As the Gang of 8 introduces their proposal, just remember that all of your concerns are unfounded. Unlike previous amnesties, this one will not grow the welfare state; it will not affect wages; it will not change the composition of the country. Most importantly, it will finally ensure that we enforce the laws before people are granted amnesty. NOT! Although the bill keeps being leaked in pieces, here are some clear concerns that have emerged from the memos circulating around the Hill:
- Every illegal is eligible to come forward for “Registered Provisional Immigrant” (RPI) legal status within 6 months after passing the bill. That is the most important detail. Once the legalization begins, it will never be revoked, irrespective of the success of any promised enforcement in the future.
- Any plan that doesn’t complete the 700-miles of double fencing is worthless. This plan only calls for Janet Napolitano to “establish a strategy” “to identify where fencing” “should be deployed.”
- Any plan that does not limit Obama’s prosecutorial discretion, restore the 287(g) program, and explicitly allow states to enforce federal law and preclude the Justice Department from suing them, is worth less than the paper it is printed on. This plan does nothing to force the hand of this administration or future administrations on enforcement.
- Rubio keeps saying that we shouldn’t worry about Obama because he won’t be president forever. However, he and Janet Napolitano will be in charge for the most critical years of implementation. All they have to do is submit a plan to secure the border (coming from someone who already believes the border is secured) within 6 months of passage, and everyone immediately becomes eligible for legal status. Even the trigger to green cards and citizenship 10 years later is only that DHS certify they are achieving the goals of their own plan. If not, it triggers the creation of another commission to find a plan to spend more money! Remember, unlike with the super debt commission, this super-duper commission doesn’t have an immigration sequestration attached to it, if the commission fails to secure the border. NBC Latino summed it up best this morning, “Despite the insistence of tying a path to citizenship to border security, the bill does not use triggers, but instead establishes border security ‘goals.’”
- Despite the conditions (taxes, $500 fine, be in the country before 2012, background check), everyone is presumed to be eligible until they are disqualified. So by its very nature, this would require the administration to immediately suspend all deportations for everyone until people begin coming forward. There is no way they will resume deportations for the remaining people who didn’t come forward or qualify. This will just fester over time, and after a few years we will continue to have the same problem with millions more in the “shadows.”
- They have to pay back taxes owed during their stay illegally in the country. So what happens with 95% of them who, had they been legal, would have paid $2,000 in payroll taxes but netted $8,000 in refundable tax credits? What happens with such a tax return? Do they make money off the system?
- The dreamers (aged 16-30) and the Ag workers will get immediate blanket amnesty, green cards in just 5 years, and in the case of Dream kids immediate citizenship (Ag workers will get it shortly afterwards). All of this is not subject to even the cloddish border triggers established for the rest of illegals. Yes, we know they are all Einsteins earning a 4.0 GPA in Ivy League colleges, but in the real world these are the people earning less than anybody else. So they will become the most immediate and profound public charge. Add education costs to the Dreamers. Also, how will this affect chain migration when 4 million new citizens could petition to bring in their families within after 5 years?
- Not only will deportations be suspended for everyone here, the bill invites thousands of people who have already been deported to come back and apply for the provisional legal status.
- E-verify and the visa tracking system don’t have to be implemented for 5 and10 years respectively. Even then, they never call for a biometric exit-entry system, just an electronic one. As such, there is no way that this massive expansion in temporary work visas will ever be temporary. By the time they are processing the amnestied aliens for green cards in 10 years from now, we will have even more than 12 million illegals from those who were left on the table (ineligible from the first round of RPI status) and all those new people who overstayed their visas. Border patrol agents have already testified before Congress that illegal entries are on the rise ahead of the amnesty. That will only grow as long as we make it clear that deportations will never occur and have no tracking system to crack down on overstayed visas.
- Immigrants officially have to wait 5 years upon receiving a green card to collect most welfare benefits, although it is not always enforced. Those who register for RPI amnesty status, however, will not have to wait 5 more years after receiving green cards.
- On the legal immigration side, this bill increases the number of visas exponentially for both high and low skilled immigrants. Then, in order to stave off the inevitable depressing of wages, this bill proposes new wage controls for H1-B visa workers. It even establishes an entire new agency, the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, to deal with the labor issues created by the massive new flow of low-skilled immigrants who come in on the new W visas. The inane cycle of government at work.
- While the bill would take the positive step of eliminating the diversity visa lottery, which randomly grants 50,000 visas to many third world countries, it compounds the problem with the new regime. Under the new points system, which can work effectively when implemented properly, applicants from those countries on the diversity visa would be granted 30 extra points, almost as much as the 35 points awarded to those with master’s degrees.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project