Right Side News Reports from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in this April 11, 2011 Legislative Weekly. FAIR tracks pending immigration laws in the United States which can impact homeland security in positive or negative ways and are a valued resource.
- Utah AG Says U.S. Justice Department Won’t Sue Utah
- Sheriff Paul Babeu Gives First-Hand Account of Border Violence
- House Immigration Subcommittee Considers Eliminating Visa Lottery
- Vitter Introduces Second Bill to Limit Birthright Citizenship
- FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire Reaches Millions of Americans
Utah AG Says U.S. Justice Department Won’t Sue Utah
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff continued to stir controversy last week when he announced the federal government would not sue the State to challenge the constitutionality of its new immigration laws. Shurtleff made the comments during an interview with a local Fox News affiliate in
H.B. 116 authorizes
(1) file an application with the Utah Department of Public Safety,
(2) live outside of the
(3) pass a health and background check,
(4) provide evidence of no felony or Class A misdemeanor convictions or guilty pleas,
(5) file proof of sponsorship, and
(6) pay a fee. (§5)
As such, both H.B. 116 and H.B. 469 directly violate the federal government’s sole authority to regulate immigration by determining who may enter into the country and under what conditions they may remain. (De Canas v. Bica, 424 U.S. 351, 354 (1976))
Shurtleff’s comments reflect the growing politicization of immigration enforcement under the Obama Administration. In June 2010, the Administration intervened in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lawsuit against the State of
Sheriff Paul Babeu Gives First-Hand Account of Border Violence
Late last week, the Senate Homeland Security Committee met to hear testimony from law enforcement officials from southwest border towns. The hearing, entitled “Securing the Border: Progress at the Local Level” is the second in the committee’s series to determine how to best improve security at the border.
Sheriff Paul Babeu, whose jurisdiction borders both
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) asked Sheriff Babeu if there is anything the federal government is doing to make securing the border more difficult for local law enforcement agencies. Babeu vehemently responded, “Yes. The Federal Government – President Obama and Eric Holder—should stop suing
Despite Sheriff Babeu’s testimony, other witnesses commented that progress has been made over the past decade to make border counties safer. Senator Lieberman (I-CT) agreed, saying overall the testimony “showed that progress is being made, but that we still have a long way to go.”
House Immigration Subcommittee Considers Eliminating Visa Lottery
The House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing last week on a bill that would eliminate the controversial visa lottery program. H.R. 704—the “Security and Fairness Enhancement for America Act of 2011” (SAFE Act)—eliminates the 55,000 “diversity” visas by striking Sections 201(a)(3) and 201(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
During the hearing, members of the Subcommittee expressed varying opinions about the utility of the visa lottery program. In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), denounced the visa lottery as poor public policy. “
Adding to the debate, several witnesses testified that the program gives rise to national security concerns. “[G]iven the fact that there is no necessity for a family relationship, no necessity for a particular job skill,  it is easy for an organization like Al Qaida to submit names,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), sponsor of the SAFE Act. “Yes, it’s done at random, but you could submit lots of names from individuals who do not have terrorism records, that are young people, whose names could be drawn,” he added. Janice Kephart, former counsel to the 9/11 Commission, agreed, referring to the visa lottery as a “terrorist gamble.” “A successful application means an infiltration tactic with little oversight, a guaranteed visa, and permanent residency to those already in the
Mr. Stephen Edson, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for visa services, also testified before the Subcommittee regarding the program’s susceptibility to fraud. “Because almost anyone can qualify for entry into the program,” Mr. Edson explained, “the cost of committing fraud in the category is quite low.” As such, applicants for the visa lottery, as well third-party brokers, commonly commit visa lottery fraud he said. He testified that fraud by applicants may include multiple entries into the program, false claims to education, employment, or financial support, and even “pop-up” spouses or family members. And, in the case of third-party fraud, Mr. Edson relayed accounts of consular officers discovering individuals (such as post office officials) conspiring to steal, provide to someone else, or hold hostage for a fee, documents that are supposed to go to winners of the visa lottery. “I believe that the SAFE for America Act will solve the problem of fraud in the [visa lottery] program, and the only way it’s likely to work, [is] by eliminating it,” he asserted in his concluding remarks.
Vitter Introduces Second Bill to Limit Birthright Citizenship
Early last week Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced a second bill, S. 723, to clarify the eligibility of birthright citizenship. In contrast to the Senator’s first birthright citizenship bill which sought to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, this bill seeks to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to limit the granting of birthright citizenship to children of citizens, legal permanent residents or aliens serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) joined Senator Vitter as co-sponsors of the bill.
In introducing the bill, Senator Vitter voiced concern over the growth of birth tourism, the practice of pregnant foreign nationals coming to the
FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire Reaches Millions of Americans
For two days last week, nearly 50 radio hosts from across the nation gathered in
Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2011 was FAIR’s largest to date. Over the course of two days, radio broadcasters from all over the country aired interviews with law enforcement officials, dozens of Members of Congress and policy experts, such as FAIR’s president Dan Stein. Other experts included Sheriff Paul Babeu of
FAIR activists from across the nation also gathered in