Wednesday, December 08, 2004

FAIR Looks at Homeland Insecurity Bill--Illegal Immigration Invasion Continues

Here's a run-down of highlights on what the Senate stripped out, and what was included in the final conference agreement.

Ban on Driver's Licenses for Illegal Aliens Dropped, Replaced with Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy: While federal law currently is silent on the question of whether issuance of driver's licenses to illegal aliens is aiding and abetting illegal immigration, the final conference report stipulates that the federal government "may not infringe on a state's power to set criteria concerning what categories of individuals are eligible to obtain a driver's license or personal identification card from the state." In essence, this language says to the states that they can give driver's licenses and ID cards to whomever they want, including illegal aliens and the terrorists among them, and it's none of the federal government's business.
Even more outrageous, the final conference report effectively requires states who do not issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens to accept driver's licenses and ID cards from states that do.

Ban on Matricula Consular Identification Cards Dropped: The conference agreement did not include a House-passed provision that would have barred acceptance of non-verifiable matricula consular ID cards for any federal purpose. These cards are only needed by illegal aliens. All legal residents and foreign visitors can use foreign passports or U.S.-issued documents to establish identity.

Expansion of Expedited Removal Dropped: Senate conferees stripped a House-passed provision that would have expanded expedited removal of criminals and illegal aliens to include those apprehended in the interior and those encountered along the U.S. border between U.S. ports of entry. It also would have expanded the period of time during which an alien in the U.S. is subject to the procedure from two to five years.

New Evidentiary Standards for Asylum Dropped and Replaced with More Studies:
Senate conferees stripped out a House-passed provision that would have established a new evidentiary standard that applicants would have to meet in order to prove their claims for asylum and placed the burden of proof on the alien to demonstrate eligibility for asylum. This provision was designed to address a loophole in our asylum process that currently can be exploited by terrorists to gain easy access to the country under fraudulent asylum claims. The House provision was stripped out and replaced with a study "to evaluate the extent to which weaknesses in the United States asylum system and withholding of removal system have been or could be exploited by aliens connected to, charged in connection with, or tied to terrorist activity." Rather than take a proactive step to close these dangerous loopholes, Senate conferees prefer to take the "wait and see" approach, which continues to leave us vulnerable.

Restrictions on Judiciary Review Dropped: Senate conferees stripped out a House-passed provision that would have eliminated extraneous judicial review of removal decisions, a dilatory tactic often used to delay justified deportation at the expense of taxpayers and safety.

Expansion of Terrorist-Related Grounds of Inadmissibility Dropped: The conference agreement strikes a House-passed section that would have expanded the terrorist-related grounds of inadmissibility.

Increases in Border Patrol Agents, ICE Investigators, and Detention Bed Space "Subject to Appropriations": The conference report does at least include provisions to increase border patrol agents, ICE investigators, and detention bed space, but these increases are "subject to appropriations" which means that there is no guarantee that money will be made available to implement them.

Expedites Implementation of Entry/Exit System: The conference report includes a House provision to expedite the full implementation of the biometric entry/exit system designed to screen visitors, also known as U.S.-VISIT.

For more on FAIR's perspective, check out today's press release: "Compromise Brings Intelligence Reform, But Not Homeland Security."

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