Both the House immigration bill, sponsored by Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and the Senate immigration bill have arrived. Mark Krikorian, Executive Director for the Center for Immigration Studies, says it will radically change the face of U.S. immigration policy. Senator Menendez (D-NY), who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, spoke by video conference about the bi-cameral bills. The Zoom video can be viewed here using the following access code: 5gL7&W#%.
Thank you @POTUS, @SenatorMenendez, and @RepLindaSanchez for introducing the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.
Congress must seize this moment — they have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a fair, humane, and functional immigration system. The time is now. #WeAreHome pic.twitter.com/VUkj298AQu
— FWD.us (@FWDus) February 18, 2021
On Feb. 18, UncoverDC reported the anticipated changes in policy in detail, but now the bills have arrived in black and white. Notably, the word “alien” would be replaced with “non-citizen” in the law—something Democrats have pushed as “more humanizing” for some time now.
Krikorian, who was featured on Bannon’s War Room, summarized the bills. In the 353-page Senate Bill, he says there are “three big pieces” of focus; amnesty, “explicit” weakening of enforcement, and dramatic increases in future legal immigration.
The bill would give a work permit to every illegal immigrant who has been here since the beginning of the year. Effectively, he says, “that is amnesty.” Also, it gives about 4 million people who have been here an expedited path to citizenship. “They would get green cards right away and can apply for citizenship within three years….this fast track to citizenship really is a voter issue for this coming election…there is a specifically, targeted political aspect to this amnesty… to try to pull Kamala Harris over the finish line four years from now,” in Krikorian’s opinion.
Former White House advisor Stephen Miller, clarifies that the bill specifically states that “any illegal alien who has lived in the country for at least three years and who was deported between January 2017 and now can apply for re-entry and citizenship with full amnesty.” The bill also requires taxpayer-funded lawyers for illegal immigrants in immigration proceedings.
Specifically, the bill “would create a two-tier legalization program which would automatically make farmworkers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children eligible for green cards.”
There are many measures that roll back things that Congress passed in 1996. One such measure is to set up a commission to assess whether an immigrant’s legal status should be verified for jobs. Krikorian thinks this can only mean that illegal immigrants will be permitted to work again with impunity, given what he sees as the probable political leanings and composition of such a commission.
It also excludes mandatory E-verify, even excluding the most basic of the E-verify provisions. Such changes would “push roughly 11 to 22 million illegal aliens in the United States into legal status categories, allowing the majority to immediately start legally competing for scarce jobs against America’s working and middle class while helping businesses cut their labor costs and spike their profit margins,” according to Breitbart. With the plan, no illegal can be deported while worksite enforcement investigation is underway. U Visas are also more easily obtainable for illegal aliens who claim workplace violations.
According to WinkNews, “the bill would increase the annual allocation of employment-based visas from 140,000 to 170,000, as well as the yearly ceiling for diversity visas from 55,000 to 80,000. An additional 10,000 visas would be reserved for a pilot program designed for immigrants who will contribute to the economic development of local communities.”
Policies upheld in sanctuary cities and states have also illustrated the effects on American citizens of the failure to enforce immigration laws. It is much easier for illegal aliens in those cities and states to access America’s taxpayer financed welfare—which significantly impacts the resources available to American citizens. In California alone, “at the end of 2017, there were nearly 220,000 illegal immigrant children alone on Medi-Cal, with an estimated cost of $280 million, or over $1200 per child,” according to the Navarro Immigration Report. The report also found that in Illinois, “illegal aliens cost Illinois roughly $3.85 billion annually.” The financial burdens are only one facet of the challenges that citizens face in Sanctuary communities and many of those challenges affect poor hispanic and black communities the most.
Increased Legal Immigration
The bills “dramatically increases legal immigration…in 20 little pieces.” Krikorian said he learned in his meeting with the staff members of the sponsors of the bills that the numbers of legal immigrants would be at least “on par” with the Gang of Eight bill—which “would have doubled legal immigration. So we are in this economic downturn because of the pandemic…and Biden wants to increase immigration from 1 million a year to 2 million a year.”
CIS Director of Policy Studies, Jessica Vaughan, tweeted some of the “lowlights” of the bill on Friday morning.
Here are some lowlights of the Biden/Menendez/Sanchez immigration bill:
1. Amnesty for all illegal aliens + those deported by Trump.
2. Most criminal offenses are excused and even serious crimes waived for "family unity"
3. Mere claim of eligibility is deportation shield, cont
— Jessica Vaughan (@JessicaV_CIS) February 19, 2021
The Menedez Senate website highlights the following reforms:
- Creates an earned roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, providing Dreamers, TPS holders, and some farmworkers with an expedited three-year path to citizenship, and giving all other undocumented immigrants who pass background checks and pay taxes with an eight-year path to citizenship without fear of deportation.
- Reforms family-based immigration system to keep families together by recapturing visas from previous years to clear backlogs, including spouses and children of green card holders as immediate family members, and increasing per-country caps for family-based immigration. It also eliminates discrimination facing LGBTQ+ families, provides protections for orphans, widows and children, allows immigrants with approved family-sponsorship petitions to join family in the U.S. on a temporary basis while they wait for green cards to become available.
- Grows our economy by making changes to the employment-based immigration system, eliminating per-country caps, making it easier for STEM advanced degree holders from U.S. universities to stay, improving access to green cards for workers in lower-wage industries, and giving dependents of H-1B holders work authorization, and preventing children of H-1B holders from aging out of the system. The bill also creates a pilot program to stimulate regional economic development and incentivizes higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American workers.
- Increases funding for immigrant integration initiatives and supports state and local governments, NGOs, and other community organizations that conduct inclusion programs, provide English language assistance and make available naturalization resources to immigrant communities.
- Protects workers from exploitation and improves the employment verification process by requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor to establish a commission involving labor, employer, and civil rights organizations to help improve the employment verification process and granting workers who suffer serious labor violations greater access to U visa relief.
- Supports asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations by eliminating the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims, reducing asylum application backlogs, increasing protections for U Visa, T Visa, and VAWA applicants, including by raising the cap on U Visas from 10,000 to 30,000.
Krikorian says that the Democrats plan to “throw a lot of virtual security” into the bill to attract the support of Republicans.
"Security will be a sticking point for the new Biden reform bill. Then look for Democrats to throw in lots of 'virtual' security as a way to attract Republicans support. Will the old trick work one more time? Say it this way: It shouldn't, but it might." https://t.co/1VmWc4A8HU
— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) February 19, 2021
The Center for Immigration Studies reports that “large numbers of migrants from around the world are still flowing into northern cities and towns along the border from Texas to California, powered by adrenaline from recent Biden moves to open the border wide.” The Border Patrol is currently apprehending upwards of 3000 illegals a day, “up double-digit percentages from a year earlier, and that number does not reflect the ‘got-aways’.”
On Friday, the Mayor of Del Rio, Texas, pleaded with President Biden to refrain from releasing any illegal immigrants awaiting court dates into the Texas border town due to the lack of resources.
Stephen Miller says the bill will change America as we know it. “It is the most radical immigration bill ever written, ever drafted, ever submitted in the history of this country. It is breathtaking.” An excerpt of that interview can be found below.
Stephen Miller: Biden plan most radical immigration bill ever written. pic.twitter.com/LF6ALKfh2v
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 19, 2021
Notably, on the same day as the Menendez immigration bill was released, Dr. Peter Navarro published his report on immigration on his website that he had written while working in the Trump administration. The exhaustive report, called The Causes and Costs of Illegal Immigration Through the United States’ Southwest Border, is well worth a separate and fulsome review. He not only addresses the scope of the problem of illegal immigration but he outlines the migrational patterns, the incentives for migration, the likely fall-out of the policies put forward by the Biden/Harris on Americans and how the Trump administration addressed and mitigated the dangers and fiscal challenges of illegal immigration in this country.