ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Home Page


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

移民日报

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily


Chinese Immig. Daily




The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of
free information!
Copyright
© 1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

View RSS Feed

Immigration Law Blogs on ILW.COM

Hillary’s immigration policies will not lead to comprehensive immigration reform.

Rate this Entry
By Nolan Rappaport


According to Hillary Clinton, America needs comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. I agree, but I do not think her vision of comprehensive immigration reform is really “comprehensive.” According to the Oxford dictionary, “comprehensive” means “Complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.” Hillary’s immigration reform policies essentially just address the problems that concern the Democrats. A comprehensive approach would have to address the issues that are important to the Republicans too, such as effective interior enforcement and a secure border. In other words, to be comprehensive, it would have to meet the political needs of both parties.

Hillary is not alone in her approach to immigration reform. To my knowledge, the Democrats have not passed a truly bipartisan immigration reform bill in the last 30 years. They have passed immigration reform bills that they have called “bipartisan,” but I do not think they really were. For instance, the Senate has passed two major immigration reform bills and both were opposed by a majority of the Senate Republicans. On May 25, 2006, the Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, S. 2611, with a vote of 62 yeas and 36 nays. Only 23 Republican senators voted for it; the other 32 Republicans and four Democrats voted against it. On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S. 744, with 68 yeas and 32 nays. Only 14 of the Republicans voted for it; the other 32 voted against it. Both bills were dead on arrival when they reached the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

I am only aware of one successful immigration reform bill that had such one-sided political support, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), which was an extremely harsh Republican bill. I am very familiar with IIRIRA because I was brought to the House Judiciary Committee in 1997, as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert, to analyze IIRIRA and write a bill for the Democrats to fix the provisions which we believed had taken the fairness and compassion out of our immigration laws. The bill I wrote, the Restoration of Fairness in Immigration Law Act of 2000, was introduced by Congressman John Conyers, with 47 cosponsors, on July 26, 2000. It was the legislative foundation for the “Fix’96” campaign. I think these fixes should be included in a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The only current bill that provides these fixes is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s, Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2015, H.R. 52.

Ironically, IIRIRA was signed into law as part of a larger bill by Hillary’s husband, Bill, who apparently agreed with Republican enforcement policies. When his chief of staff, Leon Panetta, gave a briefing on IIRIRA, he said, “We were able, I think, as a result of this negotiation to be able to modify — eliminate the large hits with regards to legal immigrants while keeping some very strong enforcement measures with regards to illegal immigration.” Moreover, Bill’s formal statement at the signing ceremony explicitly acknowledged that he was in favor of strengthening the rule of law by cracking down on illegal immigration. The pertinent part of his statement reads as follows:
This bill, ... includes landmark immigration reform legislation that builds on our progress of the last three years. It strengthens the rule of law by cracking down on illegal immigration at the border, in the workplace, and in the criminal justice system—without punishing those living in the United States legally.

The last really comprehensive immigration reform bill was passed thirty years ago, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). It was a remarkable accomplishment, and Republican President Ronald Reagan seemed to be very proud of it when he made his statement during the signing ceremony. He said:
[IRCA] is the product of one of the longest and most difficult legislative undertakings of recent memory. It has truly been a bipartisan effort, with this administration and the allies of immigration reform in the Congress, of both parties, working together to accomplish these critically important reforms....

What happened after IRCA was enacted, however, is a different matter. It was supposed to permit the creation of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in return for increased enforcement measures and a secure border. It was a wipe-the-slate-clean-and-start-over deal. The Republicans permitted approximately 2.7 million undocumented aliens to be legalized in return for border security and an effective interior enforcement program that would prevent the development of such large groups of undocumented aliens again in the future. But by the beginning of 1997, the 2.7 million legalized aliens had been replaced entirely by a new group of undocumented aliens. In other words, the Democrats got their legalization program but the Republicans never got the border security or the interior enforcement program they had been promised.

I believe that the Republicans would agree to the same deal now if they were assured that this time, they would get border security and interior enforcement before the legalization program is implemented, and such an agreement would be a solid foundation for creating a comprehensive immigration reform bill that truly would be “comprehensive.”

This article is reprinted with permission from the author. It was originally published by the author on Huffington Post.

About The Author
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years; he subsequently served as the immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for twenty years. He also has been a policy advisor for the DHS Office of Information Sharing and Collaboration under a contract with TKC Communications, and he has been in private practice as an immigration lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson.

Submit "Hillary’s immigration policies will not lead to comprehensive immigration reform." to Facebook Submit "Hillary’s immigration policies will not lead to comprehensive immigration reform." to Twitter Submit "Hillary’s immigration policies will not lead to comprehensive immigration reform." to Google Submit "Hillary’s immigration policies will not lead to comprehensive immigration reform." to StumbleUpon Submit "Hillary’s immigration policies will not lead to comprehensive immigration reform." to Reddit Submit "Hillary’s immigration policies will not lead to comprehensive immigration reform." to Digg Submit "Hillary’s immigration policies will not lead to comprehensive immigration reform." to del.icio.us

Updated 09-26-2016 at 04:31 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

Comments

  1. Retired INS's Avatar
    I enjoy reading your articles because you actually know what you are talking about. I had to enforce the 1996 bill, which was the worst bill ever passed relating to immigration. You didn't mention that 245(i) was temporarily in place in 1996. The real pain of the 1996 bill came in April 2001. I still meet many illegal Mexicans married to citizens who cannot immigrate because the came here illegally as children. They don't have the money to hire an attorney and try to get an exemption from the 10 year bar.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Thanks.

    The bills with legalization provisions can be expected to have a provision waiving the three and ten year bars for otherwise eligible applicants, but Ms. Jackson Lee's bill is the only besides the FAIRNESS Act I wrote in 1997 that goes through the entire list of IIRIRA problems and offers a provision to fix every one of them. Either the Democrats today don't know about those problems, or the need to fix them has been eclipsed by the desire to help the 11 million undocumented aliens. Hillary talks about Trump breaking up American families by deporting undocumented aliens, but I don't hear her talking about families being broken up by aggravated felony removals for offenses that weren't aggravated felonies when they were committed.

    Isn't it interesting that Bill Clinton signed the bill that had IIRIRA in it? Apparently, he liked the Republican's get tough on illegal immigration approach. If he expressed the same opinion today, he would be called a bigot, a racist, and who knows what else.
    Updated 09-12-2016 at 08:46 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Nolan apparently blames Bill Clinton for signing a "larger bill"... "that had IIRIRA in it", but he does not mention, and neither does Retired INS, that IIRIRA was only one part of an omnibus appropriations bill that had numerous other other features, not directly relating to immigration, that would have made it virtually impossible to veto the bill just over a month before the 1996 presidential election.

    As is clear from the remarks of Leon Panetta, a key administration negotiator, the omnibus bill contained funding for anti-terrorism, anti-drug activities, police force increases, education, keeping government agencies open and many other essential government activities.

    It is true that in his comments, Panetta took credit for negotiations that allegedly prevented IIRIRA from being even harsher and more anti-immigrant than it actually was, but it was obvious from his comments that IIRIRA was only one piece of an appropriations bill that had many different and critically important elements that had nothing to do with IIRIRA.

    If the Republicans who controlled Congress at that time had thought that IIRIRA had any chance of becoming law on its own merits, why did they not present this important and far reaching immigration bill as a separate piece of legislation, rather than attaching it as a rider to an appropriations bill whose veto by the president, if he has vetoed it, might have let to a partial government shut down and torpedoing programs important to America's security just before a presidential election?

    What choice did Bill Clinton have except to sign the bill and try to put the best face on the immigration provisions that he could?

    Suggesting that Hillary Clinton might be anti-immigrant 20 years later because her husband signed IIRIRA with the equivalent of a Republican legislative gun at his head, if that is indeed what Nolan is suggesting about Hillary Clinton, would be absurd.

    For the full text of Leon Panetta's remarks about the omnibus bill, see:

    http://clinton6.nara.gov/1996/09/199...nd-raines.html

    It would have been helpful if Nolan, who certainly knows as much if not more about IIRIRA and the attempts to fix it than any other immigration law expert in America, had given us a fuller and more complete picture of how IIRIRA was actually enacted.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 09-13-2016 at 02:46 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  4. MKolken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    What choice did Bill Clinton have except to sign the bill and try to put the best face on the immigration provisions that he could?
    This is revisionist history.

    Clinton intentionally went after immigrants.
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    Nolan apparently blames Bill Clinton for signing a "larger bill"... "that had IIRIRA in it", but he does not mention, and neither does Retired INS, that IIRIRA was only one part of an omnibus appropriations bill that had numerous other other features, not directly relating to immigration, that would have made it virtually impossible to veto the bill just over a month before the 1996 presidential election.

    What choice did Bill Clinton have except to sign the bill and try to put the best face on the immigration provisions that he could?

    Suggesting that Hillary Clinton might be anti-immigrant 20 years later because her husband signed IIRIRA with the equivalent of a Republican legislative gun at his head, if that is indeed what Nolan is suggesting about Hillary Clinton, would be absurd.

    For the full text of Leon Panetta's remarks about the omnibus bill, see:

    http://clinton6.nara.gov/1996/09/199...nd-raines.html

    It would have been helpful if Nolan, who certainly knows as much if not more about IIRIRA and the attempts to fix it than any other immigration law expert in America, had given us a fuller and more complete picture of how IIRIRA was actually enacted.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Roger is reading too much into my comments. l am not "blaming" Bill Clinton for anything. I am just pointing out that he favored cracking down on illegal immigration. He said it, and so did his chief of staff. But I do not view that position as being anti-immigrant. It just means that he was opposed to ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. In fact, one of the quotes I included showed that he wanted to protect immigrants here lawfully. And, frankly, I think Hillary was opposed to illegal immigration then too; but I can't support that opinion at the moment beyond pointing out that she signed a bill to erect 700 miles of fence along the border with Mexico. That's a lot of fence. The border is only 2000 miles long.
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MKolken
    This is revisionist history.

    Clinton intentionally went after immigrants.
    You are making the same misrepresentation Roger makes. He didn't go after immigrants. He went after illegal immigration.
  7. MKolken's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    You are making the same misrepresentation Roger makes. He didn't go after immigrants. He went after illegal immigration.
    Wrong.

    Clinton specifically targeted lawful immigrants (Green Card holders) convicted of crimes.
  8. Retired INS's Avatar
    It is interesting to listen to immigration attorneys argue the merits of the 1996 law. I was one of the INS managers who had to enforce the law. I did my job but was frustrated because so much of the law made things worse.
    When I went through the Border Patrol academy (1972) I was taught to be respectful of the rights of illegal aliens and treat them with kindness whenever possible. At that time most Mexican illegals came for jobs, not to commit crimes or smuggle drugs. The 1996 law made Mexicans pay a heavy price for illegal entry once 245(i) expired, but didn't consider visa overstays. This frustrated those of us in the INS who had to explain the law to those affected by it. Also, changing Suspension of Deportation to Cancellation of Removal made it impossible for many who had been here a long time and would suffer from hardship if deported, but didn't have legal relatives to qualify for Cancellation of Removal. As a manager I began using deferred action more frequently after 1996. Not all INS officers lived up to the Border Patrol's "Mean Green" slogan.
  9. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MKolken
    Wrong.

    Clinton specifically targeted lawful immigrants (Green Card holders) convicted of crimes.
    Why is that wrong? We had a Criminal Alien Program well before Clinton became the president, and every subsequent president has targeted aliens who are convicted of a crime here.
Put Free Immigration Law Headlines On Your Website

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers Enter your email address here: