WH: McCain's Proposal Would Increase Illegal Immigration, Give Pathway to Citizenship to Convicted Felons

Melanie Arter | February 14, 2018 | 7:33pm EST
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(CNSNews.com) - The White House on Wednesday came out in opposition to a bipartisan immigration proposal by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), saying the amendment would “increase illegal immigration, surge chain migration, continue catch and release, and give a pathway to citizenship to convicted alien felons.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters issued a statement in response to the Coons’ amendment, saying, “The White House opposes the McCain-Coons immigration proposal, which would increase illegal immigration, surge chain migration, continue catch and release, and give a pathway to citizenship to convicted alien felons.”

Walters pointed to a press release by the Department of Homeland Security, which said it ignores the recommendations by DHS front-line operators.

According to DHS, It fails to secure the border, is a “mass legalization bill” instead of a DACA bill, grants immediate status to millions of illegal immigrants including criminal aliens and convicted felons, surges chain migration, and keeps the visa lottery.

DHS said the bill fails to secure the border, because it does not authorize “a single penny for appropriations for border security” thereby ensuring that the border “is never secured or our national security protected.” Instead, it requires DHS to “submit a strategy on securing the border to Congress - something that DHS has already done.”

“This is an insult to the expert men and women who spent thousands of hours putting together the plan that the McCain-Coons proposal summarily rejects,” DHS said.

The amendment “handcuffs immigration operators while refusing to provide new authorities, such as granting officials access to federal lands or border construction waiver authority.” The proposal also doesn’t close legal loopholes in the immigration system, DHS said, “like leaving ‘catch and release’ for family units and unaccompanied alien minors fully in place.”

Furthermore, the proposal “grants citizenship to hundreds of thousands of additional illegal aliens that are not ‘DACA’ recipients, including thousands who resided in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).”

The McCain-Coons amendment also gives “a fast track” to citizenship to “an overly-broad” number of illegals, including those that don’t qualify for DACA.

“The proposal applies to anyone who came to the United States prior to 2013 and claims to have been under the age of 18 at the time of entry. Because there is no age cut off, under the McCain-Coons proposal, an eligible recipient could now be 65 years old, or older,” DHS said.

According to DHS, the amendment also allows “a whole host of individuals” to waive prior criminal records, thereby making them eligible for a fast-track path to citizenship. Convicted felons - those with domestic violence offenses and even criminal gang members - could be eligible for fast-track citizenship. That means “a deportable alien convicted of a firearms offense would be eligible for citizenship benefits.”

“Under the bill, criminal grounds of ineligibility are subject to extremely broad waivers, such that even felonies can be waived. The waivers are so broad that they essentially exempt this class of aliens from criminal removal grounds that apply to other aliens. Contrary to current law—and even President Obama’s DACA policy—the expunged records cannot be considered,” DHS stated.

Furthermore, the McCain-Coons proposal would be subject to widespread fraud and abuse, DHS said, because “sworn affidavits (which is essentially just the alien’s word) would be allowed as evidence of compliance for certain eligibility requirements.”

It does not include “meaningful education requirements for would-be beneficiaries,” DHS said. There is no requirement that they show they are attending classes and only requires that they demonstrate enrollment. It also prevents DHS from removing anyone who is enrolled in school over the age of 4. “This would include “teenage human smugglers, gang members or criminal aliens.”

The proposal repeals the ban on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants at public colleges and universities, thereby forcing taxpayers to pay for their higher education.

The McCain-Coons proposal also allows illegals to legally bring non-parental relatives to the U.S. through chain migration, “who in turn could bring in their foreign relatives, potentially adding millions of people to future flows of chain migrants on top of existing chain migration flows.” Current law does not allow illegals to legally bring over foreign relatives through chain migration.

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