Republicans Try To Derail Immigration Reform By Bringing Piecemeal Amendments To DHS Bill

dhsgop1Just last month, a bipartisan group of congressional leaders emerged from a White House meeting pledging to work together on reforming the nation’s immigration laws with one broad piece of legislation that would fix the broken immigration system once and for all. The meeting’s attendees seemed to agree that a “piecemeal” approach would be counterproductive and inefficient.

However, that didn’t stop a group of right-wing GOP lawmakers from continuing on what seems like a never-ending crusade to derail comprehensive immigration reform. Their latest attack came this week when Republican senators swamped the Department of Homeland Security $42.9 billion appropriations bill with a series of immigration enforcement-only amendments before comprehensive immigration reform could even hit the Senate floor. The bill passed yesterday evening, 84-6.

  • Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) sponsored an amendment that would require 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border to be completed by the end of 2012. Concerns expressed by environmentalists and social activists that the border fence will unfairly target low-income landowners and harm the environment were brushed aside. The legislation passed Wednesday by a vote of 54-44, essentially bucking the Obama administration’s plans to cut border fence funds.
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) offered a separate amendment that would overturn DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s decision to rescind the Bush Administration’s troubling practice of sending Social Security “no-match” letters to employers with employees whose numbers don’t match the federal database. Labor unions claim the letters have been used by employers to threaten their workers and the ACLU has often pointed out that the system uses “notoriously incomplete and inaccurate Social Security databases to decide who is authorized to work.” The legislation passed yesterday morning.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) proposed an amendment that would make E-verify, an error-ridden online verification program, mandatory and permanent. The amendment passed by voice vote on Wednesday, and Sen Check Schumer’s (D-NY) effort to table it was dismissed yesterday, 44-53.
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also introduced an amendment that would allow employers to use E-verify to confirm the status of all their workers, not just the new hires that previous decisions had applied to. That wouldn’t be such a big problem if it weren’t for the possibility that E-verify’s error-rate could potentially lead to the accidental unemployment of hundreds of thousands of Americans in the midst of a recession. The amendment passed by voice vote last night.

andreaWhile anti-immigrant groups are already toasting to the imminent failure of comprehensive immigration reform, immigration advocates remained calm and described this week’s actions as a “detour” and “political theater” that should be “taken with a grain of salt.” Either way, there’s an undeniable steep learning curve for conservative lawmakers who are slow to realize that they can no longer rely on an enforcement-only approach to immigration when the majority of their frustrated constituents want immigration laws overhauled inside and out. E-verify, no-match letters, and 700 miles of border fencing aren’t going to fix the immigration system. If anything, they further emphasize how broken it is.

Andrea Christina Nill

Republished with permission from the Wonk Room/Think Progress


About Andrea Christina Nill

Andrea Nill is an Immigration Researcher/Blogger for ThinkProgress.org and The Progress Report at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Political Science with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Law and Society. Prior to joining the center, Andrea was a Communications Associate at the Immigration Policy Center where she founded the blog, Immigration Impact. Andrea was also a Communications Specialist at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), specializing in bilingual public relations. Andrea was born in Guatemala and grew up in upstate New York.

Comments

  1. Brittancus says:

    REMEMBER WHO VOTED TO SAVE AMERICAN JOBS AND THOSE WHO BETRAYED US.

    Don’t believe for one minute, we are out of the quicksand yet? The illegal immigration enforcement battle has just began. Starting when Senate Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and even President Obama begin their devious manipulating when the amendments enter closed door sessions. Our victories may have seemed successful and closed, but it now enter the dark domain of the conference committees. This is where our laws and brought and sold by the highest bidders, because the vicious cycle comes with open border, the free traders who have already been lobbying hard and have large war chests. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) authored the completion of 700-miles of fencing along the southwest border, not just pathetic vehicular barriers and a virtual barrier.

    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that would require all federal contractors to check the eligibility of new hires through E-Verify. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to table the amendment, but the motion was defeated. The amendment also calls for a permanent reauthorization of E-Verify, which is set to expire in September.Sen. Charles Grassley’s (R-Iowa) E-Verify amendment to the Homeland Security spending bill allows employers to check the workplace eligibility of all employees–NOT JUST NEW HIRES. Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) No-Match amendment prevents further delay in the implementation of a Bush Administration rule allowing the Social Security to send No-Match letters to employers.

    All the anti-sovereignty, pro-illegal immigrant groups are already swallowing their own bile, but will be on the doorstep on the Congress in the following days. The American people must be vigilant against many organization, who not only want to squash E-Verify completely, but de-construct the border wall. Council of Foreign Relations wants no barriers between the North American countries, so it doesn’t inhibit the free movement of cheap labor. The US Chamber of Commerce seems to believe American workers should be in competition with anybody who climbs the border wall? Who would ever think trade unions such as AFL-CIO, would in their leadership condone illegal labor in their membership. ACLU group like many others are secretly financed by taxpayer dollars, as is LA Raza and other radical organizations.

    Their is a commitment by the Catholic church to undermine federal immigration laws, that is outrageous and they should lose the tax exempt status. But remember that although the coming AMNESTY is a disastrous crisis, the following waves of illegal potential squatters will be our Armageddon. The acceleration towards the genesis of Overpopulation. If we allow the politicians to enact another immigration reform program, it will become a calamity as was the 1986 AMNESTY.

    California–a SANCTUARY STATE–is now bearing a heavy burden, for voting into office–TAX AND SPEND–legislators, who allowed the state to become a refuge for millions of illegal aliens and families, that have drained the government coffers dry. THE GATHERING STORM OF FURIOUS VOTERS FROM ACROSS AMERICA, CANNOT NOT, MUST NOT STOP CONTACTING THEIR SENATE AND CONGRESS. 202-224-3121 THE US TAXPAYER MUST REMAIN ALERT AND LET THESE POLITICIANS UP THERE KNOW WHOSE IN CHARGE. THAT THEIR JOBS ARE ON THE LINE, LIKE THE MILLIONS OF AMERICAN WORKERS. GOOGLE THE INTERNET, TO DECIDE THE FACTS FOR YOURSELF. OR GO TO NUMBERSUSA, CAPSWEB, JUDICIALWATCH & AMERICANPATROL

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