Today, the Senate passed S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, by a vote of 68-32, which includes the Hoeven-Corker border security amendment.
“This is the toughest border security measure to ever pass the Senate, and from economic, national security, deficit-reduction and moral standpoints, it’s the right thing to do,” said Corker. “Because of the amendment Senator Hoeven and I added to the bill, this legislation requires an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents and at least 700 miles of fencing along the southern border, full implementation and activation of $4.5 billion in surveillance technology, an electronic visa entry/exit system, and a mandated E-Verify system for all employers. Passage of this bill gets us one step closer to securing our border in a dramatic way and to solving the immigration problem that we have struggled with for decades.”
Yesterday, the Hoeven-Corker border security amendment passed overwhelmingly in a 69-29 vote. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “the amendment would reduce both illegal entry into the country and the number of people who stay in the country beyond the end of their authorized period [visa overstays].”
The amended legislation, according to CBO, would reduce the deficit by $157 billion in the next 10 years and by $690 billion during the second decade.
To view Senator Corker’s floor remarks on the immigration bill, click here.
Hoeven-Corker Border Security Amendment
The amendment contains tangible, concrete triggers which ensure that Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPIs) cannot receive Green Cards until at least 10 years after the enactment of the bill, AND the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Inspector General, and GAO, certifies that:
- An unprecedented surge of an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents are deployed, maintained and stationed along the southern border, more than doubling the current force.
- The Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy is deployed and operational, which includes, at a minimum, full implementation and activation of the $4.5 billion in specific technology and equipment requested by the Border Patrol to achieve full surveillance of the border.
- The Southern Border Fencing Strategy has been implemented, and at least 700 miles of fencing has been completed along the southern border. (There are 350 miles of pedestrian fencing already deployed along the southern border. This amendment would double that and ensure a total of 700 miles of fencing along the border.)
- The mandated electronic visa entry/exit system has been fully implemented at all air and sea ports of entry where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are currently deployed, which will improve the identification of those who overstay their visas.
- E-Verify is being used by all employers in the country, making it virtually impossible to work in the United States illegally.
Only after ALL FIVE of these requirements have been fully implemented AND at least 10 YEARS have passed can RPIs apply for a green card.
TOUGH INTERIOR ENFORCEMENT THAT CURBS DE FACTO AMNESTY
Visa overstays currently account for 40% of those unlawfully present in our country. This problem goes largely unaddressed because individuals identified as unlawfully present are not systematically removed. The administration has not considered their removal a priority, and in many cases, has established policies to delay their removal. The underlying bill improves the identification of overstays through a fully implemented entry/exit system. The Hoeven-Corker amendment goes a step further by mandating the initiation of removal proceedings for at least 90% of visa overstays – holding DHS accountable for failing to enforce the law and targeting an issue that is at the core of a policy of de facto amnesty.
PREVENTING ABUSE OF FEDERAL BENEFITS
- The amendment would prevent immigrants who used a fraudulent or false Social Security number while they were unlawfully present from getting Social Security credits for that period.
- The amendment would restrict certain non-immigrant visa holders, such as tourists and foreign students, from accessing Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA – the president’s health care law) benefits.
- The amendment would provide that the Department of Health and Human Services may not grant waivers to states to allow them to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars to give cash assistance benefits to people in RPI status.
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