May 25, 2006

Senator Grassley's Top 10 Flaws in Immigration Bill

Many of us have explicit reasons and some intuitive worries about the illegal immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate. Here is the first of several postings which will attempt to characterize the flaws in the bill - from people who should know.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has issued a press release in which he spells out his Top 10 Flaws with the Illegal Immigration Bill:

Sen. Chuck Grassley today said the immigration reform bill being debated in the U.S. Senate is riddled with loopholes and flaws. During a speech on the Senate floor, he outlined for the American people nearly 30 flaws within only two sections of the bill.

"I was burned once in 1986 when I voted for amnesty believing that it would solve our problems. Now, we have a 12 million illegal immigrant problem. I'm not getting burned again," Grassley said. "Not only do we have a glide path to citizenship, but it's a glide path with plenty of loopholes that don’t meet the common sense test."...

Here is a list of Grassley’s "Top 10."

1. $2,000 Fine -- Under the bill, an illegal alien can go from illegal to legal by paying a small fine of $2,000. Often, illegal aliens will pay more than five times this amount to a smuggler to get across the border. Also, the $2000 fine may not have to be paid until year eight, which allows the illegal alien to live, work, and play in the United States for years free from deportation. This imposes a financial burden on the American taxpayer for health, education, and infrastructure costs that aren’t reimbursed for five or ten years.

2. Taxes -- Under the bill, illegal aliens get an option to only have to pay three of their last five years in back taxes. Law-abiding American citizens do not have the option to pay some of their taxes. The bill would treat lawbreakers better than the American people. The bill also makes the IRS prove that illegal aliens have paid their back taxes. It will be impossible for the IRS to truly enforce this because they cannot audit every single person in this country.

3. Security Clearances in 90 days – Under the bill, the Department of Homeland Security must perform background checks on illegal aliens in the United States. It also encourages the federal government to complete the background checks on 10 million illegal aliens in 90 days. This is a national security concern because Homeland Security will be pressured to complete these checks without doing a thorough job.

4. Work Requirements – Under the bill, illegal aliens must prove they’ve worked in the United States for three of the last five years. It also says they have to work for six years after the date of enactment of the bill. However, there is no continuous work requirement for amnesty. They could work for 30 days, take off 30 days, work for 30 days. The bill also says that illegal aliens have to prove that they’ve worked in the United States for three of the last five years by showing IRS or Social Security records, or records maintained by federal, state, or local governments, employers, unions or day labor centers. However, the bill also allows illegal aliens to ask anybody to attest that they have been employed. This invites fraud, and the government cannot realistically investigate all these cases.

5. Confidentiality – Under the bill, if an illegal alien applies for amnesty, the federal government cannot use information provided in the application for anything but adjudicating the petition. For example, if illegal aliens write in their applications that they are related to Osama Bin Laden, then our government cannot use that information. In fact, it says that the Secretary of Homeland Security can only share that information if someone requests it in writing. This provision severely handicaps national security and criminal investigators.

Also, if a federal agent does use information provided by an illegal alien in an application for amnesty the agent would be fined $10,000. This is five times more than the alien has to pay to get amnesty.

6. Social Security to illegal aliens -- Under the bill, illegal aliens are not prohibited from getting credit for the money they’ve put into the Social Security system if they’ve worked in the U.S. illegally. Illegal immigrants who paid Social Security taxes using a stolen Social Security Number did not do so with the expectation that they would ever qualify for Social Security benefits. (The Ensign amendment would have taken care of this, but it did not pass.)

7. Employers get a tax pardon for hiring illegal aliens -- Under the bill, employers of aliens applying for adjustment of status “shall not be subject to civil and criminal tax liability relating directly to the employment of such alien.” Businesses that hired illegal workers would now get off scott-free from paying the taxes that they owe the government. This encourages employers to violate our tax laws and not pay what they owe the federal government. In addition to not having to pay their taxes, employers are also off the hook for providing illegal aliens with records or evidence that they have worked in the U.S. The employer is not subject to civil and criminal liability for having employed illegal aliens in the past, or before enactment.

8. Family Members of H-2C Visa Holder need not be healthy -- Under the bill, spouses and children of H-2C visa holders are exempt from a requirement proving that they meet certain health standards. The visa holder is required to undergo a medical exam, but their family members are not which potentially puts Americans at risk.

9. Mandatory Departure isn’t really Mandatory -- Under the bill, the Secretary of Homeland Security “may grant” Deferred Mandatory Departure to illegal aliens in the 2-5 year category. The Secretary “may” also waive the departure requirement if it would create substantial hardship for the alien to leave.

10. No Interview Required. – Under the bill, illegal aliens in the 2nd tier who are required to leave the country can re-enter the United States on a visa. However, the bill does not require these individuals do not have to be interviewed. The bill doesn’t give discretion to our consular offices to require an interview. The 9/11 hijackers weren’t subject to appear in person. Today, the State Department requires most applicants to submit to interviews, and waives them only for children and the elderly.

Why are we doing this to ourselves?