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Getting The Immigration Bills Straight

There are dozens of immigration “reform” ideas, proposals and bills floating around, and keeping them all straight has become a major problem for conservatives concerned that the Capitol Hill Republican establishment is going to sellout America’s national sovereignty and add to the pool of low wage immigrant Flake Durbin billworkers threatening the quality of life of America’s working families.

For an excellent chart from our friends at NumbersUSA comparing the two immigration reform bills that are getting all the media attention click this link.

We don’t understand why Republicans think that granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens is the top priority they should tackle before the 2018 midterms, and we are inclined to agree with Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-5) who recently wrote on Fox News:

Extending DACA or passing a larger amnesty bill before we build the promised border wall, before we take other actions to improve border security, before we beef up internal enforcement of our immigration laws, and before we remove the incentives to come and stay in America illegally would be a colossal mistake.

You can read Rep. Biggs’ well-reasoned argument for a “wall first” strategy through this link.

Of the many bills floating around in Congress two seem to be getting traction; one is a bill that seems to satisfy Rep. Biggs’ concept of the right way to approach the DACA problem and one is definitely a total abandonment of American sovereignty and a betrayal of the future of America’s working families.

Let’s start with the worst first.

The Hill’s Jourdain Carney reports a bipartisan group of liberal senators says they have clinched a deal among themselves on an immigration reform package that does not include the wall and grants eventual citizenship to tens of millions of illegal aliens.

Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday the group of six senators has locked down an agreement amongst themselves on pairing a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a border security package.

The group of senators holding the talks — which also includes Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) — has been negotiating for months on a deal that would include a fix for DACA.

Carney reports their bill is expected to include legalization for DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, as well as a border security package and changes to the State Department's diversity visa lottery program and family-based immigration policies.

Durbin said the bill would include a pathway to citizenship not only for current DACA recipients, but other immigrants in the country illegally who would qualify for the program.

Meanwhile, Flake indicated that any changes to family-based immigration would be narrowly focused to the current DACA population and their family members, and not apply, as some Republicans want, to the entire immigration population.  

Flake also said senators had discussed reallocating some of the State Department's diversity lottery visas to people who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program the Trump administration has been scaling back.

So, the Flake – Durbin bill doesn’t fund the wall, doesn’t eliminate chain migration, grants citizenship to DACA recipients and potentially to their lawbreaking parents, and doesn’t end the dangerous visa lottery program that has brought terrorists to our country.

In contrast to the Flake – Durbin disaster, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), House Judiciary Committee Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), and House Homeland Security Committee Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) have put forth a reasonable and detailed fix for the DACA mess.

Original cosponsors of the Securing America’s Future Act also include Judiciary Committee Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5) and House Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter (TX-31).

Goodlatte and his colleagues introduced the Securing America's Future Act (H.R. 4760). This bill bolsters enforcement of existing immigration law, makes important reforms to our legal immigration programs, secures the border, and provides a legislative solution for the current beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Chairman Goodlatte explained that the Securing America's Future Act includes numerous reforms to ensure the enforcement of our immigration laws in the interior of our country. The legislation aims to reduce the number of individuals who overstay their visas, requires employers to use the E-Verify system to ensure that they hire legal workers, and makes it easier to remove individuals who are gang members and other criminals. Additionally, the legislation cracks down on dangerous sanctuary cities by withholding federal grants and prevents fraud and abuse in the asylum system.

The Securing America's Future Act reforms our legal immigration programs by ending chain migration, ending the Diversity Visa program, increasing the number of green cards available for skilled workers, and creating a new, workable agricultural guestworker program for America’s farmers and ranchers.

The bill strengthens the security of our southern border by authorizing the construction of a border wall, investing in new technology, and improving, modernizing, and expanding ports of entry. The bill also calls for an additional 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 Customs and Border Protection Officers and requires the use of a biometric Entry-Exit system at all ports of entry.

Finally, the Securing America’s Future Act allows DACA beneficiaries to receive a 3-year renewable legal status, while ensuring that gang members, individuals who have criminal convictions, or convictions in juvenile court for serious crimes are not eligible for legal status.

Several years ago, Newt Gingrich argued that it was unlikely Americans would accept the internal enforcement regime necessary to identify and forcefully deport hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients and their families, so some legislative solution should be found to allow those who were productive members of society to stay in America.

Perhaps Newt was right, and if so, then we would propose a board, of say seven combat wounded veterans, to review every application and interview those who wish to stay. Their first question might be “What have you done to deserve the honor and privilege of living in America?” Any DACA applicant who failed to get five votes would be arrested and immediately deported without appeal.

Absent such a process, it seems to us that the Goodlatte bill could be a floor, below which Congress should not go, in crafting an immigration reform bill. The bill does the best job we’ve seen of meeting President Trump’s campaign promises and the conditions set forth by the President in his recent comments on what he wants to see in an immigration reform bill.

It goes without saying that the Flake – Durbin bill is a non-starter for conservatives, and that any Senator who supports it should be a prime target for a conservative primary challenge.

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Wall and DACA

Build the wall cancel DACA!