visas

HB 2932, sanctuary for criminal aliens

Alert date: 
2019-03-22
Alert body: 

A hearing on HB 2932 was held on Monday, March 18, by the House Judiciary Committee.  Several OFIR Board members attended and testified in opposition, submitting written testimony also.

OFIR has posted the testimonies at:  http://www.oregonir.org/immigration-topics/sanctuary-bill-2019-legislature.

A videotape of the Hearing can be viewed at: http://oregon.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=26213

We encourage citizens to express their views of this bill to their state Representatives.  To identify your state Representative and get phone number/email address, click here:  https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html.  After entering your address in the format requested, see the address card and click the tab labelled House.

Whatever happened to the “Hire American” promise?

Trump supporters and others were shocked to hear Pres. Trump ad lib, in the State of the Union address, his wish to bring in immigrants in record-breaking numbers.  Worse, he repeated the idea again the next day!

It seems that along with bringing American-run businesses back to the U.S., employers want to continue using foreign workers instead of U.S. citizen workers, and they’re lining up the President to assure they can keep on using cheap foreign labor in the U.S. at the expense of U.S. citizens.

Abuses of the H-1 visa program have been going on for many years, especially in the computer technology field, but also in other fields.

Here’s a good summary of the current situation: 

Do we really need so many foreign tech workers?

By Froma Harrop, syndicated columnist, Feb. 7, 2019

Americans don't usually think of technical professionals as "guest workers," yet at any one time, there are more than a half-million foreigners holding tech jobs in the U.S. They are here thanks to the H-1B visa program. H-1B, so the official spiel goes, addresses an alleged shortage of "highly skilled" Americans to fill jobs "requiring specialized knowledge."

Growing evidence, however, points to companies' using the program to replace perfectly qualified American workers with cheaper ones from elsewhere. A new report published by the Atlantic Council documents the abuses. The authors are Ron Hira, a political scientist at Howard University, and Bharath Gopalaswamy, director of the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center.

Among their criticisms:

—Virtually any white-collar job can be taken by an H-1B visa holder. About 70 percent of them are held not by what we consider tech workers but by teachers, accountants and salespeople, among others.

(Denver Public Schools employs teachers on H-1B visas. During a strike, the district actually threatened to report participating foreigners to immigration authorities. It later apologized.)

"By every objective measure," Hira and Gopalaswamy write, "most H-1B workers have no more than ordinary skills, skills that are abundantly available in the U.S. labor market."

U.S. colleges graduate 50 percent more students in engineering and in computer and information science than are hired in those fields every year, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute.

—Employers don't have to show they have a labor shortage to apply. They don't even have to try recruiting an American to fill the job.

Cutting labor costs is clearly the paramount "need." In Silicon Valley, computer systems analysts make on average just over $116,000 a year. But companies can hire H-1B workers at a lower skill level, paying them only about $77,000 a year to do the same work, the report says.

And it's not unheard-of for companies to ask American workers to train the H-1B workers taking their jobs. "60 Minutes" featured Robert Harrison, a senior telecom engineer at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. Asked whether training his replacement felt like digging his own grave, Harrison responded:

"It feels worse than that. It feels like not only am I digging the grave but I'm getting ready to stab myself in the gut and fall into the grave."

Apparently, the argument that "tech jobs need filling" has, in many cases, oozed to "we want cheaper foreigners." The H-1B program demands a major overhaul.

Read the entire article at:  https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/opinion/2019/02/07/do-we-really-need-so-many-foreign-tech-workers/2801047002/

Is Oregon's Congressional Delegation a shameful representation of America's values?

Illegal Aliens at SOTU Reveal Amnesty, Not American Interests, is Priority for Many on One Side of the Aisle

by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Executive Director Bob Dane

(January 30, 2018, Washington, D.C.) — Dozens of illegal aliens will attend the State of the Union address, invited as distinguished guests by Democrat lawmakers.

“This annual stunt is deeply offensive to Americans who know that the rule of law is the bedrock of our democracy. The United States Capitol is the revered building where those laws are made by the world’s greatest deliberative body; it is not an unruly theatre for flouting lawlessness. By granting VIP access to dozens of illegal aliens who consciously and proudly violate our laws, the Democrat members of Congress who invited them have clearly revealed their contempt for the rule of law as well.

“Those members have also revealed their real agenda; massive amnesty, unlimited immigration and disregard for any reforms that serve the American public’s interest. The message that will be sent by tonight’s presence of so-called ‘Dreamers’ is crystal clear and one-sided: violating our immigration laws is an inconsequential act and the public just needs to get used to it. We’re here, we’re unapologetic, we’re not going anywhere, we’re going to sit and stand anywhere we want – including the United States Capitol – and we demand to be rewarded with citizenship.  

“These tactics only serve to alienate many Americans and set back the debate. Americans have long needed – and have been promised – secure borders, robust interior enforcement, and a reduction in legal immigration levels while moving to a modern, merit-based system. None of it has happened, and tonight’s antics are an infuriating reminder of that, while also confirming who is responsible for the immigration reform stalemate.

“’Dreamers’ should consider whether they are just being used as political props by some Democrats who continue to oppose any and all reasonable immigration proposals. ‘Dreamers’ are certainly not advancing their cause with these defiant tactics that offend many Americans who might otherwise be interested in an earnest bipartisan solution, but only if it offers them what they want too.”
 

How some people get rich quickly

David North of the Center for Immigration Studies tells us how some people get rich quickly and legally.

It’s time to close the paths for schemers described in his article. 

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IF YOU WANT A LOT OF CASH, DON'T ROB A BANK, OPEN A VISA MILL!

By David North, January 17, 2018

[Excerpts]

If you want to secure a whole lot of money, and don't care how you get it, don't rob a bank, open a visa mill! As much as $53 million a year — all tax-free. You will get much more loot than in a bank heist, there will be no physical danger, and the government will either help your school or look the other way.

Visa mills are an immigration concern because they attract thousands of low-skilled aliens (the schools routinely have 100 percent admission rates). Most of the alien students, who secure, at best, fourth-rate educations, immediately obtain government-subsidized jobs, depriving un-subsidized resident workers of the same jobs.

Government subsidies for foreign students that are denied to American ones? Absolutely!

...

A visa mill is defined as a lesser educational institution that provides more in work permits for aliens than in education. This posting was inspired by reading the most recent income statements (Form 990) provided to the government by four highly prosperous but marginal schools that, if you will, major in Work Permits for Aliens. The four were among a larger group of 55 examined in the recent CIS Backgrounder "The Dregs of Higher Education Damage Our Immigration System".

...

These are obscure institutions and all levels of governments ignore them beyond the ultimate gifts of letting them have the power to issue the paper that leads to the F-1 visa and the power to grant to all their alumni and most of their students an easy path to subsidized American jobs.

The IRS could question their charity status; the State Department could stop issuing visas to many or all the students accepted at such places; and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, part of the Department of Homeland Security, could crack down on the abuses in these programs — but none of them lift a finger, nor do state governments — with one honorable exception.

The exception is the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), which recently closed one visa mill in Northern Virginia and a couple of years ago terminated another one in the same general area.

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View the entire article here.

Oregon immigrant rights groups respond to Trump's order for 200,000 Salvadorans to leave U.S.

The Trump administration will end temporary legal immigration status for 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the U.S. for nearly two decades, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

The decision means that Salvadorans who currently have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) must return to their homeland by September 2019 or become undocumented immigrants if they choose to remain without legal protections.

Salvadorans were first granted TPS in 2001 following a pair of devastating earthquakes that killed nearly 1,000 people and destroyed more than 100,000 homes in the Central American country.

There are roughly 4,784 foreign-born Salvadorans living in Oregon, according to a 2016 Migration Policy Institute report. Roughly 1.2 percent of Oregon Salvadorans were born in the United States. It's unclear how many TPS holders are affected in Oregon.

The decision comes two months after the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to end temporary residency permit programs granting 5,000 citizens from Nicaragua and 60,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States for roughly 20 years and eight years, respectively. In November, the Trump administration postponed a decision until July regarding a similar program granting refuge for 86,000 residents from Honduras.

Oregon immigrant rights and human rights organizations called the decision inhumane.

"The biggest issue is that these folks have put roots in Oregon, they have jobs, they have children born here," said Levi Herrera-Lopez. "Just like the issue of DACA, people are deciding if their families are going to have to split up."

The Salvadoran Embassy in Washington estimates that 97 percent of Salvadorans in the program over the age of 24 are employed and paying taxes, and more than half own their own homes. Salvadorans on TPS have also given birth to 192,000 children, all U.S. citizens, according to a report from the Center for Migration Studies.

For Carlos Garcia, 58, of El Salvador, he said his days are now numbered.

He fled his home country with his two sons, who are both now Dreamers awaiting their own looming deadline, roughly 17 years ago.

Garcia works as a detailer for an auto dealership and works parttime installing windshields in vehicles.

"What am I going to do now? I’ve been a tax paying resident of this country and I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do," Garcia said.

Garcia said he's known tightening immigration reform has been one of Trump's sole focuses since his campaign, but the reality of returning to El Salvador's "corrupt" government and its "organized crime" is a concern.

"How can anyone live under these circumstances of not knowing what's going to happen this month, or this year?" Garcia said. "The main problem here is the mental health of 200,000 Salvadorans who don't know what the outcome will be."

He said his American dream has become the "American nightmare." Garcia hopes Congress will step in and pressure Trump to reverse the action.

Herrera-Lopez, executive director of Mano a Mano Family Center, a Latino-led community organization offering immigration assistance and youth development services, said Trump's decision falls in line with his campaign promise of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants. 

"I understand that these people were offered temporary status, but El Salvador's challenges have not been stabilized," Herrera-Lopez said. "That may be true from the natural disaster standpoint, but not of the social stability of the country."

He points to the country's struggle with Mara Salvatrucha, an international gang commonly known as MS13, in addition to other local crimes that may put tens of thousands of returned Salvadorans at a disadvantage.

"Their economy may not be stable enough to absorb 200,000 people," Herrera-Lopez said. "For many, they are going to a country that is foreign to them, that has changed over the past 20 years, and that is completely disconnected."

An Oregon anti-illegal immigration organization supports the president's action.

Jim Ludwick, communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said decision demonstrate's Trump's understanding that every nation has a sovereign right to establish immigration policies.

"They were brought in because of the earthquake and were supposed to be here on a temporary basis, but some people have a different definition of 'temporary,'" Ludwick said. "El Salvador has the right to regulate who goes into their country, just like we have the right to regulate who comes into ours."

He said he doesn't understand why people oppose the action, saying families don't have to be torn apart during their return to El Salvador. Hypothetically, he said, if he had children in another country, and his visa ran out, he wouldn't leave his family there.

"Trump isn't breaking up families," Ludwick said. "If someone breaks up their families, they're doing it themselves."

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, translated as Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United, plans on coordinating with other Oregon immigrant rights organizations like Mano a Mano to localize efforts and rally support from elected officials and business leaders, but they are thinking nationally as well.

PCUN's secretary-treasurer Jaime Arredondo said they are organizing along with their partner Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a national coalition of grassroots immigrant rights organizations.

"This is something we saw coming, so we're seeing if we can do anything on a national level to delay it or to make sure it's done away with,"Arredondo said.

Mat dos Santos, the legal director of the ACLU of Oregon, said President Trump's focus on targeted immigration operations, including rescinding DACA and ending other TPS programs, will tear Oregon families apart.

"This is another reminder from the Trump administration that new Americans are seen as a threat and not contributors to our country," dos Santos said.

He said he and his ACLU colleagues are expecting to get calls from Salvadorans who are impacted by the program's cut.

Kayse Jama, executive director of immigrant and refugee rights organization Unite Oregon, said the move demonstrates the systematic dismantling of immigration in the United States.

Jama, of Somalia, said President Trump's ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries has prevented him from returning to his home country, and that this recent program cut is only sustaining the president's "anti-immigrant" rhetoric still looming from his campaign.

"These community members are dishwashers, they working in nursing homes, they have their own businesses," Jama said. "This will have huge implications for the Salvadoran community but also our economy."

USA TODAY contributed to this story.

Email Lauren Hernandez at lehernande@statesmanjournal.com, call 503-399-6743 or follow on Twitter @LaurenPorFavor

Importing high-tech students and workers

 
A former Senior Special Agent with 30 years of INS service warns that “The notion of flooding America with increasing numbers of foreign high-tech students and foreign high-tech workers is a ‘Lose/Lose’ for America and Americans.”
 
Michael Cutler, writing on the Californians for Population Stabilization website, points out the problems in admitting large numbers of high-tech students who may or may not plan to use their knowledge for peaceful endeavors.  He notes that:
 
“ …today more than 500,000 foreign students are enrolled in universities in the United States to study the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curricula.
 
“While not all of these students are studying disciplines that have a direct nexus to nuclear technology, many disciplines do intersect with aerospace and nuclear technology. 
 
“Foreign students are permitted to engage in Optional Practical Training to put their education to use and learn how to apply what they have learned in the classrooms and university laboratories in the ‘real world.’ Sometimes these students work for companies that engage in military-related work. …”
 
China sends the second largest number (152,002) of foreign students to the U.S. after India which leads with 173,258, according to current statistics. 
 
Cutler says that China provides technical assistance to North Korea, a country continuously hostile to the U.S.
 
As well as endangering national security, the over-use of student and employee visa programs hurts U.S. citizen workers, which unfortunately is not a concern of some business interests.  Cutler quotes this testimony to Congress in 2009 by Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank:
 
“…Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at noncompetitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. …”
 
Should immigration policy serve to increase profits for businesses or to protect the safety and well-being of citizens?
 
Besides the safety factor, foreign students have a high rate of overstaying their visas.
 
Click here to read Cutler’s entire article,  America Undermines Its National Security By Educating Its Adversaries.
 

Victims of visa abuse

 
We hear a lot of tear-jerking stories about illegal aliens “living in the shadows.”  But there’s a huge group of U.S. citizens “living in the shadows” too.
 
They’re afraid to tell their stories of abuse and mistreatment by greedy employers who traffic in visa corruption by firing citizens and bringing in cheap, semi-slave labor to replace the citizens.
 
Thanks for Breitbart.com for its several exposés of this cancer in the U.S. economy.  In the current report, listen to some of the stories of greed, politics, and exploitation.
 
by John Binder, 27 June 2017, Washington, D.C
 
[Excerpts]
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – While Americans who have lost their jobs to outsourcing are willing to speak up, they remain fearfully hushed about the issue, making sure their names and former employers are not released.
 
Every year, more than 100,000 foreign workers are brought to the U.S. on the H-1B visa and are allowed to stay for up to six years. That number has ballooned to potentially hundreds of thousands each year, as universities and non-profits are exempt from the cap. With more entering the U.S. through the visa, Americans are often replaced and forced to train their foreign replacements.
 
As Breitbart Texas spoke to a number of workers in front of the White House, a reoccurring factor was that Americans would only speak anonymously.
 
“I have to remain anonymous,” one told Breitbart Texas. “It’s in my severance package.”
 
He had to move from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. just to find a job after he had been outsourced by Infosys, India’s top consulting firm.
 
“This is also a national security threat because foreigners are dominating an entire American industry, the worker said.
 
“If the Indian worker can’t do their job, it’s your fault for training them wrong.”  
 
 
Dawn, making a point to only give her first name, was laid-off and replaced by a foreign worker who she was forced to train.
 
Though other laid-off workers are excited to speak about their experience with outsourcing, even if anonymously, Dawn was more turned off by the fact that Congress has still not passed a single measure to protect Americans from what she went through.
 
“We watched about 1,400 people train their foreign replacements in New York City and not a word of this was on the news,” Dawn said. “This is treason to the American people. They should have put an end to this a long time ago.”
 
She said Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, know exactly what is occurring to the American middle and working classes, but they choose to not lift a finger on the issue. …
 
Read the entire article here.
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Click here to see NumbersUSA’s report of June 5, 2017, “USCIS: Disney and Other Companies Under Investigation for H-1B Abuse.”
 

DHS to Expand Controversial H-2B Visa Program, Breaking Trump Campaign Promise

The Trump administration has decided to expand the controversial H-2B visa program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week. (ABC News, June 21, 2017). DHS spokesperson David Lapan said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has yet to decide how many additional H-2B visas will be made available, but that the number should be set soon. (Id.) Lapan said the department expects to start issuing visas as soon as late July, setting the stage for the betrayal of a key Trump campaign promise—protecting American workers from cheaper foreign competition. (Id.)

In early May, at the behest of the business lobby, Congress gave Kelly and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta the power to more than double the number of H-2B visas issued this fiscal year. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 2, 2017) Shortly thereafter, Kelly indicated that he was receiving pressure from lawmakers and stakeholders on both sides of the issue, but hinted an increase was likely. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 30, 2017) “This is one of those things I wish I didn’t have discretion,” Kelly told the Senate Appropriations Committee. (Id.) “We’ll likely increase the numbers for this year, perhaps not by the entire number I’m authorized,” Kelly added at the time. (Id.)

The H-2B nonimmigrant visa program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring low-skilled foreign workers to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. (USCIS H-2B Program Fact Sheet) There is a cap on the total number of foreign workers who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during a fiscal year. (Id.) Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress set the H-2B cap at 66,000 workers per fiscal year. (INA § 214(g)(1)(B)) However, last month’s $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill gave Secretaries Kelly and Acosta the authority to ignore this cap and increase the number of low skilled foreign workers admitted by “the highest number” of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H-2B returning worker exemption. (FY 2017 Omnibus, Sec. 543) As a reminder, in December 2015, House Speaker Paul Ryan snuck into the FY 2016 omnibus a provision that exempted from the H-2B cap all low skilled workers admitted between 2013 and 2015. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 22, 2015) There is no reliable data on the number of H-2B workers who took advantage of the returning worker exemption. It is possible that this provision will allow 66,000 additional cheap foreign workers to flood the labor market through the end of September—further suppressing blue-collar wages and taking away opportunities from Americans trying to get back into the labor force.

FAIR criticized the announcement to further flood the labor market with foreign workers. “The administration's decision to exceed the 66,000 cap not only undermines struggling American workers, but betrays unequivocal promises President Trump made in his campaign,” FAIR President Dan Stein charged. (FAIR Press Release, June 22, 2017) “In President Trump's own words, ‘the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans—including immigrants themselves and their children—to earn a middle class wage,’” Stein added. (Id.)

FAIR’s June 21 letter to Secretary Kelly urging against an H-2B visa increase can be found here.

Students are top visa overstayers

 
A new report examining abuses in the visa programs shows that of all the various types of visas, the F, M, and J visas include the largest proportion of persons overstaying the time limits for their presence in the U.S.
 
The “F” visa is for academic students, “M” is for vocational students, and the “J” visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs.
 
Here are excerpts from the blog by David North, a longtime specialist in immigration matters.
 
By David North, Center for Immigration Studies, May 25, 2017 
 
Foreign students are more than twice as likely to overstay their visas as nonimmigrants coming to the United States generally.
 
That's an obvious but unremarked take-away from the "Fiscal Year 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report" just issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 
 
Using a statistical ratio based on the report, one out of 36 entrants with F, J, or M visas do not go home when their visas expire.
 
The overall ratio, for all nonimmigrant entries studied by DHS, is one out of 80 overstaying. The least troublesome of the subpopulations examined were those (from prosperous countries) on the Visa Waiver Program — only one out of 166 of them overstayed.
Nonimmigrants entering through the land ports of entry from Mexico and Canada are not covered by the study. The (relatively small) groups of Canadians and Mexicans mentioned above arrived following the receipt of a visa. Most people coming from those two countries do not have a visa. …
 
So how can we improve on the 1/36 ratio for foreign students? Well, different student populations have different characteristics, some of which are picked up in this study, and some are not. What this study shows is that some countries are much more likely to contribute overstays than others, with the world champion being Eritrea where the ratio is about one overstay for every 1.3 entrants. Put another way, 75 percent of those admitted as students from Eritrea are overstays.
 
Other nations with high ratios — all more than 10 times the global average — are Burkina Faso (1/2.2), Chad (1/2.7), the Democratic Republic of Congo (1/2.7), Djibouti (1/3.0), Libya (1/3.1), Benin (1/3.2), Gambia (1/3.4), and Cameroon (1/3.5). …
 
Then there is a group of 23 nations, one from Europe, several from Asia, but most from Africa, that have overstay ratios from five to 10 times the global average. Among those in this category are Bhutan, Haiti, Iraq, and Moldova. The ratios, in this list, range from 1 out of 3.7 down to 1 out of 35.9. 
…It is clear that some educational vultures have set up a small number of "colleges" that are really visa mills, designed to provide little if any education, but many opportunities to work legally in the United States before and after graduation. Sadly, neither the executive branch nor the Congress has taken the obvious step of deciding that if an educational institution cannot be accredited by a reviewing body currently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, it should not be allowed to cause the admission of foreign students.
 
Given the lack of a direct requirement banning such entities from business, the government, through the ultra-sleepy Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) part of ICE, which is part of DHS, is charged with closing the very worst of the visa mills. Once in a while it does so, but only after many overstays have been created and large profits have been reaped by the operators. … 
 
Proposed Actions. Given this background, we suggest that the Department of State … create different review standards for students from different groups of foreign students, by nation of origin, paying more attention to those from nations with high overstay rates …
 
More specifically, for the worst of the overstay-producers, those that have 10 or more times the overstay rates of the average, we suggest that the State Department simply terminate the granting of all visas to students from those countries until further notice. …
 
For … those producing five to 10 times the overstay rates, we suggest suspending student visas until the overstay rates fall below a ratio of five times the global average. …
 
For …overstay ratios at least twice the global average, more careful vetting should take place; in addition, perhaps a bond could be demanded (a cash bond, not some kind of financial document) of say $10,000 from the family. …
 
Further, in all nations of origin, consular officials should be told to pay special attention to students who have been accepted by U.S. educational institutions that lack accreditation from an agency currently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. …
 
Meanwhile, Congress should mandate the accreditation policy suggested above, and while waiting for that to happen, the Department of Homeland Security should focus its SEVP resources — it has a staff of 700, most of whom never visit a college — on the most egregious of the higher education entities at the bottom of the scale. 

Pres. Trump's first 100 days make improvements to immigration enforcement and begin laying the groundwork for worker visa reforms

Tomorrow marks President Donald Trump's 100th day in office, and immigration has been a key component of his 100-day agenda. Thus far, Trump has solely relied on his executive powers to stem the tide of illegal border crossings and beef up interior enforcement. And while he's taken some good first steps in addressing legal immigration, he's yet to take strong action on protecting American workers from the steady flow of cheap foreign labor that drives down wages and increases job competition for workers.

THE HIGH POINTS

Past presidents and candidates have talked tough on immigration, but none have followed through on that tough talk. In fact, a clip from Bill Clinton's 1996 State of the Union Address is one of the most watched videos we've ever posted on our Facebook page (94 million views). But neither Clinton, George W. Bush, nor Barack Obama were ever committed to ending illegal immigration.

Candidate Trump used some of the toughest pro-enforcement language ever during his White House run, and we've already seen its impact. Border Apprehensions -- the measure used to determine overall illegal border crossings -- are at a 17-year low, and the administration has significantly stepped up interior enforcement efforts across the country.

In just his first week after being sworn in, Pres. Trump signed two Executive Orders aimed at securing the border and strengthening interior enforcement. Those Executive Orders called for:

  • Increases in Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents,
  • Increase in immigration judges,
  • Withholding visas from countries that refuse to repatriate deported aliens,
  • An end to catch-and-release,
  • The construction of more detention facilities for detained illegal aliens along the border,
  • Granting Border Patrol access to federal lands,
  • Ending Pres. Obama's Priority Enforcement Program (PEP),
  • Reinstating Secure Communities and encouraging increased participation from local police in immigration enforcement, and
  • Creation of an office for victims of illegal-alien crimes.

Trump needs money from Congress to accomplish a few of the above points, but his Administration has already moved forward on many of the points using existing funds.

LAYING THE GROUND WORK

Pres. Trump will need help from Congress on several more of his immigration priorities, but he's at least started the discussion on a few of them. Most notably, his FY2018 budget request to Congress asked for funding to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers. Congress will need to pass a mandatory E-Verify law to make that request a reality, but budget requests typically reveal the White House's policy priorities for the next fiscal year.

NumbersUSA believes requiring all employers to use E-Verify to end the jobs magnet is the single, strongest step that can be taken in ending illegal immigration and protecting American workers. But over the years, we have also advocated for full implementation of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 that requires double-layered, reinforced fencing along 700-miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump's campaign mantra was to 'build the wall', and while the details of 'the wall' remain a bit fuzzy, he's continued to push for some sort of barrier construction along the border.

The Administration is also off to a good start at ending sanctuary policies. Both Pres. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have called for withholding federal funds from jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. This week, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that withholding all federal funds from a sanctuary jurisdiction was unconstitutional, but ruled that it may be okay for the administration to withhold federal grants that require local law enforcement to cooperate with federal law enforcement. That's exactly what the Trump Administration aims to do.

There hasn't been much action on legal immigration, but the Trump Administration did step up its efforts in recent weeks on the H-1B issue. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have put tech employers on notice that any misuse of H-1B visas will be investigated, and Trump signed an executive order last week, calling for a review of the H-1B application process. Current federal regulations require that H-1B applications be awarded through a lottery process, but Trump has called for a new process that would award visas to the most skilled or highest paid applicants.

Pres. Trump has done little, yet, to address permanent, legal immigration, but he did include a strong statement in his Joint Address to Congress in February that called for reforming the current legal immigration system to a merit-based system that serves the national interest. He's also met with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) to discuss their RAISE Act, which would end Chain Migration and the Visa Lottery and reduce overall immigration by up to 50%.

AREAS NEEDING ATTENTION

The Trump Administration has continued Obama's unconstitutional executive amnesty, DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump said he would end the program on Day 1 of his presidency, but one of his January Executive Orders, calling for a review of all of the Obama-era immigration orders, specifically excluded a review of DACA. While the renewals and decisions over what to do with the current DACA population may be more difficult, his Administration's refusal to stop issuing NEW work permits flies in the face of his clearly stated campaign promise on that issue.

Trump has also allowed the Optional Training Program (OPT) to continue. OPT allows foreign students who graduate from a U.S. college or university with a STEM degree to stay and work in the U.S. for up to two years. The program places recent American STEM students in direct competition with foreign students for jobs immediately after graduation. OPT was started by George W. Bush, expanded by Barack Obama, and has never been authorized by Congress. It would be easy for the Administration to eliminate the program.

Perhaps the most important immigration lesson of the first 100 days of the Trump Administration is that simply sending a strong message of enforcement is enough to begin to dramatically reduce illegal entries. That alone has been a tremendous success. Yes, there are some unfulfilled immigration-campaign promises and some areas that need more attention, but it's only been 100 days. There's clear evidence that immigration enforcement is improving, and there are hopeful signs that legal immigration reductions could be on the horizon.

 
 

 

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