"Myth v. Fact" Memo on Immigration Reform by Senator Jeff Sessions
Posted on 31-Jan-2014
Topics: Effects of Immigration on American Workers  Immigration Reform Lobby
MYTH: "THERE SHOULD BE NO SPECIAL PATH TO CITIZENSHIP FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BROKEN OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS.”
Fact: Any path that leads to a green card for someone who is currently ineligible for a green card because they violated U.S. immigration laws, such as the Senate bill, is a special path to citizenship.
The Wall Street Journal describes the current House citizenship plan as follows: "Since last summer, leading lawmakers have sketched out the basic idea. Give illegal immigrants who qualify a legal status, but no promise of citizenship - an effort to try to satisfy both sides. Instead, offer them the chance to access existing opportunities to gain legal permanent residence, also known as a green card. Once someone has a green card, he or she can apply for citizenship.” (Jan. 27, 2014, emphasis added)
In addition, the House plan reportedly includes an expedited path to citizenship for socalled DREAMers, providing an even larger magnet for future illegal immigration than birthright citizenship.
According to one report, the House approach would grant green cards to an estimated 4.4 million to 6.5 million illegal immigrants. (National Foundation for American Policy, Jan. 2014). ln addition, even a "legalization-only” plan rewards those who have disobeyed our laws by allowing them to remain in the country, Work, obtain driver’s licenses, and qualify for public benefits, and creates the same incentive for others to enter the country illegally.
And regardless, as Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-III.) said, "if We do not get citizenship this year, [pro-amnesty groups] will be back next year and the year after that.” (Associated Press, Jan. 7, 2014)
In any event, all such proposals favor those who have broken our laws over those Who follow our laws because it allows them to live, travel, and Work ín the U.S. a privilege not bestowed on those who wait in line in their home countries. This erodes the rule of law.
MYTH: "THIS IS NOT AMNESTY BECAUSE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WILL HAVE TO PAY FINES, BACK TAXES, LEARN ENGLISH AND CIVICS, AND PASS BACKGROUND CHECKS.”
Fact: Like the Senate plan, the House plan provides legal status and work authorization first -the fundamental grant of amnesty.
Any plan that provides such special privileges to those who are in the country illegally today, but does not extend the same privileges to those who enter the country illegally tomorrow, is amnesty.
Proponents of the Senate bill claimed the fines and fees that illegal immigrants would have to pay to gain legalization would cover the cost of the massive bill. But the bill riddled With waivers and loopholes, including permitting installment payments and outright exemptions, and the amount was even less than the rejected 2007 immigration bill. Moreover, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services currently offers waivers for those who cannot afford certain fees. Why would this administration not waive these requirements once again?
The claim that illegal immigrants will be required to pay "back taxes” is a paper tiger. Even if back taxes were somehow paid a dubious claim at best the amount collected would pale in comparison to the amount of tax dollars paid to illegal immigrants, such as the billions in free tax credits claimed each and every year.
Even the sponsors of the Senate bill eventually vvere forced to concede that the back taxes provision in their bill was illusory and toothless. (Político, April 18, 2013). Moreover, the bill did not even attempt to address collection of state, local and employment back taxes.
In fact, according to Politico: "Early discussions [about the Senate bill] included requiring applicants to file a complete work history with salary information so that the IRS could backtrack those wages to figure out how much should be owed. That idea was quickly dismissed during consultations with the IRS, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the drafting of the legislation.” (Politico, April 18, 2013)
As the former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, has written, "[playment of back taxes and a fine in exchange for legal status makes for a fine sound bite but would be a nightmare to administer.” (Collecting Immigrants’ Back Taxes: An impossible Dream, Policy Perspectives, Mar. 11, 2013)
Because of a 2000 IRS ruling, illegal immigrants who are disqualified from receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can retroactively receive the EITC for years worked without a Social Security number if they receive amnesty. (IRS Office of Chief Counsel, Memorandum #200028034, July 14, 2000)
Moreover, the IRS's targeting of conservative nonprofit groups and selective enforcement of Obamacare at the very least calls into question how the agency would handle the politically-charged task of collected back taxes owed by illegal immigrants.
Just as proponents of the Senate bill claimed, the House proposal is touted as requiring that illegal immigrants learn English and Civics to obtain legalization.
The Senate bill actually imposed this requirement only for a green card, and even then a person only had to be pursuing a course of study “to achieve an understanding of English and knowledge and understanding” of Civics. In many cases, the Secretary of Homeland Security was given the authority to waive this requirement.
Current law already requires immigrants to learn English. Anything less than current law would favor those who have violated our laws over those Who follow them.
Proponents of the House proposal have said that illegal immigrants will have to pass background checks to obtain legalization.
Kenneth Palinkas, head of the USCIS union - the agency responsible for background checks - stated that, currently "USCIS adjudications officers are pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation. The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications. USCIS has been turned into an 'approval machìne.'” (Press Release, American Federation of Government Employees, Council 119, May 20, 2013)
There would no doubt be intense political pressure to complete amnesty applications as quickly as possible, and the number of illegal immigrants who the CBO projects would be legalized under the Senate bill is more than four times the number approved in the 1986 amnesty, which was described by The New York Times as "one of the most extensive immigration frauds ever perpetrated against the United States government” as an estimated one-fourth of all successful amnesty applications were fraudulent. For example, 1993 World Trade Center bomber Mahmoud "The Red” Abouhalima, an Egyptian who claimed to be a farmworker, was given amnesty in 1986, which enabled him to travel to Afghanistan Where he joined a terrorist training camp and later re-enter the U.S. (Center for Immigration Studies, Feb. 26, 2013)
Moreover, it has been reported that the administration is currently "rubber stamping” applications for President Obama's administrative DREAM Act program (DACA), which are being approved at a rate of over 99 percent. (USCIS Office of Legislative Affairs, Dec. 18, 2013)
And, it recently was reported that the federal government filed a complaint against the company it had hired to handle the background investigations for Edward Snowden and the Navy Yard shooter for fraudulently submitting at least 665,000 incomplete background investigations for government personnel. (The Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2014)
Finally, it was revealed during the Senate debate that the Senate bill did not require the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct face-to-face interviews with a single amnesty applicant, even though they are necessary to determine national security and law enforcement risks. Indeed, according to Mr. Palinkas, at present "USCIS lacks the resources to adequately screen and scrutinize legal immigrants and non-immigrants seeking status adjustment” - let alone the tens of millions who would seek legalization. (Press Release, American Federation of Government Employees, Council 119, May 20, 2013)
MYTH: "THE 'IMMIGRATION REFORM' DEBATE WILL BE A FULL AND OPEN LEGISLATIVE PROCESS."
Fact: Just as in the Senate, where the sponsor of the bill negotiated in secret for months with lobbyists and special interests, it has been reported that the House "deal" is already being negotiated behind the scenes.
According to Politico, “top GOP lawmakers” are seeking the support of Democrat Luis Gutierrez and House leadership staff meeting in secret with business groups and technology trade organizations - who advocate for unlimited foreign labor "so they have buy-in to the process.” (Politico, Jan. 23, 2014)
House leadership is meeting with corporate elites like Mark Zuckerberg and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce but, there have been no reports of meetings with our nation's law enforcement officers who have requested to be heard. (CBS DC, Sept. 18, 2013, The Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2014)
While the Speaker has ruled out a House-Senate conference on the Senate bill, no one has ruled out going to conference with the Senate on piecemeal bills, which will inevitably result in the Senate bill, as noted by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in November: “Reid and Schumer have already said they don't care what the House does, just get to a conference and they’re just going to ram through the Gang of Eight bill. That will basically put more pressure on the Speaker to basically put it on the floor. You're looking at going into a conference that doesn't give you any chance of having conservative policy enacted in the end. So why would we want to step into that minefield?" (Oct. 16, 2013)
"We're just happy to see action so that We can get to a conference that can ultimately produce a bill this year, legislation this year, that can be sent to the president." (Senator Bob Menendez, Jan. 26, 2014)
"I think that John Boehner will conference with the Senate. Why wouldn't he? He'll have a lot of pressure from his members now that the election is getting closer.” (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Dec. 21, 2013)
“We have always said on that score that the speaker is the speaker, and any way he wants to bring the bill to the floor, in pieces or in big chunks or whatever it is, we just want to see legislation come to the floor so that Congress can act upon that legislation, the House can, and send it to the conference table with the Senate." (House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Nov. 21, 2013)
“Get us to conference. In a conference, we can negotiate the notion of bringing all those bills together.” (Sen. Bob Menendez, Nov. 18, 2013)
“When | talk to my Republican friends, [they tell me] all of the parts will lead to the full package." (Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Nov. 2013)
“Just pass something, then we'll go to conference with it.” (Senator John McCain, Oct. 31, 2013)
“We would prefer a big comprehensive bill but any way the House can get there is okay by us. If they pass individual, smaller bills they will get agglomerated.” (Sen. Chuck Schumer, Aug. 2013)
MYTH: "A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT IMMIGRATION REFORM.”
Fact: So-called "immigration reform” (amnesty for illegal immigrants and a large increase in foreign Workers) is overwhelmingly opposed by the American public and opposition is growing.
Only 3 percent of Americans think immigration reform is a priority. (Gallup, Jan. 15, 2014)
Only 12 percent of centrist voters strongly support "providing illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship even though they have broken the rules.” 38 percent of centrist voters strongly oppose. (Esquire-NBC News, Oct. 15, 2013)
55 percent of Americans support a decrease in legal immigration and only 28 percent support an increase. (FoxNews, April 2013)
60 percent of likely voters strongly believe that American companies should try harder to recruit and train unemployed Americans instead of hiring foreign workers. (Pulse Opinion Research, Aug. 15, 2013)
While the majority of lower- and middle-income voters, political moderates, and conservatives oppose increases in immigration, the wealthy, politically well connected, and liberals support increases in immigration. (Rasmussen, Jan. 17, 2014)
62 percent of Americans think legalization should come only after the border is secured, and only 5 percent actually believe the government would do so if immigration reform passed. (Rasmussen, Oct. 2013)
MYTH: "WE NEED A GUEST WORKER PROGRAM TO FILL LABOR SHORTAGES AND JOBS THAT AMERICANS WON'T DO.”
Fact: As soon as illegal immigrants are granted legal status and Work authorization, they will be able to compete for any job anywhere in America we are not simply talking about agricultural workers and roofers. Only 2 percent of immigrants and guest workers to be admitted under the Senate bill, for instance, are doing farm work - the other 98 percent would be Working in every sector of the U.S. economy.
According to reports, House proposals, like the Senate bill, will include a huge influx of foreign workers.
According to CBO, the Senate bill would add 46 million new permanent residents by 2033.
The CBO also confirmed that the number of guest Workers would increase to 2.8 million by 2033 under the Senate bill.
Americans have been clear about their views on immìgration's impact on the workforce.
55 percent of Americans support a decrease in legal immigration and only 28 percent support an increase. (Fox News, April 2013)
75 percent of likely voters believe there are more than enough unemployed Americans to fill any labor shortages. 71 percent said employers should raise pay levels to attract more candidates. (Pulse Opinion Research, Aug. 2013)
Immigration laws should not be tailored to the demands of corporate America they must reflect what is in the national interest and the American people.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Americans who want to work but have stopped searching is 2.1 million. Over 90 million Americans are outside of the labor force entirely.
According to a Dec. 6, 2013, report in CNN Money: "Only about 63 percent of Americans over the age of 16 participate in the job market- meaning they either have a job or are looking for one. That's nearly the lowest level since 1978, driven partly by Baby Boomers retiring, but also by workers who had simply given up hope after long and fruitless job searches.”
As White House economic adviser Gene Sperling said recently, “our economy still has three people looking for every job [opening].” (CNN, Jan. 5, 2014)
MYTH: "THOSE GRANTED LEGALIZATION WILL HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES AND WILL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO WELFARE.”
Fact: If illegal immigrants are legalized, they Will become almost instantly eligible for federal welfare benefits if they have U.5.-born children and for payments from state and local governments. These costs will be increased substantially by the future chain migration. (U.S. Senate Budget Committee Minority, June 18, 2013)
Once those amnestied become legal permanent residents, they themselves will be eligible for even more federal Welfare benefits and Obamacare. (U.S. Senate Budget Committee Minority, April 4, 2013)
Costs will only increase once they become citizens and will extend to our nation's retirement programs. The Senate bill was estimated to cost taxpayers at least $2.5 trillion in Medicare and Social Security alone - above any taxes paid in. In addition, the long-term unfunded liability for Obamacare would grow another $2 trillion. (U.S. Senate Budget Committee Minority, April 18, 2013)
One-third of all children in poverty in the U.S. live ln immigrant households. Nearly half of immigrant families earn less than 200 percent of the poverty level, making them eligible for many means-tested Welfare programs. Immigrants are hahc again more likely to use welfare than native-born, with a majority of households headed by immigrants from Latin America using at least one taxpayer-funded welfare program. And immigrant families account for nearly a third of those without health insurance and more than two-thirds ofthe growth in the uninsured over the past decade. (Center for Immigration Studies, Aug. 2012)
Legal immigrants with green cards have access to all but two of nearly 80 federal welfare programs. Public charge law currently goes unenforced, and House proposals do not address this endemic flaw in our legal immigration system.
MYTH: "'IMMIGRATION REFORM' WILL HELP THE ECONOMY AND STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY."
Naturally, adding 30 million new permanent residents will increase GNP. But per- capita GNP, according to CBO, will decline along with average wages. In other words: passing so-called immigration reform would mean a larger number of people out of work, on welfare and struggling to make ends meet.
Because those to be given legal status and a Social Security number are, on average, somewhat younger, it is claimed that their Social Security payments will strengthen Social Security. This is totally false.
While these workers will, in the short term, infuse the Social Security trust fund with more money, most will eventually draw Social Security benefits, drawing out more than they will have paid in over time, thus making the Social Security trust fund less sound over the long run.
One cannot count the money that is paid in to Social Security as being available to strengthen Social Security if it is to be immediately used to pay for the cost of this program.
MYTH: "BORDER SECURITY AND ENFORCEMENT WILL COME FIRST AND NO LEGALIZATION CAN HAPPEN UNLESS TRIGGERS HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED.”
62 percent of Americans think legalization should come only after the border is secured, and only 5 percent actually believe the government would do so if immigration reform passed. (Rasmussen, Oct. 2013)
Proposals that grant that illegal immigrants any type of legal status, work authorization, and/or legal residence — allowing them to live, travel, and work in any profession in the U.S. — before enforcement measures designed to prevent future illegal immigration are fully implemented — at the very least completion of border fencing, implementation of the statutorily-mandated biometric exit system, universal and mandatory E-Verify, and enforcement of current immigration laws — will ensure that enforcement never occurs. Legalization will be first, immediate, and irreversible; the most that any so-called triggers will do is delay the process of obtaining a green card and/or citizenship.
Similarly, any proposal that grants any type of legal status, work authorization, and/or legal residence while enforcement measures are supposed to be implemented will ensure that the enforcement never occurs.
Additionally, illegal immigration advocates will fight to further delay any new enforcement laws as soon as the amnesty provisions go into effect — which will be immediately — just as Democrats did after the 1986 amnesty. (National Review, July 8, 2013)
Proposals that provide for plans, commissions, or studies as so-called “triggers” — as the Senate bill does — will allow amnesty to occur without the border ever being secured, and actually weaken current law, which requires:
The Secretary of Homeland Security to “take all actions the Secretary determines necessary and appropriate to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States." (Secure Fence Act of 2006)
Operational control of the borders, which means prevention of all unlawful entries. (Secure Fence Act of 2006)
A biometric entry-exit system at all ports of entry. (2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which streamlined five previously passed laws starting with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act in 1996, and the 2007 9/11 Commission Implementation Act) Notably, CBO found that the Senate bill would lead to an increase in visa overstays due to the increase in guest workers. (CBO Cost Estimate for S. 744, June 18, 2013)
MYTH: "PASSING ‘IMMIGRATION REFORM’ AND FIXING THE BORDER WILL END ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION."
Fact: Nothing being discussed in the House, or the bill that passed the Senate, will stop illegal immigration. Sealing the border is only part of the equation — the problem will continue as long as President Obama refuses to comply with our nation's immigration laws and continues his anti»deportation and anti-enforcement policies.
Even CBO found that the Senate bill — which would weaken current interior enforcement laws and undermine future enforcement — would allow S0 to 77 percent of illegal immigration to continue in perpetuity. (CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf Letter to Hon. Patrick J. Leahy, July 3, 2013)
It is estimated that 40% of the illegal population enter the country legally with a temporary visa and then overstay the original period of admission. CBO estimated that under the Senate bill, visa overstays would increase due to the increase in guest workers. (CBO Cost Estimate for S. 744, June 18, 2013)
The GAO repeatedly has said that without a biometric exit system — which Congress has mandated in several statutes and was recommended by the 9/11 Commission — ”DHS cannot ensure the integrity of the immigration system by identifying and removing those people who have overstayed their original period of admission."
Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chair and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission, have stated: "Ful| deployment of the biometric exit component of US—VlSlT should be a high priority. Such a capability would have assisted law enforcement and intelligence officials in August and September 2001 in conducting a search fortwo ofthe 9/11 hijackers that were in the U.S. on expired visas." (Tenth Anniversary Report Card: The Status of the 9/11 Commission Recommendations, Aug. 31, 2011)
However, even if a biometric exit system was established, the administration has prohibited U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from arresting and removing anyone for overstaying a visa, entering the country illegally, using fraudulent identification documents - even if the agents believe that an individual presents a risk to public safety. (Testimony of Chris Crane, President, National ICE Council, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, April 22, 2013)
President Obama has handcuffed immigration agents and officers and decimated interior enforcement:
President Obama deported fewer than 0.2 percent of the 11.7 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. in 2012 — the lowest deportation rate among every administration since President Carter. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FY2013 ICE Immigration Removals)
Under Obama’s "prosecutoria| discretion" policies, thousands of deportation cases are closed each year, with a 68 percent increase in FY2013. (TRAC Reports, Syracuse University, Jan. 15, 2014)
As of November 30, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and immigration Services has received 627,763 applications for the President's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (i.e., DREAM Act) program. Of the requests received, 509,926 have been approved and only 14,614 denied.
These policies have led U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to file a lawsuit against the administration, wherein U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor held that "DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings [where the law requires it]. (Crane v. Napolitano, Civ. No. 3:12-cv- 03247-O, April 23, 2013)
In a December 13,2013 order, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen stated: "This Court is quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security of completing the criminal mission of individuals who are violating the border security of the United States.” (U.S. v. Nava-Martinez, Criminal No. B-13-441-1, Dec. 13, Z013)
We already have a highly successful employment verification system — E-Verify — which, if made mandatory for all employers, would significantly reduce the incentive for illegal immigrants to enter the country and help employers maintain a legal workforce.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "since it was established, E-Verify has experienced exponential growth, increased accuracy and high customer-satisfaction ratings," with annual enrollments increasing tenfold during the first 16 years, from 11,474 in FY1996 to 111,671 in FY2012. Today, over half a million companies use the system. (USCIS Office of Legislative Affairs, Jan. 23, 2014)
98.8 percent of work-authorized employees are automatically confirmed instantly or within 24 hours, requiring no further employee or employer action. (Id.)
Users gave E—Verify a score of 86 out of 100 on the 2012 American Customer Satisfaction index survey. The average score for all government agencies was 67. (Id.)
Because of the strong integrity of the system, state departments of motor vehicles use it to ensure the authenticity of driver's licenses that employees use as identity documents. (Id.)
As we learned with the 1986 amnesty, unless there is committed enforcement of laws such as these, illegal immigration will continue.
MYTH: "CONGRESS WILL FORCE PRESIDENT OBAMA TO ENFORCE THE TOTALITY OF ANY LAW PASSED."
The President has a constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, but President Obama's record in this regard is abysmal. For example:
Since becoming law in 2010, President Obama has waived or suspended 16 provisions of Obamacare, including the employer mandate for an entire year and exempting unions from one of the law's taxes. (Galen Institute, Jan. 21, 2014)
In 2010, the President unilaterally implemented part of the DREAM Act, despite it having been rejected by Congress three times and despite his prior public statements that he did not have the authority to do so.
Defying Congress’s explicit rejection of legislation to expand the EPA's jurisdiction to include all "waters of the U.S.," not just "navigable waters” as set forth in the law, President Obama directed the EPA to unilaterally expand its jurisdiction anyway.
Further, in January 2012, President Obama violated the Constitution when he assigned three members to the National Labor Relations Board during a session of the Senate.
Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee on December 3, 2013 regarding President Obama's abuses of power: "There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. And I really think that the Framers would be horrified by that . . . [The situation] is the most serious constitutional crisis, I believe, in my lifetime."
And now, the Obama administration is forecasting that in 2014, it plans to ignore Congress and act unilaterally on multiple domestic policy fronts.
Just as he has done with other laws, President Obama will decide which provisions of any immigration law he wants to enforce - and given the track record of this administration, one can be certain that any and all enforcement legislation will be delayed and ignored once illegal immigrants have received an immediate amnesty. As Senator Marco Rubio has noted, "even people that would like to do something on [immigration reform] are finding it hard to argue against that.” (The Laura lngraham Show, Jan. 16, 2014)
myth v. fact
 "EXCLUSIVE: SESSIONS ARMS HOUSE REPUBLICANS AGAINST BOEHNER IMMIGRATION PUSH", Matthew Boyle, Breitbart, 29-Jan-2014