Janet Napolitano’s Magic Amnesty Wand

Regardless of how you may feel about amnesty and the cost thereof, you simply cannot ignore that the Gang of Eight immigration bill fails to fix the flaws of our border security system.

If it takes one step forward with its strong language on improving border security, it takes two steps back by giving the Secretary of Homeland Security broad and sweeping discretion to waive its border security requirements, Hans von Spakovsky explains.

The bill appears to have strong language setting forth strict rules and requirements for border security.  But perception is not reality because it also gives the “secretary of homeland security pretty much carte blanche to waive the vast majority of the requirements detailed in the bill.”

Don’t believe von Spakovsky?

Institutions such as the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees and the United States Citizen and Immigration Service Council expressed serious concerns with the bill on May 9 and May 20, respectively.  They fear the “virtually unlimited discretion” the bill gives to DHS and they sent a letter to Congress letting lawmakers know. 

So what can the secretary of DHS do, specifically?

She gets to decide how much of the fence has to be built before illegal immigrants who are eligible for “Registered Provisional Immigrant” status receive that status, i.e., are granted amnesty. According to section 3(c) of the bill, “the secretary can start processing applications for RPI status as soon as she notifies Congress of the ‘commencement of implementation of the border-security and border-fencing strategies.’”

There’s more:

Section 3(c) stipulates that the secretary can’t “adjust” the status of RPIs — i.e., grant applicants (except blue-card holders) citizenship or permanent legal residency — until she certifies four conditions: that the border-security and border-fencing strategies have been “substantially” completed and that she has implemented both a mandatory employment-verification system and an electronic exit system at air- and seaports. But since the secretary is the one who determines if these conditions are satisfied, these “requirements” are meaningless.

What if a pro-amnesty group files a lawsuit to block implementation of one or more of the four requirements?

If the Justice Department does not vigorously contest the lawsuit, or if just one federal judge tosses out one condition, the secretary can start granting permanent status wholesale.

Not enough evidence for your liking?  von Spakovsky provides more:

Indeed, [the Gang of Eight bill] empowers her to grant RPI status for “humanitarian purposes, to ensure family unity, or if such a waiver is otherwise in the public interest.” This last reason, “otherwise in the public interest,” gives the secretary essentially unlimited latitude to grant amnesty to most anyone, including people who have committed numerous misdemeanors.

What Secretary Napolitano can do with this amnesty bill is grant waivers here, there, and everywhere.  Will she do so?  Past experience suggests she will:

Well, they already have a policy of granting “executive amnesty” to millions and of not enforcing immigration laws currently on the books.

The folks who drafted this legislation could have saved a lot of time and ink.  After all, they basically hand Janet Napolitano a proverbial magic amnesty wand.  Doing so certainly will not improve our security or fix our lawful immigration system.

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