The inches-thick Senate immigration bill has so many flaws, it would take a book to list them all. The flaws provide ample reason for House members to refuse to pass immigration reform, as otherwise, a flaw removed may reappear in a conference report.
The biggest flaw: the bill would help terrorists and criminals call America home. This truth hasn’t stopped those supporting “comprehensive immigration reform” from pushing the falsehood that the Senate bill will increase American safety and security by encouraging people who are here illegally to come “out of the shadows.” The claim is nonsense. Here’s how the Senate bill aids criminals and even those who might aid terrorists, like those involved in Boston.
The Senate bill, while spending massive sums to station more bodies and equipment at the southern border, does nothing to help interior enforcement track down immigrant criminals “living in the shadows.” Nothing is done to remove those in the United States who have already been denied the right to stay due to their criminal record.
As an example, let’s analyze what would happen with the two students from Kazakhstan who were friends with the Boston Marathon bombers: Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov. They were both in court recently facing obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping to cover up the bombings. They are both also being held on immigration violations for remaining in the United States on expired student visas. (In fact, the federal government even allowed one of them back into the United States after his visa had expired.)
Assume for a moment that prosecutors could not gather enough evidence to convince a jury they were guilty of aiding the bombers, but were otherwise sure they did based on the evidence. Or, assume the obstruction of justice charges are thrown out on a legal technicality. What would happen to them?
Under current law, the government still has the power to deport them quickly based on their immigration violations. But if the Senate bill becomes law? That may no longer be the case.
Without being criminally charged, they both would have been fully eligible to be granted legalization under the Senate’s legalization program (called the RPI program) because they came to the United States before December 31, 2011, and apparently had no disqualifying criminal record. Under the Senate bill, DHS would be barred from arresting them because they would “appear” to be eligible for the legalization program, even if they expressed no interest in applying.
DHS would even have to advertise the RPI program to them, and essentially encourage them to apply for it.
Assuming they applied for RPI under the Senate bill, DHS could not deport them or even arrest them as long as their applications were pending with DHS. Also, the bill provides a clear avenue for them to appeal DHS’s denial to the federal courts — both the District Court and still another appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals — which often would stay their deportation while their appeals were pending, and further delay their deportation for many more years.
The bill also expressly provides for class action lawsuits, which would tie up legalization decisions for decades.
It would not even help if DHS put the men into proceedings to be deported by an immigration judge. The bill does not allow an immigration judge to rule on their cases as long as anyone has an application for legalization pending. The judge is forced to just put the case on hold.
This is what Senate Republicans supported, including Senator Marco Rubio?