Gutting Immigration Enforcement

by Mark Krikorian

The big problems with the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill at least get a certain amount of attention. For instance, the defeat of Senator Grassley’s amendment requiring effective border security before any illegal alien is awarded legal status puts into sharp relief the point emphasized by Senator Rubio last weekend (though only on Spanish-language TV):

First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence. . . . It is not conditional. The legalization is not conditional.

But there are smaller issues that don’t get the same attention, yet would cripple future enforcement even if something like Grassley’s amendment were to pass. And the bill now on the floor is actually worse in that regard than it was when originally introduced. My staff has compiled a few of the ways the enforcement provisions of the bill were weakened by the Judiciary Committee; a few examples:

The bill would create within USCIS an office to advocate for small businesses — who could object? Except the office would have the authority to interfere with an enforcement action and actually reverse penalties imposed on an employer.

The attorney general could provide a taxpayer-funded defense attorney to any illegal alien or group of illegal aliens to help them fight deportation in court, a costly benefit to which they are not now entitled, and to which U.S. citizens are not entitled in administrative proceedings (deportation is an administrative, not a criminal, matter).

Illegal aliens fighting deportation would be entitled to see all of the documents in their file, including those obtained by ICE from other law-enforcement agencies, which may be sensitive or even classified. The likely result is that other agencies would decline to provide ICE with these documents if they were worried about their release. And, if ICE refused to release any documents, then the alien could not be removed.

Does that sound like “the toughest enforcement measures in the history of the United States, potentially in the world,” in Rubio’s words?

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