Beltway Confidential

The Corker-Hoeven visa overstay loophole

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,Conn Carroll,Immigration,Senate,Analysis,Bob Corker

You can build the largest fence in the world, and man it with a million border patrol agents, but if you invite hundreds of thousands of immigrants to enter the country legally every year on a “temporary” basis, and then fail to track whether or not they leave, you’ll still get a large illegal immigrant population. And that is exactly the problem with the Corker-Hoeven immigration amendment.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, about 45 percent of the current illegal immigrant population first came to the United States on a legal visa, and only became part of the unauthorized population when they remained in the country after their visa expired.

And according to the Congressional Budget Office, not only will the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill leave 3.5 million immigrants in the country without legal status, but it will also add about 4.8 million people to the illegal immigrant population by 2023, thanks to the bill’s “temporary” guest worker program.

In other words, even after spending $46 billion on border security over the next ten years, the Schumer-Rubio immigration does nothing to solve the illegal immigration problem. We will still have an 8.3 million person illegal immigrant population and Democrats will be pushing for yet another amnesty.

Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., have put out a fact sheet claiming to have solved this problem. “In addition to the border security measures outlined above, the amendment mandates the initiation of removal proceedings for at least 90 percent of visa overstays – 40 percent of the illegal immigration problem – 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,” they write.

There are two big problems with this claim:

First, their amendment in no way mandates the removal of 90 percent of visa overstays.  Section 1201 (beginning on page 121) merely directs the DHS Secretary to “initiate removal proceedings, confirm that immigration relief or protection has been granted or is pending, or otherwise close 90 percent of the cases of nonimmigrants.”

But the bill in no way says how those cases should be closed. The DHS Secretary (Janet Napolitano, for now) could determine a visa overstay isn’t a national security threat, leave them in the country, and then “close” the case. Nothing in the bill mandates the DHS secretary begin deportation proceedings, let alone require actual deportation.

Second, this “90 percent” removal requirement language comes after a list of the five triggers that are required before illegal immigrants can get green cards. That is because this 90 percent removal requirement is not a trigger. As weak as the 90 percent removal requirement is, there are absolutely zero consequences if the DHS Secretary fails to meet it. It is a completely worthless provision; in fact, it is designed to be worthless.

Democrats would never have allowed an amendment requiring a metric like “90 percent of all visa overstays must be deported before any registered provisional immigrant can get a green card” because that is exactly the type of language that made the Cornyn amendment unacceptable to them.

All Corker-Hoeven does with regard to visa overstays is create “a pilot program to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of notifying individuals who have traveled to the United States from a foreign nation that the terms of their admission to the United States are about to expire.”

That’s it. That is all Corker-Hoeven does to stop visa overstays: A pilot program that asks visitors who are about to overstay their visas to “pretty please” leave before they become illegal immigrants.

Of course, if Schumer-Rubio does become law, why would any visa overstayer ever leave? They will know if they just stay in the United States long enough they will eventually get their own amnesty.

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