Just a few days after President Obama pressured Congress to move quickly on comprehensive immigration reform, advocates turned up the heat on the wavering House. California Republican Congressman Jeff Denham cosigned Nancy Pelosi’s H.R. 15. Denham’s House colleague Darrell Issa, also a California Republican, promised to introduce his own bill. Then, on October 28 and 29, 300 self-defined conservatives descended on Washington to lobby for an amnesty vote before year end.
Participants in the two-day “fly in” may label themselves conservatives. But the organizers, including the host, the National Immigration Forum, are well-known amnesty advocates that include pro-business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, billionaire Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us and fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy.
Issa’s still-unveiled bill will propose giving immediate temporary legal status to aliens and putting them on a six-year path to citizenship. According to Issa, the six-year legal status period would give illegal immigrants time to find alternative ways to become either permanent residents or American citizens.
Obviously, Issa should not be proposing any type of amnesty when 20 million Americans are unemployed and new job creation doesn’t keep up with population growth. But Issa’s bill, from what we know, is exceptionally ill-conceived. First, any type of legal status – temporary, provisional or permanent – means the alien will receive a Green Card and employment authorization. Citizenship, whether it’s five, 10 or 20 years down the road, is a non-starter for many immigrants. Read the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project report titled The Path Not Taken.
Despite Issa’s claim, illegal immigrants have few alternative routes to permanent residency. One of the easiest is to marry an American citizen. But if the marriage is fraudulently performed for Green Card purposes, the illegal immigrant is subject to immediate deportation. The citizen spouse could serve a five-year jail term and be fined $250,000.
Issa’s immigration record is mixed. During his career, Issa has supported efforts to reduce illegal immigration at the border and voted to not grant amnesty through prosecutorial discretion. But earlier this year, Issa sponsored H.R. 2131, the SKILLS Act, which would add 95,000 new employment-based Green Cards and 90,000 new H-1B visas.
Like many other amnesty advocates, Issa doesn’t consider immigration reform from American citizens’ perspective. Issa describes his bill as “half way between full amnesty and simply rejecting people.” But he’s wrong. In the immigration debate, there is no “half way.” Residency and work permits are amnesty. Encouraging people to return home through border and internal enforcement as well as mandatory E-Verify is not “rejecting people,” but rather defending U.S. sovereignty and the historic American nation.
With only a few legislative days left in 2013, the race between American patriots and open borders advocates is nearing the finish line. Please donate to CAPS today to help defeat amnesty and to save some America for tomorrow.