“NO” on False Border Security Amendments

In the coming days, the Senate will likely vote on one or more “border security” amendments to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744), also known as the Gang of Eight’s bill.  Those amendments, including Schumer-Corker-Hoeven, will fail to solve the enforcement problems in the underlying bill unless Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status (i.e., amnesty) is made conditional on enforcement and security.

As Heritage Action has said before, amendments that simply change the bill’s post-legalization language are nothing more than talking points disguised as policy.  Analyzing previous amendments, the Heritage Foundation explained:

The conditions that must be certified regarding border security relate only to adjustment of the status of RPI aliens to permanent residency status.  In other words, aliens will still be granted amnesty before the border is secured; they just can’t be upgraded to permanent status.

No matter what the new amendments promise in terms of increased border security and enforcement, it will almost certainly not require those enhancements before amnesty is granted to 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country.  RPI status, which is the initial legalization, would occur within 180 days.

As history demonstrates, border security and internal enforcement rarely proceeds as planned.  That is a lesson America learned following the 1986 amnesty and more recently with the Secure Fence Act.  That 2006 law would have required 700 miles of fencing along the border, but Congress watered it down a year later.

Illegal immigration undermines our nation’s ability to protect its borders and preserve its sovereignty – a legalization-first approach (i.e, amnesty) will only make the problem worse.  As Heritage explains, the Gang of Eight’s legalization-first approach would actually drive up the cost of securing the border because it “creates an incentive for illegal border crossings and overstays.”

Amnesty before security guarantees only amnesty.

Heritage Action opposes any amendment that fails to take a security-first approach, including Schumer-Corker-Hoeven, and reserves the right to include any and all as key votes on our legislative scorecard. 

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