Politics

79 Pens and a Phone for Immigration

Think tank recommends dozens of ways the next president can undo Obama's awful legacy

The Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies on Monday issued 79 recommendations on how to alter an immigration landscape colored by millions of illegal alien and too many arrivals from one region.

“Civil rights pioneer Barbara Jordan noted that credibility in immigration policy is simple: ‘Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave,’” Executive Director Mark Krikorian said in a prepared statement. “These 79 recommendations would be a huge step toward that goal.”

President Obama famously used his pen and phone to dramatically change immigration law, and while those executive actions remain tied up in the courts, the next president will inherit those same tools.

But the CIS, which favors tighter restrictions on immigration, recommends that the next president leave in place Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans while it is before the Supreme Court.

Reversing the executive action would make the case moot and prevent a ruling. It is better to get a court ruling that would constrain future administrations from effectively granting amnesty without congressional approval, the center argues. If the could upholds the actions, the new president always could rescind it after that point.

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The report does recommend rolling back other Obama-era policies, such as “prosecutorial discretion” policies that severely curtailed prosecutions of immigration violations.

Some recommendations would reorder the way entire government agencies operate. Others are more symbolic. For instance, it suggests designating Cesar Chavez’s birthday as “National Border Control Day.”

Some recommendations would make numerous changes designed to slow the flow of foreigners, both legal and illegal, into the United States. The report covers both immigrants and temporary residents on work visas.

Among the ideas in the report:

  • Restoring a fraud and national security unit to root out fraud and halting in work permits to immigrants who are in the middle of removal proceedings.
  • Denying asylum to anyone who could have sought asylum in a country he traveled through to reach the United States. The report also recommends increasing vetting procedures of asylum seekers and reinstating a six-month waiting period before issuing work permits in pending asylum cases.
  • Collecting DNA samples from all permanent arrivals, including refugees and people coming under various visas, such as fiancé visas. The government also should require DNA matching prior to admission of people claiming the right to enter based on family status.
  • Reforming the fraud-riddled EB-5 visa program, which offers financial incentives to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in U.S. companies and create a certain number of jobs. The recommendations include more detailed records and tightening regulations governing the areas where the investment goes. Critics contend that the current system, which ostensibly is designed to help impoverished areas, makes it too easy to create gerrymandered maps that attach high-distress areas to wealthy ZIP codes where the lion’s share of the benefits accrue.
  • Ending waivers to known terrorists and supporters of terrorism that permit them entry into the United States as immigrants, asylees and refugees. According to a report it submitted to Congress, the Department of Homeland Security grated more than 1,500 of these in 2014.[lz_related_box id=”123575″]The center suggests ending extensions for states that have not yet complied with the REAL ID Act, which sets stronger standards for driver’s licenses. It was one of the recommendations made by the 9/11 commission to improve security following the terrorist attacks.
  • Increasing fees paid by employers for temporary work permits. The report recommends creating a number of rules designed to ensure that temporary work visas are not used to displace American employees. It similarly suggests changes to prevent abuses in a program that allows foreign students to work in the United States after graduation.
  • Changing the way the government deals with unaccompanied minors who cross the U.S. border, as they have done by the tens of thousands in recent years. The report urges the government to stop giving them special protections designed for victims of human trafficking.
  • Taking measures to discourage sanctuary cities and counties that fail to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
  • Eliminating false “privacy” rights granted to illegal immigrants and making efforts to assist victims of crimes by illegal immigrants.

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