, standing alone, advocating enforcement.

Agreeing with IRLI’s brief, the Attorney General noted that no statute or regulation confers general authority on IJs to employ administrative closure. And Sessions declined to grant IJs this authority. Instead, he expressly overruled prior Board of Immigration Appeals cases that had recognized it.

Sessions’ ruling means that IJs will be unable to use administrative closure except in certain narrow circumstances where its use is provided for in regulations. As for cases that previously have been administratively closed, Sessions ordered that they must be reopened if either party that is, either the Department of Homeland Security or the alien so requests. Thus, his ruling ends stealth amnesty going forwward, and frees the government to roll back the massive stealth amnesty that has already happened.

“We are pleased that the Attorney General agreed with us and not the thirteen briefs on the other side,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “This ruling chokes off an abuse that has gone on far too long: letting deportable aliens stay by making their immigration cases just disappear. Immigration Judges undoubtedly are overworked,” Wilcox added, “but they are charged with applying our immigration laws, and have no authority simply to erase deportable aliens’ cases from the docket. Now the administration’s duty is clear: to step up, recalendar these prior cases, and finally bring them to a conclusion.”

The case is Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018).

Big swindle on U.S. workers

The “Optional Practical Training” program -- what a benign-sounding name for a program that has devastating consequences for job-hungry citizens!

“OPT” is a program that’s legal, thanks to colluding bureaucrats and ignorant or corrupt elected officials.  It gives employers the legal right to hire foreign workers instead of citizens for mostly computer-related jobs, and not only gives employers the right, it incentivizes them to do so by excusing them from paying the Social Security taxes they would have to pay if they hired a citizen for the same job.

Then business and politically-correct media fudge the truth about the program, keeping the public in the dark about it.

David North, of the Center for Immigration Studies, exposes the Wall Street Journal and other media in his blog:  Wall Street Journal Describes Foreign 'Student' Work Program, but Omits $2 Billion Taxpayer Subsidy.

“There's a government program that rewards American employers for not hiring American college grads — for hiring foreign alumni instead — by draining about $2 billion a year from the government trust funds for the elderly (Medicare and Social Security) to pay those employers.

“It is the Optional Practical Training program.”

Read the rest of the blog here.

In a detailed history of how this program developed, John Miano, of CIS and co-author of the book, Sold Out, writes:

“OPT is an example of the administrative state run amok. Instead of law coming from Congress, we have law coming from bureaucrats working hand-in-hand with lobbyists. OPT also illustrates the slippery-slope problem of regulation. Work on student visas started innocently as an integral part of a course of study to give foreign students an experience not available in their home country, but eventually was transformed into a full-blown guestworker program whose stated purpose is to provide labor to American business.

“Congress's definition of student visa status cannot possibly encompass aliens who are either working full-time or are unemployed years after they have graduated.”

“The question now is whether the courts will ever make a decision on OPT or whether the Trump administration will realize that OPT is an unlawful program that should be terminated.”

See the history at: https://cis.org/Report/History-Optional-Practical-Training-Guestworker-Program

News media get F on immigration reporting

How trustworthy are the major newspapers and news media in this country?  Judging from recent reports, not very.  Critical information about the amnesty bills before Congress was omitted by major media.  Here’s proof:

Media Fail: June 30th, 2018 provision goes unreported

By Jeremy Beck, NumbersUSA, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018

Excerpts:

54 Senators voted yesterday in support of an immigration proposal put forward by Senators Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Rounds (D-S.D.), and Angus King (I-Maine), the self-described "Common Sense Caucus". Did they know what they were voting for?

The proposal's language was still being tweaked on Wednesday but by Thursday morning, Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times had the scoop on some extraordinary details:

Not only would the bill enshrine Obama-era deportation rules, protecting most of the current 11 million illegal immigrants from fear of removal, but it extends those same protections to any illegal immigrants who can jump the border between now and June 30....

.... The key language is on the last page of the amendment which Mr. Schumer introduced last Wednesday.

The bill reads: "In carrying out immigration enforcement activities, the secretary shall prioritize available immigration enforcement resources to aliens who arrived in the United States after June 30, 2018."  …

The "Obama-era deportation rules" effectively exempted 87 percent of unauthorized aliens from immigration law by requiring enforcement agencies to only prioritize convicted felons, gang members national security threats and "recent" border crossers.

The "Common Sense Caucus" attempted to reinstate the Obama rules legislatively, but changed the "we-promise-to-get-serious-now" date from January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2018. Doing so would ensure that people who entered the country illegally after January 1, 2014 wouldn't be held accountable for the Obama administration's failure to keep its promise and (inexplicably) extend that assurance to people who successfully enter the country illegally at any point over the next four months. …

If American voters had asked Congress to devise a plan to cause another border surge, they could not have asked for much more than what the "Common Sense Caucus" came up with.

Rosemary Jenks, Director of Government Relations for NumbersUSA, has read more immigration legislation than anyone on Capitol Hill and she told the Washington Times that she had never seen anything like the June 30th provision. …

… in the hours leading up to the Senate vote...

The New York Times did not report the June 30, 2018 provision.

The Washington Post did not report the June 30, 2018 provision.

The Associated Press did not report the June 30, 2018 provision.

The Wall Street Journal did not report the June 30, 2018 provision.

Reuters did not report the June 30, 2018 provision.

McClatchy did not report the June 30, 2018 provision.

USA Today did not report the June 30, 2018 provision.

The Los Angeles Times did not report the June 30, 2018 provision.

We've seen this kind of epic fail before. In 2013, the Senate voted on - and passed - the "Gang of Eight" bill that included what would have set off the largest immigration increase in United States history, yet in the months leading up to the votes, none of the above newspapers reported the size and historical nature of that provision. The focus back then - as it was this week - was on the legalization provision. The proposed increases in immigration were deeply unpopular with the public and one would imagine the June 30th provision would be as well. By keeping those details out of news reports, the media helped the sponsors of both proposals present their ideas in the best possible light without having to defend the deeply unpopular aspects. …

------------------

Read the entire article here.

Dick Durbin: It's unlikely we'll reach a DACA deal, but 'I don't see a government shutdown coming'

Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday senators are unlikely to reach an immigration deal before government funding expires later this week, and there won’t be another partial government shutdown over the issue.

“There is not likely to be a DACA deal, though we're working every single day on telephone calls and person to person to try to reach this bipartisan agreement,” said Durbin, D-Ill., the second-ranked Democrat, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union." "I don't see a government shutdown coming.”

Durbin said he is encouraged about negotiations occurring between moderate Democrats and Republicans...
 
Trump announced last year that he would end the DACA program, and he gave Congress until March 5 to address the status of the immigrants, known as “Dreamers.”
 
Durbin said lawmakers are unlikely to reach a deal before Feb. 8...

Parts of the government temporarily shut down last month...

The government shutdown ended when Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, said he received a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to allow debate and a vote on an immigration bill.

“We're making real progress,” Durbin said. “I want to salute the moderates in both the Republicans' and Democratic caucuses in the Senate. I do see a promise by Sen. McConnell to finally bring this critical issue that effects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in America, finally bringing it to a full debate in the Senate. That's what we were looking for when there was a shutdown. We have achieved that goal. We're moving forward.”

The White House has said President Trump won’t sign an immigration bill unless it also funds a border wall and changes other parts of the immigration system, such as ending the visa lottery program and limiting family-based immigration.

'Dreamer' amnesty now but an end to chain migration in 15 years? No, thanks.

Why Cutting Chain Migration Must Be Part of an Immigration Deal

Immediate relief for ‘Dreamers’ but an end to chain migration in 15 years? No, thanks.

By Jessica Vaughan, Center for Immigration Studies, February 1, 2018

Excerpt:

...  Trump's proposal is to offer immediate legalization to 1.8 million Dreamers, some 700,000 of whom currently have work permits issued, unconstitutionally, under President Obama, and more than a million others who also arrived as children but did not qualify for DACA because of age or failure to complete high school, or some other reason.

To offset these numbers, the Trump plan would cut off sponsorship of adult relatives outside the nuclear family, including parents, and end the visa lottery. Those changes would reduce legal immigration by about 33 percent from today's levels.

Unfortunately, in an effort to mollify high-immigration fans from both parties in Congress, the chain-migration cuts under the Trump plan would not go into effect until the entire waiting list of family chain-migration applicants is cleared. This would take at least 10 years. Then it would take another five years or so before the future chain-migration cuts could offset the 1.8 million new green cards for the Dreamers.

So, if the proposal becomes law, the Dreamers will obtain relief from deportation immediately upon passage of the bill, but Americans will have to wait 15 years for relief from chain migration.

Even more concerning, a proposal now being hammered out by Senate Republicans reportedly would create a new form of residency visa for parents of naturalized citizens, including the parents of the Dreamers. In this scenario, there would be very little decrease in immigration to offset the amnesty, which could then cover about six million people.

No one thought that reaching a deal for the Dreamers would be easy, but it's not urgent, either. Now that a federal judge in California has ordered the government to resume renewing DACA work permits for the foreseeable future, there is no deadline on DACA. Given that Trump's initial offer of a deal has gone over like a lead balloon with Democrats, and that squishy Senate Republicans are likely to take his proposal and dilute it beyond recognition or value, Trump should step back from the table. Making a deal for the sake of a deal will be a bad deal for Americans. Take a break and let the Democrats (and GOP amnesty-pushers) ponder their choice: permanent status for the Dreamers, or preserving future chain migration? Americans won't tolerate both.

End DACA now

Alan Gallagher, of Canby, writes in the Capital Press of September 21 that “Systematic breaking of American law should not be rewarded. Illegal aliens and DACA recipients have broken American law by illegal entry or overstay, and violated American law every day — every day — by using false/forged/stolen documents to obtain work and benefits, by lying and using false documents on I-9 forms, by tax fraud, driving without licenses and insurance, and so on. These are not minor crimes, and are deeply corrupting to America’s Rule of Law.”

His article is titled “Congress has already passed an immigration law” and subtitled “DACA recipients, and their parents, have no respect for rule of law, and believe that they may pick and choose which laws to obey.”  Gallagher presents a strong case for immediately ending DACA as well as DAPA.
 
He concludes:  “ … We would not be sending DACA recipients or illegal aliens to Hell, but to a great country, which needs and wants them (in spite of the potential loss of billions of dollars in remittances, $120 billion in total, $23 billion to Mexico).
 
“Mexico exports its problems to the U.S., and receives $23 billion in remittances annually, while U.S. employers gain cheap employees. The economic advantages to some are clear, but it is morally wrong.”
 
Read the full article here.
 
Gallagher’s letter resulted in editorial comments clarifying the newspaper’s position.  See their editorial here.
 
 

House Passes Verify First Act

The House of Representatives passed the Verify First Act, H.R. 2581, introduced by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), on Tuesday. The legislation, which would block illegal aliens from taxpayer-funded health insurance credits, passed by a 238-to-184 margin.

The Verify First Act would require the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to verify the citizenship or immigration status of every applicant for a credit under the AHCA before the Treasury Department issues the credit.

According to a 2016 Senate report, the government issued $750 million of Obamacare subsidies to individuals whose immigration status couldn't be verified as of June 2015.

Voting was mostly along party lines, but seven Democrats sided with the Republican majority in voting in favor of the Verify First Act, including:

Rep. Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.)
Rep. Stephen Lynch (Mass.)
Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.)
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)
Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.) was the only Republican to vote against the bill.

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