House Border Security Bill, H.R. 399, Would Do Little to Stop Mass Illegal Immigration, Warns FAIR
Marginal Improvements at the Border Would Have Little Effect So Long as Immigration Laws Go Unenforced
(January 20, 2015 — Washington, D.C.) — The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) announced today that it will oppose the House Border Security First Act of 2015, H.R. 399. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) last Friday, is expected to be fast-tracked by the House Republican leadership, possibly making it to the floor before the end of the month.
“H.R. 399 is a loophole-ridden bill that fails to address the true causes of our nation’s illegal immigration problem,” declared Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “Our porous borders are a symptom of the problem. The problem is decades of failure to enforce our laws against illegal immigration. Yet, in the six years President Obama has been in office, he has outright refused to enforce our immigration laws and proudly declared he will give benefits to illegal aliens.
“Under policies in place by this administration, illegal aliens no longer need to sneak across to gain entry to the U.S.,” said Stein. “Would-be illegal aliens understand that being caught at the border will likely result in them being released – often with authorization to work in the U.S. They understand that interior and workplace enforcement has been gutted, and that there is no credible threat of removal once here. That’s why we saw tens of thousands of illegal aliens simply turn themselves in at the border last summer. Ultimately, H.R. 399 amounts to an expensive seven-year timetable to close the ‘backdoor’ of illegal entry, while we maintain policies that allow inadmissible aliens to walk through the front door.”
FAIR is also critical of the bill’s failure to timely address the problem of illegal aliens who overstay visas. Under H.R. 399, there would be an additional seven-year delay in implementation of a comprehensive biometric entry/exit tracking system to determine whether those admitted temporarily depart when they are supposed to. “Congress first mandated an entry/exit tracking system in 1996, and subsequent laws strengthened the requirement to include a biometric tracking system. Rome may not have been built in a day, but it seems it was built in less time than our government will need to apply commonly used technology to keep tabs on foreign nationals who enter on temporary visas,” said Stein.
“Sadly, H.R. 399 is a bill designed to convince the American public that our illegal immigration crisis is being dealt with, so that the House leadership can move forward with its own plan to grant amnesty to illegal aliens and increase admission of guest workers favored by business interests. FAIR cannot support a bill that falls so far short of true immigration enforcement and, at the same time, provides a pretext for amnesty and the admission of even more foreign workers to compete for American jobs,” concluded Stein.
“The new Republican majority must begin to address the root causes of mass illegal immigration and the role the Obama administration’s policies have played in gutting immigration enforcement. Instead of moving forward with a bill that addresses only a small part of the illegal immigration crisis, the American people would be better served by meaningful legislation, such as a bill introduced by Representatives Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that would reverse many of the administration’s policies that undermine immigration enforcement,” Stein concluded.