President Bush Holds Immigration Enforcement
and Homeland Security Hostage to Amnesty Plan
J ANUARY 24, 2007, W ASHINGTON , DC —In his State of the Union address, President Bush
called on Congress to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” to secure the borders,
enhance interior enforcement, create yet another avenue by which employers may import
foreign workers (the United States already has no fewer than nine temporary worker, or
nonimmigrant, programs), and legalize the 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants currently in the
United States. A document posted on the White House website yesterday touts several steps
the Administration is taking on immigration and provides additional
details regarding what
he wants from Congress.
President Bush, in both his speech and the White House document, insists that we
cannot control illegal immigration unless we simultaneously create a new program to import
foreign workers and grant amnesty to illegal immigrants already here. This claim would
sound somewhat more sincere if he were already using every tool at his disposal to secure the
borders and control illegal immigration.
Among the many immigration - enforcement actions the President is authorized—and in
some cases required--
by law to take, but which he has to date refused to take, are the
Full implementation of US- VISIT
Section 110 of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
(IIRIRA) requires the administration to “develop an automated entry and exit control
system that will collect a record of dep arture for every alien departing the United States
and match the records of departure with the record of the alien’s arrival in the United
States.” DHS created
US - VISIT in response to this requirement.
Currently, however, only about one percent of all land - border crossers are
subjected to US - VISIT processing upon entry into the United States because
Mexicans and Canadians have been exempted from the program.
Moreover, DHS recently acknowledged that it has no intention of ever
implementing the exit controls required by law. Without an exit system, US -
VISIT is unable to fulfill its main purpose: to allow immigration authorities to
identify and locate aliens allowed into the United States on a temporary visa who
remain illegally after the visa expires. The President has sworn an oath to
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faithfully execute the laws and this law is unambiguous. It requires entry and
departure tracking, and it applies to “every alien.”
An alien presenting a border crossing identification card (i.e., a laser visa) is not permitted
by law to cross over the border into the United States unless the biometric identifier
contained on the visa matches the appropriate biometric characteristic of the alien. By
exempting Mexico from participation in US- VISIT, however, the President ensured that this
processing. Instead, CBP inspectors are supposed to visually confirm the match.
Full expansion of expedited removal
The Secretary of DHS is authorized to expand expedited removal procedures to apply to any
aliens who have not been admitted or paroled into the United States and who cannot
affirmatively prove that they have been physically present in the United States continuously
for two years immediately prior to this determination.
Last January, the administration expanded expedited removal procedures to apply to
aliens apprehended within 100 miles of a land border who cannot prove that they have
been present in the United States for 14 days.
Serious worksite enforcement to remove the jobs magnet
We applaud the administration for the high- profile raids conducted in recent months, but a
handful of raids does not indicate a commitment to worksite enforcement, particularly when
the vast majority of illegal immigrants arrested in those raids are released within a matter of
hours, despite having committed serious crimes (e.g., document fraud, identity theft, social
security fraud) in addition to their immigration violations.
If the President publicly touted the Basic Pilot program as a tool for employers to verify
the legal status of their workers and avoid liability for hiring illegal immigrants, many
more businesses would be using it. Instead, most are unaware of its existence.
The President has the authority to order the Social Security Administration (SSA) to
send “no- match” letters to every employer with an employee whose name and Social
Security number do not match, rather than only to employers with 10 or more employee
mismatches, as is current practice.
When the recent Swift raids highlighted a longstanding loophole in the Basic Pilot—
aliens who steal, purchase or borrow someone else’s legitimate Social Security number
and name will not be flagged as illegal—the President could have directed the Social
Security Administration to immediately identify all accounts into which more than one
employer reports income and notify account owners that their identities may have been
The President could order ICE to conduct random audits of I- 9 records, particularly in
industries known to employ large numbers of illegal immigrants.
Information sharing among the three immigration agencies and with other
law enforcement agencies
The failure to share critical law enforcement information has been identified repeatedly as one
of the primary reasons why 19 individuals were able to murder almost 3,000 Americans on
September 11, 2001. More than five years later, ICE, CBP, and USCIS still refuse to share
critical information with each other and with non- DHS law enforcement agencies, and the
The result, once again, is that aliens intent on harming Americans are able to game thenon- DHS agencies reciprocate by refusing to share information with the immigration agencies.
immigration system and take up residence in the United States without raising any red flags.
The first immigration bill passed after the September 11 attacks, the Enhanced Border
Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, required the administration to make
interoperable all security databases relevant to determining aliens’ eligibility for entry.
Almost five years later, DHS has no plan to accomplish this, according to the Inspector
USCIS, which is responsible for conducting background checks on aliens who apply for
status from within the United States and on immigrants’ sponsors, does not have adequate
access to relevant national security data, nor do USCIS employees have adequate training
on the systems they can access. The Inspector General has documented these and other
problems with USCIS background checks.
Immigration fraud investigations
Aliens who commit fraud, use false or altered documents, or make misrepresentations on
applications for immigration benefits are ineligible for the benefits, according to the law.
Not only does USCIS grant benefits to aliens despite indications of, and sometimes even
evidence of, fraud or misrepresentation, ICE rarely investigates cases of alleged benefits
fraud referred by USCIS.
Immigration fraud investigations and convictions have declined precipitously since 1992.
USCIS estimates that ICE declines to investigate over 70 percent of the benefits fraud
referrals it receives. It is exceedingly rare for either agency to attempt to rescind a benefit
once it is granted.
Despite the fact that at least nine known terrorists have engaged in marriage fraud to
prolong their stay in the United States, ICE refuses to investigate single- instance marriage
fraud allegations.
Detention and removal of criminal aliens
IIRIRA makes detention pending removal mandatory for all aggravated felons and other
aliens who are inadmissible or removable due to criminal convictions.
According to the Inspector General, of the 345,006 criminal aliens apprehended from FY
2001 through FY 2004, 27,947 were released from detention before they could be removed.
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The IG was unable to determine why they were released since ICE does not track that
Section 307 of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that, upon notification by DHS or
the AG that a foreign government refuses or unreasonably delays the return a national of that
country who is ordered removed from the United States, the State Department shall suspend
the issuance of immigrant and/or nonimmigrant visas to nationals of that country.
A handful of governments, including Iraq and China, routinely refuse to issue travel
documents to their nationals who have been ordered removed from the United States, but
this provision is ignored.
Reduce incentives
Section 642 of the 1996 IIRIRA prohibits states and localities from adopting policies, formally
or informally, that bar employees from communicating with DHS regarding the immigration
status of individuals.
Neither of the two sanctuary states, Maine and New Mexico, nor any of the multitudes of
sanctuary cities has been challenged by DHS or DOJ for violating this law.
Soon after the 1996 law passed, the City of New York challenged the sanctuary provision in
court. The court upheld the law and ordered the City to rescind its sanctuary policy.
Instead, New York modified its policy slightly, but the Federal Government has not
challenged it.
Section 505 of IIRIRA prohibits public institutions of higher education from offering in- state
tuition to illegal aliens unless they also offer it to every citizen of the United States.
Neither DHS nor the Justice Department has challenged any of the nine or so states that
have passed laws that violate this ban.
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NumbersUSA Education and Research Fo
January 2007
Illegal Aliens
Temporary Entrants (Nonimmigrants)
Immigrants (Lawful Permanent Residents)
Humanitarian Immigrants
& Amnestied Aliens
Tourists & Short-Term
Business Visitors unlimited
Visa Lottery Winners
cap = 50,000*
Other Nonimmigrants unlimited
Temporary Guest Workers
Employment-Based Immigrants*
cap = 140,000
Family-Based Immigrants
Refugee Adjustments
Skilled Workers
Ambassadors, Diplomats, United
Nations Officials
And other employees of foreign govern-
ments and international organizations, and
servants and attendants of such employees
Asylee Adjustments
cap = 10,000
Immediate Relatives
parents, spouses, minor
children of U.S. citizens
unlimited; 2005=436,231
Priority Workers
cap = 40,040
Treaty Traders, Treaty Investors
authorized by international free trade agreements
H-1B Workers
specialty occupations and fashion models
cap = 85,000; exceptions to cap = unlimited
Other Humanitarian
Aircraft and Vessel Crew
Aliens w/ Extraordinary Ability
Family Preference Immigrants*
floor = 226,000
Outstanding Professors &
Students at Academic
H-1C Nurses coming to work in designated
health-care shortage areas
cap = 500
Multinational Executives &
Family 1 st unmarried adult
children of citizens
cap = 23,400
Foreign Press Representatives
L-1 Intracompany Transferees
managers/specialized workers in multinat’l corps
Exchange Visitors
2 nd Preference
cap = 40,040
Family 2A –
spouses, minor children of LPRs
floor/cap = 87,934/114,000
Fiance(e)s of US Citizens
Unskilled Workers
Professionals w/ Adv. Degrees
Vocational Students
Family 2B –
unmarried adult children of LPRs
cap = 26,266
Aliens of Exceptional Ability
H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers
Cancellation of Removal
cap = 4,000
Witness/Informant in Criminal
3 rd Preference
cap = 40,040
H-2B Temporary or Seasonal Workers
cap = 66,000
Family 3 rd married adult
children of citizens
cap = 23,400
Humanitarian Entrants
Skilled Workers
Other Workers
Refugee/asylee admissions
Family 4 th
adult siblings of citizens
cap = 65,000
Workers with Extraordinary Ability
in sciences, arts, education, business, athletics
Unskilled Workers
cap = 5,000*
Humanitarian parolees
Victims of human tra f icking
and domestic violence
4 th Preference
Special Immigrants
cap = 9,940
* A per-country limit applies to visas in these preference cate-gories.
For independent countries the limit is seven percent of the total number
of preference visas available, while dependent areas are limited to two
percent of total preference visas.
* The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act of 1997
(NACARA) reallocates 5,000 visas annually from both the Visa Lottery
and the Unskilled Worker category and makes them available to illegal
aliens who qualify for amnesty under NACARA. Once NACARA
applications fall below a specified level, this reallocation will end.
Athletes & Entertainers unlimited
Religious Workers unlimited
Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries
5 th Preference
cap = 9,940
Spouses & minor children of LPRs on the
visa waiting list for three or more years
Entered without Inspection
estimated at about 60 percent of total illegal pop.
Visa Overstay
estimated at about 40 percent of total illegal pop.