Immigrant Rights News -- Fri, Sept. 8, 2006
Immigrant Rights News -- Fri, Sept. 8, 2006
1. Christian Science Monitor, "As Congress stalls on immigration, a backlash brews"
2. Two from the Chicago Tribune:
A. "County measure would shield illegal immigrants"
B. "Feds turning up the heat: Immigrant son won't lose rights, U.S. says"
3. News 8 Austin, "Immigration activists try different approach"
4. Courier Post, "Immigration rally falls short"
5. San Francisco Chronicle, "House GOP to try again on immigration crackdown: Speaker sees chance to appeal to voters on hot-button issue"
6. Los Angeles Times, "House GOP Makes Border Security Its Priority"
7. Heritage Foundation, "Immigration Enforcement: A Better Idea for Returning Illegal Aliens [sic]"
Christian Science Monitor
September 08, 2006 edition
As Congress stalls on immigration, a backlash brews
By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Chicago activists marched 50 miles to House Speaker Dennis Hastert's house last weekend to protest congressional inaction over reforming immigration laws and what they say is his anti-immigrant stance. In Phoenix, protesters rallied at the state's Capitol, also to highlight the stalemate in Washington.
Bob Johnson is equally exercised. The structural engineer from Buffalo Grove, Ill., argues the other side of 2006's Great Immigration Debate - that the US needs to send home illegal immigrants and gain better control of its borders - but he says he cannot believe Congress is punting on immigration reform. He's been writing letters to his congressman and senators and says he may not vote in November or he may vote for a third-party or write-in candidate.
The decision by congressional leaders not to try to bridge the big gulf between the House and Senate versions of immigration reform, at least not before the November midterm elections, is touching off a backlash that may deliver a sting to some incumbent lawmakers.
How big the backlash grows may not be known until the day after the election, but it's surfacing in blogs, letters to the editor, and record-low approval ratings for Capitol Hill.
"When you have both Bob Novak and David Broder writing the same column about Congress's failure to act on immigration, you know something is wrong," says Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York, referring to two well-known columnists who typically have very different views. "People on both the right and left will see it as a huge failure" if Congress ends its term without a bill.
Certainly, many Americans are worked up over immigration. The issue sparked huge rallies and marches in the spring, and has been the subject of endless Lou Dobbs reports. Over the summer, House leaders held hearings on immigration all over the country.
But now, with inaction on the Hill, some businesses are mobilizing. A few national groups - like the Associated General Contractors of America - say they'll stop campaign contributions to lawmakers who take hard-line stances on immigration controls, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Texas Produce Association has said people may have to get used to an "outsourced" industry, with more growing done in Mexico, if Congress doesn't produce a bill.
"It's frustrating and troubling and bad for the country" that Congress hasn't taken action, says Ray Prewett, executive vice president of the Texas Vegetable Association. He adds that growers need at least a guest-worker program to enable them to harvest their crops. It angers him that Republicans in the House seem to have hardened in their opposition to compromise.
If the backlash to inaction proves to be a big one, it would probably hit Republican lawmakers, who control both houses of Congress, the hardest, observers say. Democrats hope to use that image of a "do-nothing" Congress under Republican leadership. But Republicans have presumably done the math and are calculating that voters who want a crackdown on illegal immigration would rather have no bill than a bill that offers any version of amnesty.
Still, experts see pitfalls for lawmakers. Congress "failed at crafting a Social Security plan that would sell. The same is true with immigration: It looks as if they can't tie their shoes," says David Mayhew, a political science professor and congressional scholar at Yale University. "This is a great prominent public issue, and it looked as if they were climbing up the hill earlier in the summer, but then couldn't make it and are going to do nothing."
Some activists are responding to the inaction with laws and proposals at the state and local level, mostly aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Towns like Riverside, N.J., and Arcadia, Wis., have followed the lead of other cities in proposing ordinances that take aim at everything from flying non-US flags to hiring illegal immigrants or restricting the number of people who can live in rental housing. In state legislatures, almost 550 bills concerning immigrants have been introduced this year, and 33 have been enacted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"It's a domino effect," says John Keeley, a spokesman for the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates restricting immigration. "Washington's at a stalemate, but the fact is there's large-scale illegal immigration, attendant crime, school overcrowding - all this stuff going on. At the state and local level, they don't have the luxury of filibustering."
Part of the impasse, say observers, has to do with the Republican Party's split stance on the issue.
"If they don't act, this has been their signature priority and the president's signature priority this year, and they look like idiots," says Norman Ornstein, a residential scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and coauthor of "The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track."
Advocates on both sides claim public-opinion majorities, with some pointing to polls showing that between two-thirds and three- quarters of the public favors a combination of enforcement and a path to citizenship. Others note that far more Americans think immigration should be decreased, than increased.
If fact, the security-only voices have been getting stronger, especially in some key districts, and many Republicans maintain they're better off with no bill than with a compromise involving some path to citizenship. And it's still possible that Congress will pass some smaller enforcement bills, increasing the resources for border security, in lieu of comprehensive reform.
But critics say that strategy is shortsighted and ignores the growing numbers of Latino voters.
"It seems to me like they're running an incredible risk," says Angela Kelley, deputy director of the National Immigration Forum, which favors reform more along the lines of the Senate's version. "It's unbelievable they would beat the drum on this issue for 18 months, have both chambers pass a bill, spend the summer doing hearings, and now say they aren't going to do anything.... They're going to have some 'splainin' to do."
County measure would shield illegal immigrants
By Oscar Avila
Tribune staff reporter
September 8, 2006
A resolution introduced Thursday would make Cook County a "sanctuary" for undocumented immigrants, meaning authorities could not inquire about their immigration status in routine interactions.
County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, the measure's sponsor, said he wants to prevent the county from joining a growing group of local jurisdictions that are cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security to enforce immigration laws.
If the measure passes, Maldonado said, sheriff's deputies could not ask for immigration papers during traffic stops and county employees could not report suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
Maldonado said he has no evidence that county officials are currently doing that.
The measure offers illegal immigrants no protection from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who are free to make arrests in the county. But Maldonado said the resolution is still important because turning county authorities into immigration agents would detract from their other duties.
Those who support sanctuary policies say they don't want to send illegal immigrants underground. Earlier this year, the Chicago City Council strengthened its sanctuary policy by turning a long-standing executive order into law.
But critics say sanctuary policies undermine law enforcement and let criminals go free when they might otherwise be arrested for immigration violations. Residents in Elgin and other suburbs have recently appealed to their elected officials to become more aggressive in assisting with immigration enforcement.
The County Board did not discuss the resolution Thursday. Maldonado said he hopes to have a public hearing on the measure before the Law Enforcement and Corrections Committee. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Feds turning up the heat
Immigrant son won't lose rights, U.S. says
By Oscar Avila
Tribune staff reporter
September 8, 2006
The U.S. government and Elvira Arellano's legal team escalated their skirmish Thursday over an unusual federal lawsuit contending that to deport the undocumented immigrant would violate her young son's rights.
Attorneys for 7-year-old Saul Arellano say his constitutional rights would be violated if he is forced to return to Mexico with his mother even though he is a U.S. citizen by birth.
Prosecutors detailed their counterarguments in a motion filed Thursday to dismiss the case, insisting that Saul would not lose legal rights by his mother's deportation.
Arellano has taken refuge in a Humboldt Park church since defying a government deportation order Aug. 15, creating a standoff that has generated international notoriety.
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve said Saul Arellano's lawsuit raises "novel issues." Normally, illegal immigrants contest their own deportation orders instead of having their U.S. citizen children become plaintiffs, experts say.
Legal observers and advocates on both sides of the immigration debate are closely watching the lawsuit, which could affect the 3.1 million U.S. citizen children with at least one parent living here illegally. Some say the lawsuit is a long shot but could have political benefits.
"The courtroom is only one arena in which this lawsuit is going to play out. There is also the political arena," said Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church, where Arellano has taken refuge.
Arellano, a well-known activist for undocumented immigrants, and the government have been in a stalemate since she took refuge at the church. Arellano said she is not leaving the church. Immigration officials say they don't plan to enter the church to get her even though she is a fugitive.
For now, Arellano's hopes rest on Saul, who had already taken center stage at sympathetic rallies, quietly playing with a Spiderman action figure or a TV microphone cord.
Arellano said she does not want to take Saul to Mexico because she fears that he will return to the United States as she did: with no knowledge of English and little formal education. Arellano said she has never seriously considered leaving her son behind either.
Federal prosecutors, in their court filings Thursday, said allowing Arellano to stay in the U.S. because of her son would grant her a benefit that Congress never intended. They implied that Arellano was hypocritical in turning to the court after ignoring the government's orders.
"Ms. Arellano should not be permitted to ignore the law and yet use the law through the means of a legal fiction by challenging the order through her son," prosecutors argued.
Prosecutors said they considered but rejected a plan to grant Arellano a temporary stay of deportation while her son's case is heard.
Joseph Mathews, attorney for Saul, said Arellano had been willing to wear an ankle bracelet or observe a curfew if she could be protected from deportation while the case is heard.
"I am disappointed in [the government's] decision, but I understand it," Mathews said. "They have a job to do, and they are doing it."
Prosecutors said legal precedents work against Arellano, and many experts tended to agree.
David Martin, a law professor at the University of Virginia and former counsel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said he would be surprised if a judge agrees with the boy's claim.
"Some people's knee-jerk reaction is that you can't force a U.S.-citizen child to live somewhere else," Martin said. "This isn't really forcing him. Technically, they aren't deporting the child."
Muzaffar Chishti, director of the non-profit Migration Policy Institute's office at New York University School of Law, agreed that Saul's rights would be violated only if the government was ordering him to leave. In this case, Arellano is choosing to take him to Mexico rather than leave him in the U.S. with a guardian.
"It's a tragic human case but not a very compelling legal issue," Chishti said.
Even if Arellano's strategy doesn't hold up in court, some legal observers think her lawsuit could have political value in publicizing the situations of families like hers.
"This reflects the fact that our immigration laws are not accomplishing what they set out to, which is family unification," said Mary Meg McCarthy, director of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center.
Critics say Arellano's rhetoric and legal tactics show how cynically many illegal immigrants use their U.S. citizen children as protection from their lawbreaking.
For some illegal immigrants, their children could eventually provide a legal window. When the children turn 21, they can petition for legal status for their parents living here illegally although the process is not easy.
Those children gained U.S. citizenship through the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868 mainly to reverse pre-Civil War legal barriers against African-Americans. The amendment states that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."
A growing number of congressmen want to strip the citizenship rights of the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) sponsored a bill last year to change the practice and received nearly 100 co-sponsors, almost all Republicans.
News 8 Austin
Immigration activists try different approach
Updated: 9/7/2006 10:44:52 PM
By: Bob Robuck
More than 200 immigrant rights activists gathered at the Texas Capitol Thursday for a different kind of rally. Instead of protesting immigration laws, they honored people they say are victims of immigration laws.
The approach is meant to breathe new life in an issue some activists believe is losing steam.
"We wanted to bring it back to the actual people, to being human, to say that no human is illegal. We all have a right to be here. We're supporting all immigrants," said activist Silky Shah.
With hopes dwindling for broad immigration reform, protestors now focus on the human toll that's resulted from crackdowns on undocumented workers.
"I think the present immigration laws divide people and families, and we are against that," Josefina Castillo said.
Their hope is to put a new face on the immigration issue; one that shows the pain of first-hand experience with detention, deportation and death.
"There were three people crossing the border in Arizona, and because of Arizona and the situation there and the heat, two of the people died and one of the people had blisters all over his feet," Shah said.
Thousands also gathered at the nation's capital for continued protests in favor of immigrant rights. Both rallies were part of a series of protests going on all over the nation this month.
Courier Post (New Jersey)
Immigration rally falls short
By TERESA SICARD ARCHAMBEAULT
The rally, organized by IMPACT, a pro-immigrant organization, called on immigrants and those sympathetic to their cause to make their voices heard.
The sparsely attended rally fell far short of expectations.
Some recognized that there has been a growing frustration with the lack of progress on immigration reform over the summer. Maria Juega, chairwoman of the Latin American Legal Defense Association, said she fears that the "people may have lost faith in the process."
Luis Talesca of C.A.T.A., an immigrant farmworker organization, said that it was still important that "we get together and not to lose faith."
Laura Rodriguez, another member of C.A.T.A., said, "Today, with our presence here, we want it to be recognized that although we may be undocumented, that we contribute to this country and its economy."
Congressional Republicans have said that their focus in the last session before the election cycle will be on terrorism and Iraq. Political analysts have posited that this may indicate that immigration is too hot a political potato to handle before the November elections.
Ryan Stark Lilienthal, a New Jersey immigration attorney, told the crowd, "It is important to remind U.S. citizens that you are the future of this country."
The crowd chanted, El pueblo callado jamas sera escuchado! (The people who keep quiet are never heard).
Gary Christopher, chairman of the planning board in Riverside, where an ordinance cracking down on illegal immigrants was recently passed, said he supports the ordinance. He said he understands why immigrants may want to come to the township and the country, but when they do it illegally they strain public resources, he said.
"This would not have come to a head if any of the Latino community leaders would have toed the line," said Christopher, 58, a medical librarian at a Pennsylvania hospital. "We had 20 guys living in one house, streets filled with trash and neighborhoods in which every third car had Pennsylvania plates."
Christopher said illegal immigrants made an already crowded town unmanageable. He said he regrets that the debate about the township ordinance has attracted public acts of intolerance, such as some protesters flying Confederate flags. But he defended the right of local officials to act.
"If the federal government fails to protect life, liberty and pursuit of happiness does everyone have to lie down and take it?" he asked.
Staff writer Bill Duhart contributed to this report. Reach Teresa Sicard Archambeault at (856) 486-2917 or email@example.com
San Francisco Chronicle
House GOP to try again on immigration crackdown
Speaker sees chance to appeal to voters on hot-button issue
- Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Friday, September 8, 2006
(09-08) 04:00 PDT Washington -- House Republicans, who have campaigned hard against illegal immigration with few legislative accomplishments to show for it, announced Thursday they would try to cobble together a package of border crackdown measures before their recess next month.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he would convene an unusual forum Wednesday in which Republican committee chairmen would report their findings from immigration hearings held around the country this summer and suggest proposals such as the creation of voter identification cards that the House would try to pass before Congress adjourns.
"It won't be the whole 95 tons of what we've tried to work between the House and Senate, but we will try to get some things done," Hastert, R-Ill., said, emphasizing that the measures would be passed quickly by his house -- although their fate in the Senate is uncertain.
Republicans have made illegal immigration a linchpin to preserving their threatened House majority in the November midterm elections, seeing it as one of the few issues that may work in their favor. Yet after insisting the issue is a crisis, House Republicans can't show voters they've addressed the issue because of an impasse with fellow Republicans in the Senate.
The two chambers have been at loggerheads since the spring, when the Senate passed a bill with broad support from the minority Democrats that contrasted sharply with a House-approved bill.
The Senate's bill would greatly expand legal immigration, particularly by providing a way for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the country to become legal residents.
The House bill passed last December would make illegal presence in the country a felony and build a 700-mile fence on the Mexican border. It sparked large immigrant protests.
Instead of trying to reach a compromise with the Senate, House Republican leaders held more than a dozen hearings across the country ripping the Senate bill as a Democratic amnesty measure they promised never to support.
The chance of passing major legislation has been doomed for months. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee acknowledged the obvious Wednesday, when he said it would be next to impossible to pass a major immigration overhaul before Congress adjourns.
The plan Hastert announced Thursday followed a meeting among President Bush and Republican House and Senate leaders. Bush supports the Senate approach but has almost no political leverage to rein in House Republicans. The administration in recent weeks has been touting its efforts to tighten the border, including sending 6,000 National Guard troops to back up the Border Patrol.
Hastert said discussions continue with the Senate but "in the meantime ... there are things we can do right now."
House Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio outlined interim measures the House could push through in the next month, such as increasing the number of Border Patrol agents, adding fencing and surveillance along the border and granting greater authority to state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws. The GOP leaders suggested several of these measures could be attached to spending bills expected to move in the next month.
For example, the Senate passed an amendment by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., adding $1.8 billion to the military appropriations bill to pay for 370 miles of triple fencing and 461 miles of vehicle barriers on the border.
"We believe that solving this problem is important and the American people expect us to solve it," Boehner said.
E-mail Carolyn Lochhead at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Los Angeles Times
House GOP Makes Border Security Its Priority
Plans for a hearing next week indicate that work on a larger immigration overhaul will have to wait until after midterm elections in November.
By Nicole Gaouette
Times Staff Writer
September 8, 2006
WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders announced Thursday that rather than negotiate the type of sweeping overhaul of immigration law that President Bush had called for, they instead would hold an unusual hearing next week to help fashion a tightly focused "border security package."
The decision effectively ends any chance that Congress will pass legislation addressing the status of millions of illegal immigrants before November's midterm congressional elections.
It also adds another act to the House's summerlong series of immigration "field hearings" around the country, which critics said were meant less to solicit public input than to promote the get-tough approach to immigration favored by conservative lawmakers.
At next week's session, various House Republicans will testify to their leaders about lessons learned in those hearings and measures that could be included in the border security effort.
"We will quickly do border security legislation before we leave" for Congress' preelection recess, said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). "Congress can't wait to act on this issue. The border is a sieve. We're at war, and we certainly need to act like we are at war and close our borders."
The announcement came as a few thousand immigrants and their supporters demonstrated on the National Mall to demand legalization for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
House Republicans have announced that they will concentrate on national security for the rest of this session, before an election in which many Republican seats are at risk.
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said the border security initiative would provide more border patrol agents, add fencing and surveillance along the southern border, and toughen the enforcement of immigration laws inside the country.
Republican aides said enhanced enforcement efforts could include giving state and local officials greater authority to enforce immigration laws. Hastert said measures could include tamper-proof Social Security cards.
"The House leadership is committed to sending legislation to the president's desk before Oct. 1," Blunt said.
House and Senate leaders met with Bush on Wednesday to discuss the fall agenda, and Blunt said the administration would issue its own series of proposals related to border security in the next few days.
In December, the House passed a bill focused on enforcement of immigration laws and border security, but there has been no progress since the Senate passed its bill in late May. The Senate legislation includes steps to improve enforcement, a guest worker program and a way for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship — elements that Bush has called for but which the House has adamantly rejected.
On Thursday, Hastert said that discussions were continuing with the Senate but that House leaders had no intention of considering measures beyond security.
"Before you have a guest worker program or any other program, you have to heal the wound," he said, referring to the border with Mexico. "There are nuggets of things we can do. It won't be the whole 95 tons of what we'd been trying to work out between the House and Senate, but we can get some things done."
Supporters of the Senate bill criticized the House announcement.
"Security alone cannot fix the problem of illegal immigration," said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), who backs the Senate bill. "If we do enforcement without anything else, crops in the field will be rotting, nothing will be picked and the problems will ripple throughout the entire economy."
At the immigration rally, less than a mile from the Capitol, speakers promised the crowd of immigrants and activists that the fight for a broad overhaul was far from lost.
Gina Jean, a 20-year-old Haitian American from Brooklyn, clutched a Haitian flag and a sign urging bilingual education and English classes for recent immigrants.
"I see suffering people are trying to gain their rights, but people don't want to hear what we have to say," she said.
Separately, the Senate on Thursday passed a $470-billion defense spending bill for fiscal 2007 that includes $1.8 billion for the National Guard to install 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers along the southern border.
The Senate bill will have to be reconciled with the $428-billion defense spending bill the House passed in June.
Times staff writer Moises Mendoza contributed to this report.
Immigration Enforcement: A Better Idea for Returning Illegal Aliens
by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
Executive Memorandum #1011
September 7, 2006
By some estimates, more than 15 million individuals are unlawfully present in the United States. If the U.S. government actually succeeds in appreciably reducing illegal border crossings on the border with Mexico, the number of people unlawfully present in the United States could actually rise significantly. No voice in the immigration debate—on the right or on the left—believes as a practical matter that millions of immigration violators can be detained and deported in short order. Before implementing comprehensive immigration and border security reform, Congress needs a realistic answer to solve what will be a very real and significant problem.
Getting immigration and border security right will require a quick and efficient means of getting large numbers of illegal aliens to return voluntarily to their home countries. Indeed, if reforms are conceived and implemented correctly, many of these millions will want to leave so that they can seek the opportunity to return for lawful employment. The best solution would be for Congress to establish a privately funded national trust fund that legitimate nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) could use to help unlawfully present persons to return to their places of origin.
The Border Security Paradox. Much of the debate over immigration and border security has focused on sealing the southern border with gates and guards, with little regard to the implications of these policies. According to a study by Dr. Manuela Angelucci, an economist at the University of Arizona, each additional Border Patrol agent hired will stop roughly 771 to 1,621 illegal border crossings annually. This sounds impressive, but hundreds of thousands of people cross the border illegally every year.
However, reduced border crossings is only half of the story. Studies find that each additional agent hired encourages roughly 831 to 1,966 illegal immigrants already in the United States to stay here for fear of being caught at the border if they try to return home. “The effect of an additional agent,” concluded Dr. David Muhlhausen, who reviewed the academic studies in a report for The Heritage Foundation, “is unclear, possibly resulting in a net reduction of 503 individuals or a net increase of 995 individuals residing in the United States illegally.”
If this research is correct, Congress is pushing for a solution that could make the problem worse.
The congressional focus on manpower and fences ignores another key fact: About half of the illegal immigrants currently in the United States came here legally and then overstayed their visas. Border security cannot stop this type of illegal immigration. Furthermore, as the border is made more secure, this type of visa abuse and trafficking in phony visas and other identity documents is likely to increase exponentially.
This is the paradox: Heightened border security could produce a net increase in the number of people illegally present in the United States. Furthermore, better workplace enforcement will deny more undocumented workers jobs, leaving millions of unemployed illegal aliens trapped in the United States behind secure borders.
A Better Answer. The simplest “answer” to this problem is to give amnesty to people already unlawfully present in the United States. Along this line, the Senate’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) would allow most of the millions of illegal immigrants, who have broken U.S. immigration laws, to remain in the United States. However, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 has already demonstrated that amnesty does not work, largely because it encourages further lawbreaking. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act, 2.7 million undocumented workers received amnesty. Predictably, over the next 20 years, the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. exploded to about five times that number.
On the other hand, if the United States had reasonably secure borders and reasonable legal opportunities to get visas, green cards, and access to a common-sense temporary worker program, many of those unlawfully present would leave willingly so that they could return to live and work here legally. To help them, the Congress should establish a National Trust for Voluntary Return—a program to help illegal aliens return voluntarily to their home countries.
Essentially, the National Trust for Voluntary Return should be a privately run, community-based volunteer program. It makes no sense to try to turn the federal government into a travel agency or to saddle American taxpayers with the burden of helping lawbreakers to make amends. In contrast, many nongovernmental groups have a serious interest in helping at-risk undocumented populations in their communities. Immigrant rights and faith-based organizations and other civil groups and individuals would donate money out of humanitarian concern. Business coalitions would enthusiastically support such a program as a way to get the workers that they need. Individuals interested in a strong civil society would donate funds because it would help to reduce the unlawfully present population in the United States.
The National Trust for Voluntary Return fund should be:
Administered by a private commission with government oversight,
Funded by private donations, and
Drawn on by accredited NGOs that would use the funds to assist individuals to return voluntarily to their places of origin.
Finally, individuals participating in the program should be required to register with US-VISIT before they exit.
A Needed Initiative. Border security and immigration law enforcement efforts should be backed by measures that will help to make implementing these laws practical and effective. The National Trust for Voluntary Return is a necessary measure, but also one that is missing from the current legislation being considered by Congress.
James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow for National Security and Homeland Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.
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