President Trump, the New Congress, and Immigration Reform

By preventing a Hillary Clinton administration we’ve dodged a potentially fatal bullet to American democracy, but the mere act of electing Donald Trump won’t automatically make anything better. What we will have, however, is a real opportunity to address the crippling, urgent problem of illegal immigration – which for the first time ever became a high-profile campaign issue in U.S. elections.

Immigration reform in America was, until 2015, not up for public discussion between the two main parties and the American people. It had been on the backburner of politics for a few decades though, and usually only Republicans (and only a few of them) ever gave the issue much voice. But all that changed this election cycle as Trump outrageously made it one of the centerpieces of his campaign – against all conventional wisdom and logic. What many people thought was an outsider’s gaffe that would quickly sink his presidential bid before the primaries, ended up forcing the issue into the light of day and perhaps contributed to his election victory as well.

Ian Smith’s Frontpage article below was written on Election Day before the outcome was known, but it lays out eight concrete issues involving immigration law and enforcement that need to be addressed. They are worthwhile reforms that are a combination of enforcing existing laws, amending outdated laws, and suggesting creative new solutions for producing better relations with our neighboring countries.

 

8 Immigration Policy Changes for a New Congress and President

Ian Smith  *  8 November, 2016

No matter the outcome of the election, the work required to reform immigration policy will be prodigious. The following policy-change suggestions could’ve easily been numbered 80 instead of 8, given the damage done in just the last decade alone. These particular policy changes, however, are highly sensible, easy to comprehend and implement, and would go very far in repairing what’s become the most frequently abused and manipulated system in the world.

  1. Section 101(a)(15)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act defines legal entrants as those having a residence in a foreign country which he or she “has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States temporarily for business or temporarily for pleasure” (emphasis mine). Non-immigrant visitors or their sponsors should put up a Surety Bond to be refunded upon recorded exit from the US whereupon they should also affirm that they did not work or use taxpayer-funded benefits during their stay.

 

  1. The permitted maximum stay for each ‘temporary’ visitor’s visa should be reduced to 3 months. Currently, the system entails consular officers issuing 10-year multiple-entry visas to foreigners who claim they’re entering the US, for example, to visit Disney World. This system encourages would-be economic migrants to apply for these visas since it allows them to stay for up to 6 months at a time. But how many people can stay in the country without working for 6 months? These figures, surely in the millions, are not counted toward the illegal-alien population figures. And being allowed to reside here for that long means the visitor is using enough public assets that should require them to pay taxes or some sort of fees.

 

  1. The Commerce Department has admitted that they do not count, let alone estimate, the amount of annual remittances sent abroad from the 12 million illegal aliens residing in the US. Information on monies earned here but leaving the country is crucial in understanding the “benefits” that so many open-borders advocates attribute to this population as well as to immigrants in general. If the figure’s large, the argument that immigration is a clear-cut benefit falls flat. And it does appear large. Mexico-based U.S. journalist, Robert Joe Stout, estimates Mexican aliens send 30 percent of their earnings back home; that’s money which could have stayed here, but which Stout says is propping up Mexico’s failed system and corrupt leadership.

 

  1. While in their former Senate and House seats, Senator Lloyd Bentsen and Representative Henry Gonzalez, both Democrats from Texas, pushed the idea of creating a development fund that with the cooperation of the Mexican government would establish job-producing industries in that country. The proposal never became law, but some form of effective aid to Mexico has to be put in place. Not only to stop that country’s never-ending out-migration and its undercutting effects on American labor, but also to keep the people of Mexico to stay where they are so they can put pressure on their corrupted leaders; pressure which currently escapes through our porous borders.

 

  1. 2007 study ordered by commissioners in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, found around 20 percent of its health care patients were illegal aliens. The jump represented a 44 percent increase compared to the three years previous and accounted for around 14 percent of the health care system’s total operating costs. These sorts of studies are crucial in fully measuring the effects of illegal immigration, but they’re never done by the executive. Same goes for illegal-alien crime-data. My organization, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, has recently partnered with Don Rosenberg, a man whose son was killed by an illegal alien, in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice demanding such data. This shouldn’t have been necessary. Americans deserve to know.

 

  1. The prohibition against illegal alien-hiring is probably the most violated law in the country. This has to end. America cannot be considered a law and order-society while allowing this to persist. We need to bring back initiatives like President Reagan’s “Project Jobs” program which authorized our immigration authorities to seek out this sort of lawbreaking at commercial farms and workplaces. That policy’s been slowly gutted over time and it was finally ended when President Obama entered the White House. Apprehending illegal aliens at their place of employment is important as it provides our immigration officials with a source of testimony regarding the hiring practices of their employers. Since this policy was ended, all DHS does now is randomly inspect employers’ I-9 forms; no direct contact is ever made. We have to do much more than this.

 

  1. Tucked away on the Labor Department’s website are statistics showing the amount of civil monetary penalties H-1B employers have incurred for violations going back to FY2010. The numbers are pitiful. For FY2015, DOL found violations regarding underpayment claims in 176 cases involving 690 employees. The penalties the companies faced in aggregate was a mere $297,275. That’s $1,689 per case and $431 per employee harmed. Such pathetic amounts go well beyond the old line about low penalties simply becoming “the cost of doing business” for serial violators. No wonder these employers love H-1Bs so much when underpaying their salaries essentially has no consequences. DOL’s site also shows every company that was hit with civil monetary penalties and orders for backwages. One finds that very few of the violators were actually barred from the program. This also has to end.

 

  1. We need to establish a treaty with Mexico and Central America setting out their obligations to us in terms of keeping their would-be economic migrants out of our labor market. This would be an important step in establish the responsibilities our southern neighbors have in committing to good relations and orderly regional affairs. For years, China has been under constant threat from an impending flood of North Korean economic migrants into its poor northeastern provinces. Taking such wage-crushing effects seriously, China has put in place, and North Korea has signed, the Mutual Cooperation Protocol for the Work of Maintaining National Security and Social Order in the Border Areas between China and North Korea. According to the treaty, both countries agree to “mutually cooperate on the work of preventing illegal border crossing of residents.” We must seek similar guarantees from Latin America.

Working to implement these and the other much needed policy reforms, such as e-Verify, will take Herculean effort, but it’s exactly what’s needed to make America normal again.

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