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The Gang of Eight Bill: Highlights and Howlers From 844 Pages

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The Senate Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S.744, or as I like to say – RubioCare – is an illusionary promise of future enforcement in exchange for amnesty that instantly rewards 12 million illegal aliens. The bill also includes a massive increase of guest workers who will compete for scarce jobs with millions of unemployed Americans. That’s outrageous enough, but we’ve run across several provisions that would shame even the sleaziest used car salesman. Caveat Emptor!


Border Security First, Amnesty Later. Oops, that’s Backwards
S.744 grants amnesty (called “registered provisional status”) to illegal aliens who came to the U.S. before 2012. The Gang of Eight claims the bill secures the border before that happens. But in truth, the Secretary of Homeland Security merely has to issue a plan to secure the border and possibly add more fencing, not actually do anything like, oh… maybe finish the fence. The Secretary has six months to submit the plan after the bill is enacted and at that point illegal aliens can instantly apply for amnesty.

Later, illegal aliens can adjust their status for a green card after the southern border strategy is in place, but not necessarily working or effective. Adding fencing is discretionary and the tracking system called for in the bill is only a shadow of what is already required by law.

The bill requires a 90% apprehension rate in “high risk” sectors. Based on FY2012 numbers, that’s only three of the nine Border Patrol sectors that run along the U.S.-Mexico border. The rest of the U.S.-Mexico border is left status quo. Illegal aliens, drug and human smugglers and terrorists will be smart enough to simply move their activities to non-enforcement areas whereas the Gang of Eight is evidently not smart enough to figure this out.

ICE Can Take a Long Vacation
The bill effectively halts deportations during the amnesty process by requiring all illegal aliens apprehended before or during the application process to be provided an opportunity to apply for RPI status. This means they cannot be removed until their application is adjudicated. The bill sets out a general 1-year application process deadline to begin six months after enactment, but the DHS Secretary has the authority to extend it for another year (effectively dragging the process out to 2.5 years, an even longer vacation for ICE.)


Out You Go – Sorry Come on Back
The bill allows previously deported illegal aliens to apply for amnesty if they are a spouse, parent, or child of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, or entered the country unlawfully before the age of 16 and meet additional criteria.

Let Bygones be Bygones
Illegal aliens receiving legal status will not only be saved from punishment for immigration violations, but also the crimes they committed along the way in order to live and work in the U.S. illegally. Identity theft and fraud are all forgiven under RubioCare. Additionally, an illegal alien may have up to 3 misdemeanor convictions and still receive legal status and the right to work in the U.S.

You and Your Kid Struggling to Pay College Costs Will Love This
The bill allows all states to offer in-state tuition to illegal aliens.

What Back Taxes?
A funny thing happened on the bill’s way to the Senate print shop. The term “back taxes” mysteriously disappeared from the text of the legislation. In actuality, illegal aliens will be responsible only for taxes assessed, not taxed owed and that’s a big difference.

The bill requires aliens to only pay taxes that the IRS has assessed at the time they apply for RPI status. So of course, if the IRS had no knowledge that the individual had been working here, there would obviously be no tax liability assessed and the alien has nothing to satisfy for the purpose of getting RPI status.


Gang of Eight Senator Flake confessed that it’s just too complicated to bother. “Getting back taxes is incredibly difficult, particularly when someone has paid into a fraudulent Social Security number.” The IRS doesn’t think it’s too “complicated” squeezing back taxes out of Americans, but I digress…

Worksite Verification
While promising mandatory E-Verify for all employers the bill actually repeals the laws authorizing E-Verify and creates a new system – that may or may not be E-Verify or even E-Verify-like. Moreover the new “System” does not require that employers verify the work authorization of existing employees, only new hires. But frankly it doesn’t make any difference because 7.5 million illegal aliens currently occupying jobs rightfully belonging to Americans are all going to apply for amnesty anyway.

Spread the Wealth Around to Obama’s Friends
The bill grants millions of dollars to public and private non-profit organizations to help illegal aliens submit amnesty applications and adjust status from RPI to green cards and then citizenship. The Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance" (IEACA) program will appropriate $100 million for the first five years to "eligible public or private, non-profit organizations” resulting in a lucrative slush fund for pro-amnesty groups like AILA, ACLU, and LaRaza as they assist in the process.


Let’s Not Take the Bill Language Too Literally
At last count, the Senate bill contains hundreds of waivers and exemptions at the disposal of the Secretary of Homeland Security. In essence, this would codify the authority the Obama administration has already unconstitutionally claimed to ignore laws passed by Congress – leading to an Executive Branch amnesty program, not an immigration plan duly passed by the United States Congress.


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