From the Folks Who Brought You Double Digit Increases in Your Health Care Premiums…

obamacare-rotator-720x480Heading into the final two weeks of the 2016 elections, the bombshell news is that health insurance premiums are set to spike next year. For those covered under the federally managed HealthCare.gov, the average increase will be 25 percent, with a ripple effect that is likely to affect everyone in the United States who has health insurance.

That’s not what was supposed to happen. The legislation that created this system was, after all, called the Affordable Care Act. The promise was that it would deliver quality health care to everyone at premiums people could afford. Very few people can afford a 25 percent increase, much less the 116 percent rate hike projected for some people who live in Arizona.

The next big government program that promises big benefits for everyone is the Gang of Eight immigration “reform” bill, version 2.0 (G8 2.0). That’s the one that promises to deliver amnesty for millions of “rigorously vetted” illegal aliens, millions more legal immigrants and guest workers, more prosperity for everyone, huge boosts to GDP, endless streams of revenue flowing into the Treasury, airtight borders, and every other good thing you can conjure up.

Many of the same members of Congress who were instrumental in getting the Affordable Care Act enacted, and who are still around, are gearing up for a big G8 2.0 push in 2017. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who, depending on what happens in the elections could be Senate Majority Leader come January, told CNBC that passing a massive amnesty bill would be the first item on his agenda.

Unlike the battle over Obamacare, Schumer is counting on the support of a significant number of Republicans to seal the deal on so-called immigration reform. Four of the original members of the Gang of Eight were Republicans and the bill cleared the Senate with a 68-32 majority.

The possibility of another serious effort to pass an immigration bill that allows Congress to claim credit for action now while sticking the American public with massive unintended consequences a few years down the road, falls squarely within parameters of what New York Times columnist Ross Douthat described as “the dangers of elite groupthink” that grips most major policy debates. “Almost every crisis that has come upon the West in the last 15 years has its roots in this establishmentarian type of folly,” he observed.

An almost unblemished record of being wrong about pretty much everything will in no way deter the ruling classes in Congress, the media, and in corporate board rooms from pushing full speed ahead with the next great folly: mass amnesty and unchecked immigration packaged as “reform” and “compromise.”

As was the case in 2013 and 2014, it will be up to the American public to push back.

Texas Congressman Seeks to Stop Naturalizations until DHS Fingerprint Repository is Updated

fingerprint_scan_rotator_640In response to a scathing report released last month by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG), Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) has introduced H.R. 6198. This commonsense bill would ensure that ineligible, potentially dangerous individuals are not granted citizenship while DHS works to fully digitize its fingerprint records.

Specifically, the IG revealed that at least 858 individuals were granted citizenship despite having a final deportation order under another identity. While the report does not reveal the names of the immigrants or the countries of origin, the IG said that they are all from countries that are of concern to the national security of the United States or have high rates of immigration fraud. The report found that this egregious mistake occurred because neither the digital fingerprint repository at DHS nor the repository at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) contains all old fingerprint records of individuals who were previously deported. The IG report further noted that approximately 148,000 fingerprint records of individuals from “special interest countries” who had final deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives have yet to be digitized.

At the recommendation of the IG, DHS has indicated that it is currently taking steps to digitize its fingerprint records. However, until the digitization of fingerprint records is complete, 148,000 individuals who are supposed to be deported could still be naturalized. In a time of heightened concern about terrorism, the risk posed by this possibility is far too great. In fact, the IG report identified that individuals who were naturalized mistakenly have even gone on to hold jobs in national security positions.

H.R. 6198 would prohibit United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from naturalizing any individual until the remaining paper-based fingerprint records are uploaded into the DHS digital fingerprint repository known as IDENT. Importantly, the bill would not prohibit those eligible from applying for naturalization or stop DHS from reviewing applications, even though the actual naturalization will be prevented until the fingerprint database is complete. The bill would also require DHS to refer cases to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for civil proceedings when they have knowledge that an individual was naturalized mistakenly. This provision ensures that any mistakes made by DHS can be swiftly corrected.

To learn more about the DHS IG report and this important piece of legislation, take a moment and listen to FAIR’s interview with Rep. Culberson:

As Number of Ineligible Individuals Granted Citizenship Doubles, Congressman Sessions Demands Answers

oath-hand-rotator-720x460Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Rules Committee, sent a letter to Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding answers about how government granted citizenship to ineligible individuals from terrorist hotbed countries. The issue first came to light early last week when the DHS Inspector General published a report revealing that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted U.S. citizenship to 858 individuals from special interest countries who had been previously ordered deported. Then, later last week it was uncovered that the total was closer to 1,800! While processing errors at USCIS have sadly become commonplace during the Obama administration, the Inspector General report is particularly alarming because the individuals incorrectly given U.S. citizenship are all from countries that “are of concern to the national security of the United States.”

In a press release issued along with his letter to Secretary Johnson, Rep. Sessions declared, “Last week’s disturbing report from the Office of the Inspector General shined light on the failure of this Administration to effectively enforce our immigration laws. It is completely unacceptable to fraudulently grant the rights and liberties that come with U.S. citizenship to 1,800 virtually unknown individuals…. This Administration’s glaring lack of judgment has made a mockery of our immigration system and jeopardized our national security.”

44 Senators Vote to Protect Criminal Aliens in the U.S., Their Constituents Should Ask them Why

SenateForty-four members of the United States Senate voted Wednesday to block “A bill to ensure that State and local law enforcement may cooperate with Federal officials to protect our communities from violent criminals and suspected terrorists who are illegally present in the United States.”

The bill introduced by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), known as the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S. 3100), failed to get the necessary 60 votes needed to bring it to the floor of the Senate for a straight up or down vote. The vote in the Senate to kill S. 3100 came one year after a seven-time convicted felon, Francisco Sanchez, killed Kate Steinle as she walked with her father along San Francisco’s waterfront. Sanchez was on that pier last July 1 precisely because of sort of dangerous sanctuary policies that are in place in San Francisco and many other jurisdictions around the country.

Here is the list of the 44 senators who killed the bill that might keep other innocent Americans from being killed by criminal aliens who roam the streets due to dangerous sanctuary policies. Perhaps their constituents should ask them why.

Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Boxer (D-CA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Coons (D-DE)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Markey (D-MA)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Peters (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

Effort to Deny Funding to Sanctuary Cities Fails for Unrelated Reason

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Prepares To Open To PublicLast week, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) introduced a FAIR-supported amendment to H.R. 5055, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, that would have denied federal funding to dangerous sanctuary city jurisdictions.

Specifically, the amendment prohibited the use of funds made available by the Act from being used to provide financial assistance to state or local jurisdictions that are not in compliance with federal law. 8 U.S.C. § 1373 prohibits sanctuary policies that impede cooperation between federal, state, and local officials when it comes to the sending, requesting, maintaining, or exchanging of information regarding immigration status. Under that provision, any federal, state, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from the federal government, information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.

The amendment was approved by a near-unanimous voice vote. However, the underlying bill ended up failing 305-112 due to an unrelated, controversial amendment offered by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.). House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said that after the House returns from this week’s recess, the Republican conference will have a discussion about how to best move forward.

While the energy and water bill may be shelved for the foreseeable future, there are still several opportunities for the House to take back its constitutional “power of the purse” by passing amendments to other appropriations bills in order to prevent funds from going to sanctuary city jurisdictions. In fact, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) is leading the charge along with 42 of his colleagues. In late March, the group submitted a request urging key appropriators to include language in their respective bills that prohibits federal funds from going to sanctuary cities. FAIR supports Rep. Gosar’s efforts and submitted a similar request on behalf the organization.

Sanctuary policies that impede the federal government’s ability to enforce immigration laws needlessly endanger American lives and all too often result in preventable tragedies. Simply, the 200+ jurisdictions that do not cooperate with the enforcement of federal immigration laws or refuse to honor federal immigration detainers should not receive any federal funding. By denying important funding whenever possible, the House can address a critical public safety problem and send a clear message to sanctuary city jurisdictions that their dangerous policies are unacceptable.