The “Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007” in not acceptable as it currently stands.
I feel that the act is deficient in ensuring enforcement measures will be sufficiently implemented prior to legalization, provides several gaping loopholes allowing criminal illegal aliens to remain in the country, disenfranchises identity theft victims, potentially creates a communications wall for law enforcement, fails to adequately address sources of greater national security risk, and provides benefits to illegal immigrants unavailable to law-abiding people here.
First, subsection 604(b)(2) states “Nothing in this subsection shall require the Secretary to commence removal proceedings against an alien whose application has been denied, terminated, or revoked based on the Secretary’s finding that the alien is inadmissible or deportable.” Unfortunately, subsection 604(b)(2) includes several cross references to other subsections which disqualify illegal immigrants from “Z Visas”. These cross referenced subsections include disqualification of convicted felons, aggravated felons see (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43) and 1101(h) – this includes murders, rapists, etc), multiple misdemeanor conviction (601(d)(1)(F)), in addition to the other significant violations (such as fraud and willful misrepresentation) as enumerated in the subsection. This is totally unacceptable. Subsection 604(b)(2), and similar language, should be stricken or amended to require that the Secretary remove such criminal illegal aliens.
Additionally, subsections 1(a), 601(f)(2), and 601(h)1-5 appear to allow illegal immigrants to immediately gain probationary legal status (upon passage of the bill) prior to any of the purported “triggers” actually being implemented. This is entirely unacceptable, particularly given the government’s abysmal track record regarding implementing promised immigration enforcement measures (such as the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act). Language regarding the probationary legal status as noted in the aforementioned sections should be stricken to allow for no such de facto legal status until such time as triggers are, indeed, implemented.
Second, subsection 604(a) prohibits the government or its contractors to inform identity theft victims that their identity has been compromised by an illegal immigrant. This prohibition carries a penalty of $10,000 if violated (subsection 604(g)). It is common knowledge that many illegal immigrants have engaged in identity theft and document fraud of not only adult, but children’s identities. At a minimum (I think an additional fine or disqualification of visa eligibility would be appropriate), the agency processing the illegal immigrants’ documentation, which includes W-2s (contain the stolen social security number they used), should be allowed/mandated to inform the holder (or parents of the holder) of that number that their identity is compromised and action needs to be taken. Further, subsection 604(b) should be amended to include identity theft as an “exception to confidentiality” and included in subsection 601(d)(1)(F) as grounds for ineligibility . Victims are left to their own devices, time, and expense to determine and clear up the breach, a process that could take years, particularly in the case of children (parents are much less likely to check their children’s identity and credit records, for obvious reasons).
Third, subsection 604(a) and 604(c) limits release of information to law enforcement agencies only if the information is required as part of an ongoing criminal investigation (604(c) – evidently no release would be allowed for a civil suit) or only with specific approval of the Secretary of Homeland Security. September 11th terrorists were found to have attained fraudulent identities through illegal immigrants, There should be no barrier for law enforcement agencies to attain this potentially vital information which could prevent future terror or security threats. This is unacceptable subsections 604(a) and 604(c) should be amended to provide electronic versions of the submitted documentation (organized by state) to all law enforcement agencies without Homeland Security approval nor with the requirement of an ongoing criminal investigation.
I realize this has been included to encourage illegal aliens to come forward, however it is not appropriate nor can it be justified for Federal employees to turn a blind eye to felonies committed against US citizens and their children by illegal aliens. What message does this send to our children regarding respect for the rule of law.
Fourth, subsection 605(a) provides blanket amnesty from both civil and criminal suits to employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants and, more importantly, knowingly accepted fraudulent documents and stolen identities. The subsection also provides amnesty from tax violations. Subsection 605(a) should be stricken. Identity theft victims should be allowed to hold employers, who knowingly enabled the theft, responsible for their actions. Additionally, fair playing field should be maintained where unethical businesses are not rewarded for tax evasion while ethical businesses are essentially punished (likely incurred greater costs due to legal compliance).
Again, I understand that this provision may have been enacted to encourage employers to come forward, but the message it sends to the ethical business community and our future business leaders is unconscionable.
Fifth, the current bill does not differentiate between nations of origin. Clearly, entrants from certain nations (such as those that sponsor terror or actively and aggressively oppose US interests) pose potentially greater threats and would beg of much more scrutiny than those originating from nations we consider our allies. While not perfect, this would allow a higher likelihood of identifying real and potential threats prior to security breaches.
Finally, Section 616 enacts the DREAM Act which provides significant educational benefits unavailable to US Citizens and legal immigrants (and student visa holders). This section would repeal the 1996 law requiring US Citizens also be provided in-state tuition rates if illegal immigrants are given the benefit. This is wrong and amounts to a slap-in-the face of US citizens and legal immigrants and visa holders. This section should be entirely stricken and the 1996 law upheld.
The above is just “my wish list” of issues I have noticed thus far. There are many more significant problems related to this bill (refer to the recent Heritage Foundation report entitled “Rewarding Illegal Aliens: Senate Bill Undermines The Rule of Law“) which need to be addressed. Given the amount of extremely problematic provisions, I am not positive the act can be salvaged. Ultimately, I believe enforcement and legalization should be dealt with in separate bills to allow for enactment of enforcement methods first and providing for more manageable, less intricate legislation.
I’m beginning to think Boehner’s assessment of the bill is dead on.