Oct 6, 2015 Immigration Reform News: 50 Years of Fundamentally Transforming America

America the Free

  • 50 Years of Fundamentally Transforming America
  • What Has Congress Done in the 3 Months Since Kate Steinle’s Death?
  • Pew: Impact of Immigrants Seen as Negative on Crime, Economy
  • Immigration Reform Victory in North Carolina General Assembly

50 Years of Fundamentally Transforming America

The Act that Remade the Nation

Saturday marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965, the act which laid the foundation of our immigration system. (P.L. 89-236) Although Congress has subsequently passed other immigration legislation adding further visa categories and attempting to deter unauthorized immigration, the 1965 Act remains the core of our system. (See e.g., the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986; the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990; the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)

The 1965 Act made two important changes to the nation’s immigration system. First, it abolished the system of national origin quotas designed to keep the proportion of immigrants from various places approximately equal to the ratios already living in the United States that had been in place since 1924. (P.L. 89-236; see e.g. U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 11, 1965) Second, the 1965 Act introduced chain migration, by giving highest preference and no numerical restrictions to the “immediate relatives” of United States citizens (including recently naturalized immigrants). (P.L. 89-236) “Immediate relatives” was defined as parents (of American citizens 21 years or older), children, and spouses of American citizens. (Id.) While other immigration categories were still subject to limits, immigrants who would come under the family reunification provisions were not subject to these numerical restrictions. (Id.) As a result, the 1965 Act created an endless flow of immigrants admitted to the country based on family relationship rather than skills and ability to contribute to the American economy. (See USCIS.gov for current family petition policies)

What Has Congress Done in the 3 Months Since Kate Steinle’s Death?

On July 1, Kate Steinle was tragically shot and killed at San Francisco’s Pier 14 by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal alien with seven convictions and five previous deportations. (FAIR Legislative Update, July 8, 2015) As details emerged, it became clear that San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies that obstruct immigration enforcement led to Ms. Steinle’s preventable death. Indeed, Sanchez was in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody about to be deported a sixth time when San Francisco law enforcement stopped the removal proceedings, claiming they wanted to prosecute Sanchez on a decades old drug offense. (KTLA.com, July 6, 2015) Additionally, ICE had issued a detainer — signaling their intent to assume custody and begin removal proceedings once San Francisco finished handling the drug charge — but San Francisco law enforcement refused to comply. Instead, San Francisco officials dropped the drug charges and released Sanchez onto the streets. (FAIR Legislative Update, July 8, 2015)

Last Thursday marked the three month anniversary since Kate Steinle’s death but Congress has failed to send President Obama a bill that would put an end to these jurisdictions that defy federal immigration law. Although the House passed a bill to deny federal funds to sanctuary cities before the August recess, the Senate has failed to do the same. In the meantime, Americans continue to lose their lives at the hands of criminal illegal aliens because of sanctuary city policies. (See FAIR’s Policy Analysis on Sanctuary City Crime)

To learn more about sanctuary cities and what needs to be done to stop them, read FAIR’s policy analysis on sanctuary cities here.

Pew: Impact of Immigrants Seen as Negative on Crime, Economy

Last week, the Pew Research Center released a report showing that half of U.S. adults believe immigrants are making crime and the economy worse. (Pew Research Center Report, Sept. 28, 2015). These are among the findings of a “nationally representative, bilingual survey of 3,147 adults from the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel conducted online March 10 to April 6, 2015.” (Id.)

According to the new data, 50% of U.S. adults said that immigrants make American society worse when it comes to crime, while only 7% said they are making it better. (Id.)These beliefs are backed up by recent findings showing that illegal aliens commit crimes at a disproportionately high rate in relation to their share of the population. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Sept. 22, 2015) While illegal aliens make up 3.5% of the population, they account for 12% of murder sentences, 20% of kidnapping sentences, and 16% of drug trafficking sentences. (Id.)

Similarly, 50% of respondents said immigrants are hurting the American economy, significantly more than say they’re making it better (28%) or not having much effect (20%). (Pew Report) This is unsurprising, as Americans are being continuously shut out of the growing job market. In fact, from 2010-2014, 43% of employment growth went to immigrants (legal and illegal). (Center for Immigration Studies Report, June 2014).

Immigration Reform Victory in North Carolina General Assembly

True immigration reformers scored a victory last week in the General Assembly after passing the “Protect North Carolina Workers Act,” also known as House Bill (“H.B.”) 318. (Washington Times, Sept. 29, 2015) The bill strengthens North Carolina’s immigration policies by toughening the state’s E-Verify law, prohibiting “sanctuary” policies that impede the enforcement of immigration law, and cracking down on identity fraud. (H.B. 318)

Specifically, the law broadens the reach of the state’s E-Verify law to also require contractors hired by the state to verify that their employees are authorized to work in the United States using the free, web-based program. (Id.) Current state law already requires public employers and most private employers with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify. H.B. 318 adds approximately 110,500 employers to those required to verify the work authorization status of their new employees. (WRAL, Apr. 15, 2015)

H.B. 318 also takes a stand against policies instituted by localities that limit or prohibit their law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities and against policies that prohibit law enforcement from inquiring into the immigration status of individuals in custody. (Id.) These policies, which proponents argue are intended to foster “trust” with law enforcement in immigrant communities, are designed to protect criminal aliens from detection and removal from the United States commonly by restricting compliance with detainer requests, often called ICE holds. (Pew Charitable Trusts, Oct. 31, 2014; ICE Detainer Form)

Lastly, the bill restricts government officials from accepting foreign consular cards, including the matricula consular card issued by the Mexican government, as proof of identity or residence. (H.B. 318) Foreign consular cards are unreliable as they are easily forged or fraudulently obtained and are only useful to illegal aliens. All aliens legally residing in the United States have valid government issued documents and, therefore, have no need to depend on foreign consular cards for identification purposes. The matricula consular card is a particularly unsecure form of identification because the Mexican government does not authenticate the documents used to obtain the card against any database of records.

Supporters of the bill acknowledged that the bill would go a long way to protect public safety, reduce identity fraud, and discourage illegal immigration to the state by making it harder to find jobs. The bill “protects jobs, it protects taxpayer resources,” said Representative Chris Whitmire. (Washington Times, Sept. 29, 2015) “Illegal aliens cost the state of North Carolina some $1.7 billion net, after all consideration of what they produce in taxes and whatnot toward government support,” commented Representative Cleveland, sponsor of H.B. 318. (NumbersUSA, Oct. 2, 2015)

H.B. 318 is currently on Governor Pat McCrory’s desk, awaiting his signature to become law. H.B. 318 may also become law if McCrory takes no action within 10 days of receiving the bill.