The immigration bill pushed by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and other members of the Gang of 8 is advertised as a comprehensive reform to secure the border and strengthen the immigration laws before allowing legalization.
An actual read of the massive bill reveals it as radical legislation which will transform the rule of law and the political future of the nation.
Democrats are desperate to pass the legislation because they long to transform 11 million illegal immigrants and their families into Democrats.
The language of the bill doesn’t do what the proponents say. Instead, the provisions are a witch’s brew of lawlessness, executive discretion, and legalistic trickery crafted by the organized, open-borders left.
Examples of the deception abound.
1. Legalization and Border Insecurity
The bill provides for legalization in six months as soon as the secretary of Department of Homeland Security does another worthless Washington, D.C., review of border security. Almost anyone who has been in the United States illegally since as recently as December 2011 is eligible to legalize. This exposes the public- relations lie of rewarding only those who have put down “roots” in the United States.
Even the last mass amnesty in 1986 required applicants to have been in the United States almost five years.
Proponents say the bill will make us safer because we will know who is here. But the Boston bombers were already living here legally and were operating in plain sight.
In fact, in the bill aliens are eligible for legalization even if they were found by an immigration court to have filed a phony asylum application (page 66). Current law prevents them from obtaining any immigration benefits after they file a phony application.
The bill does not even require DHS to interview those who apply for legalization (page 105). The bill makes it a rubber-stamp approval.
The bill is supposed to protect aliens who live “in the shadows.” But aliens who have been through the court system and were ordered deported but refused to leave will benefit from the bill. (page 75). The bill allows some aliens who have been deported to return and get legalization.
The bill even encourages federal-court lawsuits and gives federal judges broad review powers over individual applications if the DHS dares to deny an alien’s application. This is a prize for the immigration bar who helped draft the bill. Similar to the 1986 amnesty, this provision will weigh down the courts for decades.
2. A False Sense of Security
This bill gives the secretary of DHS the power to certify the borders are secure. For beneficiaries to move from legalization to an easy path to citizenship, the secretary of DHS only needs to certify that a few new security “triggers” are in place. The problem is that the triggers in the bill are not the tough measures Senator Rubio promised.
The bill does a good job of creating the illusion of greater security. For example, the bill only requires that the government have 90% control of “high risk border sectors” (where there are 30,000 or more apprehensions per year). It does not even require 90% control of the entire southern border, and says nothing about the porous northern border.
Also, the bill requires an entry-exit system to be established, but current law already calls for implementing a biometric entry-exit system so as to ensure the person leaving is the one who came.
Naturally, DHS has already failed to implement current biometric requirements. The bill builds on DHS failures and does not require the entry-exit system to be biometric.
Once the secretary of DHS says these easy triggers have been “substantially” met, the bill’s legalization opens a path to citizenship for illegals. With that comes massive government benefits, including food stamps, Social Security, Obamacare, medicare, and other entitlement programs for aliens and their dependents.
Senator Rubio often talks about how those enjoying legalization cannot get government benefits, but he fails to mention that the benefits start full force in the bill in ten short years.
Senator Rubio’s spokesman accuses conservatives who oppose a path to citizenship of promoting “slavery.” Yet many aliens who have permanent resident status choose not to seek citizenship.
3. Undermining Immigration Enforcement
When it comes to interfering with front-line immigration officers, the bill goes from bad to worse. It ties the hands of law enforcement and prevents them from doing their jobs. It infers that the men in uniform aren’t to be trusted. That’s why the federal immigration officers’ union strongly opposes it.
The bill prohibits immigration officers from apprehending anyone who “appears eligible” for legalization for the two and one-half years that aliens could apply for it (page 69-70). It prohibits aliens from being deported until all their appeals up to and including the federal courts are exhausted years and years into the future. During all of this time, they cannot be detained, apparently even if they are criminals (page 73). It even requires that immigration officers help aliens apply, and spends large sums of money advertising the legalization program (page 93).
Anytime the federal government requires marketing to minority communities, millions of dollars flow into politically friendly radio and print companies.
Moreover, if an alien applies for legalization, the bill makes the application secret and states that it can never be used by DHS to deport him, even if he is denied under the program (page 118). DHS cannot even provide information from the application in immigration court. This is an open invitation for applicants to commit fraud with no consequences.
The bill discourages DHS from deporting aliens even if they are denied legalization.
The bill seems to assume that immigration agents are lawless characters. This is a favorite narrative of the open-borders left.
The bill requires immigration officers to be trained by the assistant attorney general for civil rights and his lawyers (page 49). The current holder of that office is the radical Thomas Perez, and the ideological hiring within his agency has been covered extensively here at PJ Media. This is the same agency that has a “National Origin Working Group” that meets to do whatever it can to roll out the welcome mat to illegal aliens. The bill wants the radicals inside DOJ’s most radical division to train front-line law enforcement officers.
The bill creates an Oversight Task Force at the southern border to protect “due process” which must include as members “civil rights activists” that can hold hearings and demand information from DHS (page 51). The message that would be sent to immigration agents would be unmistakable: do nothing at all.
4. Helping Criminal Aliens
Current immigration laws are strict toward aliens who commit crimes in the United States. The bill changes that by making it easier for criminal aliens to get bond and permanently remain in the United States. For example, it gives immigration judges and DHS broad new powers to waive actions which result in automatic ejection from the United States, such as for drug crimes, firearms offenses, domestic violence, stalking, marriage fraud, false claims to citizenship, and crimes involving moral turpitude (page 328).
The bill also makes it easier for criminal aliens to be released back onto the streets and to disappear without a trace. For example, it requires aliens to receive immediate bond hearings within 7 days or be released, even if DHS is still collecting their criminal records (page 653). For any aliens who are detained, even aggravated felons, immigration judges must hold bond hearings every 90 days even if nothing has changed to warrant another bond hearing (page 654).
The overriding theme of the bill is that what it takes with the one hand it gives with the other. The bill pretends to be tough on domestic violence and criminal gangs by allowing them to be deported for these crimes. Yet to be deported for domestic violence the alien must have served at least one year in jail (page 635).
5. Expanding Visas
Proponents falsely claim the bill would end chain immigration by stopping the grant of visas to extended family members. But like the phony border security we hear about, this is also all about the talking points.
The bill moves very slowly away from family entitlement visas and protects everyone in the queue now or who applies 18 months into the future so the current backlogs will multiply. It will be many, many years after enactment before family entitlement visas are reduced at all.
Businesses have also been hoodwinked by the politicians. The employment visas the bill creates will mostly be unworkable for average businesses because of the mandates and exceptions that were put in to satisfy leftists and unions. The agricultural visas will benefit connected agribusiness special interests, not small farms.
The bill is larded with special-interest provisions, such as one for cruise ship repairmen and another to give out free phones at the border. The bill also creates a special speedy path to citizenship for agricultural workers. Remember that one of the 1993 World Trade Center terrorists was a taxi driver who legalized his status through the agricultural program in the 1986 amnesty.
6. Expanding Asylum
The terrorists who committed the Boston bombings got permanent legal status in the United States from their parents being granted asylum after fleeing Dagestan, Russia. Even after gaining this permanent legal status, they simply moved back to Russia voluntarily to do heaven knows what.
The bill would make it easier for aliens to get asylum. It eliminates the one-year window to ask for asylum (page 551). Someone should know they are refugees on the first day they arrive in the United States. The bill even allows aliens denied refugee status in the past to reopen it and start all over (page 552). It also empowers the president to grant refugee status to entire classes of immigrants, not just individuals.
Now we learn the Boston terrorists were not only granted asylum, they were on the dole.
Also, the bill would give the attorney general broad power to appoint attorneys at government expense for any aliens or classes of aliens he decides are “particularly vulnerable” (page 568). Current law gives aliens the right to counsel but not at taxpayer expense. This is more graft for the left-wing immigration bar.
The bill makes it more complicated and costly to eject an alien who is denied asylum. The bill grants aliens the right to have all of their immigration court appeals reviewed by a 3-member panel on the administrative appeals board. Right now, only one is required.
What is good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. If the government must appeal a case, they only get to have a single judge review the appeal.
7. Creating Endless Waivers, Exceptions, and Exclusions
The 844-page bill has over 400 waivers, exceptions, and exclusions. It gives enormous power to the secretary of DHS to waive almost any requirements that the bill imposes.
Giving bureaucrats the power to waive laws is a characteristic of Eastern Bloc and third-world regimes. The favored enjoy the suspension of the law. The unfavored must comply.
Current immigration law follows the American model, which gives the DHS secretary extremely limited powers.
Senator Rubio constantly emphasizes that aliens must work to be eligible for legalization and to get on a path to citizenship. But the bill allows DHS to exclude anyone who could not work because of “hardship” or simply “due to circumstances outside the control of the alien” (page 102).
Tough economy? I’ll bet that’s a circumstance “outside the control” of an alien to Big Sis.
Also, the bill guts most state laws that prohibit the employment of illegal aliens. The anti-Arizona crowd stuck that into the bill.
The bill says an alien can be deported for willfully refusing to comply with law enforcement and security background checks. But then it gives DHS the power to waive these checks, and allows DHS to do so not only for individual aliens but for broad classes of aliens (page 634).
Over and over and over the bill provides tough talking points – border security, background checks, and more. But hidden next to those talking points are off-switches that bureaucrats can flip to satisfy the leftist open-borders constituencies who wrote the bill.
The bill makes America less safe, not more. It does nothing to fix our immigration system. It makes it much worse.
Senator Rubio has said in recent days that if the bill needs changes to better protect America’s safety and security, he is open to that. If he is serious, he should scrap this bill and start over and this time work with Republicans on immigration reform.
More at the Tatler: Audio Essay: Immigration: Can We Get It Right This Time?