House GOP leadership is having “discussions” on whether to bring a limited immigration reform bill to a vote on the House floor.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Tuesday there has been talk about scheduling a separate floor vote on the ENLIST Act after Republican leadership blocked the bill from coming to the floor as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act — a defense policy bill.
The bill , introduced by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), would allow undocumented immigrants who entered the country before they were 15 years old to join the military. After their service, these immigrants would be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship if they were honorably discharged…
When asked if Republicans planned to allow a standalone vote on the ENLIST Act on the House floor, Boehner said, “There have been discussions about that.”
With border authorities in South Texas overwhelmed by a surge of young illegal migrants traveling by themselves, the Department of Homeland Security declared a crisis this week and moved to set up an emergency shelter for the youths at an Air Force base in San Antonio, officials said Friday.
After seeing children packed in a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Tex., during a visit last Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday declared “a level-four condition of readiness” in the Rio Grande Valley. The alert was an official recognition that federal agencies overseeing borders, immigration enforcement and child welfare had been outstripped by a sudden increase in unaccompanied minors in recent weeks…
The children are coming primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, making the perilous journey north through Mexico to Texas without parents or close adult relatives. Last weekend alone, more than 1,000 unaccompanied youths were being held at overflowing border stations in South Texas, officials said.
The flow of child migrants has been building since 2011, when 4,059 unaccompanied youths were apprehended by border agents. Last year more than 21,000 minors were caught, and Border Patrol officials had said they were expecting more than 60,000 this year. But that projection has already been exceeded.
President Barack Obama’s administration may allow military enlistment by thousands of immigrants living in the country illegally, a top U.S. Department of Defense official said Monday.
Jessica L. Wright, the department’s acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, described the immigrants, known as DREAMers, as “some of the best and brightest in America that we could capitalize on.”
Wright said the decision would come by summer’s end and involved the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the White House.
The federal government granted temporary work permits to roughly 10 million foreign workers from 2000 to 2013, effectively boosting the supply of new workers by roughly 20 percent per year.
Only 650,000 of the guest workers were hired for agricultural jobs, according to the Tuesday report by the Congressional Research Service. That’s only seven percent of the inflow.
But roughly 3.1 million university-trained foreigners got permits to work in the professional sector for up to 10 years, said the report, titled “Selected Statistics on Immigrant and non-Immigrant Admissions since 2000.”…
This combined population of roughly 1.2 million university-trained foreign workers compete for jobs against the 800,000 Americans who graduate from college each year with business, medical or technical degrees. In 2012, U.S. college graduates comprised 19 percent of hourly workers, up from 13 percent in 2002, according to a March 2013 report in the Wall Street Journal.
Until House Republicans have confidence that President Obama will implement an immigration reform law as Congress passes it, there is not much to discuss House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday.
“We’ve talked about this literally every week for the last 18 months and I think its clear over the last several months that until the president gives us some reason, some confidence that we can trust him to implement an immigration reform bill we’re really not going to have much to talk about,” Boehner said at a GOP Leadership press conference. “The ball is in the president’s court.”…
“There are a lot of things he could do to demonstrate that we can have more confidence in his administration to implement an immigration reform bill the way we pass it,” Boehner said, but did not list specific ways.
“Nobody trusts the president, and that’s just the reality,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), a Republican who has written a bill that beefs up border security and offers a path to legal status for illegal immigrants. “Can the president re-establish his credibility in the next two months with the House, with the American people or with our allies? No. I think he can hopefully not make it worse.”
Boehner has not said how Obama could restore trust among Republicans who have watched angrily as he has repeatedly delayed parts of the healthcare law without congressional approval. Aides say, however, that he could begin by working with GOP members on some of their other priorities, such as the Skills Act, which the House passed to overhaul federal job-training programs.
A House GOP leadership aide said Obama could also help his cause by publicly ruling out unilateral action to halt deportations and by promising to enforce any new immigration law fully in the way Congress intended.
“Would it be helpful? Yes. Will it be enough? No,” Diaz-Balart said.
President Barack Obama’s review of the nation’s deportation policies may result in changes to a contentious program that hands over people booked for local crimes to federal immigration authorities…
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, offering his first public hints at the outcome of the review he’s conducting at Obama’s behest, said Thursday that the so-called Secure Communities program needs a “fresh start.” He suggested it might be revamped to focus on people who actually have been convicted of crimes, not just those arrested or booked…
The program allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to run fingerprints of anyone booked for a local or state crime through a federal database for immigration violations. If there’s a match, ICE can ask local police and sheriffs to detain the person, and then decide whether to deport them.
On Monday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) suggested that until Congress passes sweeping amnesty legislation, “every institution in America” should find ways to ignore or work around federal immigration laws. He also said that President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action program was the first step in implementing more amnesty programs.
Testifying before a Senate Subcommittee hearing in Chicago on “Immigrant Enlistment” that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) chaired, Gutierrez said that “every institution in America, including our military, must work around the inability of our federal government and the U.S. House of Representatives to fix our immigration system.”
He also pushed the Navy and Marines to allow U.S. citizens who are married to illegal immigrants to enlist at a hearing in which Durbin called on the Pentagon to start enlisting DREAMers.
In a recent commentary, National Institute for Latino Policy President Angelo Falcón wrote, “Although immigration reform affects about 15 percent of the total Latino population, as a public policy issue it now occupies almost all the Latino policy agenda, sucking up, as one colleague recently put it, all the oxygen on Latino issues.”
Falcón questions whether the continued debate about the status of the undocumented population is a distraction from the needs of the much larger pool of Hispanics who are citizens. The Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project estimates that there are 11.7 undocumented migrants in the U.S. By comparison, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the overall U.S. Hispanic population is 53 million…
Still, Beltrán sees one significant by-product of the drawn-out immigration debate. “We now have a younger generation who has become politicized. They are savvy, skeptical, and optimistic all at the same time. I think this will have long-term consequences, because they have a sense of their own power.”
This “immigration generation” will someday turn their energy and focus to other issues, argues Beltrán. “These young people are participating in civil disobedience and so much activism in their 20s,” she said. “Imagine what they are going to be doing in their 40s – with law degrees!”
“Mr. Speaker, I give you George W. Bush, the man who will go down in history as the last Republican president in American history.”