Immigration in the 2016 GOP Platform

On the first day of the GOP convention in Cleveland, the party released its official platform – a nonbinding document that serves as a guide for Republican policymaking at every level of government.

This year’s platform calls for an immigration system that serves the national interest of the United States, and contains strong stances on amnesty, interior enforcement, and border security.

While a more thorough analysis is forthcoming, FAIR has compiled sections of the platform that address immigration below.

The section “Immigration and the Rule of Law” in its entirety:

Our party is the natural home for those who come in search of freedom and justice. We welcome all to the Great Opportunity Party.

The greatest asset of the American economy is the American worker. Our immigration system must protect American working families and their wages, for citizens and legal immigrants alike, in a way that will improve the economy. Just as immigrant labor helped build our country in the past, today’s legal immigrants are making vital contributions in every aspect of national life. Their industry and commitment to American values strengthens our economy, enriches our culture, and enables us to better understand and more effectively compete with the rest of the world. We are particularly grateful to the thousands of new legal immigrants, many of them not yet citizens, who are serving in the Armed Forces and among first responders. Their patriotism should encourage all to embrace the newcomers legally among us, assist their journey to full citizenship, and help their communities avoid isolation from the mainstream of society. We are also thankful for the many legal immigrants who continue to contribute to American society. To that end, we both encourage the preservation of heritage tongues and support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the advancement of immigrant communities and our nation as a whole.

America’s immigration policy must serve the national interest of the United States, and the interests of American workers must be protected over the claims of foreign nationals seeking the same jobs. With all our fellow citizens, we have watched, in anger and disgust, the mocking of our immigration laws by a president who made himself superior to the will of the nation. We stand with the victims of his policies, especially the families of murdered innocents. Illegal immigration endangers everyone, exploits the taxpayers, and insults all who aspire to enter America legally. We oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by breaking the law, have disadvantaged those who have obeyed it. The executive amnesties of 2012 and 2014 are a direct violation of federal law and usurp the powers of Congress as outlined in Article I of the Constitution. These unlawful amnesties must be immediately rescinded by a Republican president. In a time of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified individuals in this country poses grave risks to the safety and sovereignty of the United States. Our highest priority, therefore, must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws.

That is why we support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. We insist upon workplace enforcement of verification systems so that more jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program — an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees — must be made mandatory nationwide. We reaffirm our endorsement of the SAVE program — Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements — to ensure that public funds are not given to persons not legally present in this country.

We demand tough penalties against those who engage in identity theft, deal in fraudulent documents, and traffic in human beings. The Department of Homeland Security must use its authority to keep dangerous aliens off our streets and to expedite expulsion of criminal aliens. Gang membership should be a deportable offense. Any previously deported illegal alien who continues to show a lack of respect for our borders and rule of law must be penalized. This is why we support stiffer penalties, such as a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, for any illegal alien who illegally re-enters our nation after already having been deported.

Because “sanctuary cities” violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, they should not be eligible for federal funding. Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is an affront to the rule of law and must be halted. In light of both current needs and historic practice, we urge the reform of our guest worker programs to eliminate fraud, improve efficiency and ensure they serve the national interest.

In light of the alarming levels of unemployment and underemployment in this country, it is indefensible to continue offering lawful permanent residence to more than one million foreign nationals every year. The Supreme Court has correctly recognized that states have the constitutional authority to take steps to reduce illegal immigration. We condemn the Obama Administration’s lawsuits against states that are seeking to reinforce federal law. We support the right of the states to enact laws deterring illegal aliens from residing within their states.

From its beginning, our country has been a haven of refuge and asylum. That should continue — but with major changes. Asylum should be limited to cases of political, ethnic or religious persecution. As the Director of the FBI has noted, it is not possible to vet fully all potential refugees. To ensure our national security, refugees who cannot be carefully vetted cannot be admitted to the country, especially those whose homelands have been the breeding grounds for terrorism.

An excerpt from the section “Confronting the Dangers”:

While immigration is addressed in more detail elsewhere, we cannot ignore the reality that border security is a national security issue, and that our nation’s immigration and refugee policies are placing Americans at risk. To keep our people safe, we must secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, and properly screen refugees and other immigrants entering from any country. In particular we must apply special scrutiny to those foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States from terror-sponsoring countries or from regions associated with Islamic terrorism. This was done successfully after September 11, 2001, under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which should be renewed now.

An excerpt from the section “The Tenth Amendment: Federalism as the Foundation of Personal Liberty”:

The Constitution gives the federal government very few powers, and they are specifically enumerated; the states and the people retain authority over all unenumerated powers. In obedience to that principle, we condemn the current Administration’s unconstitutional expansion into areas beyond those specifically enumerated, including bullying of state and local governments in matters ranging from voter identification (ID) laws to immigration…We pledge to restore the proper balance and vertical separation of powers between the federal government and state governments — the governments closest to, and most reflective of, the American people.

Immigration as a Campaign Issue

The soon-to-be-official presidential nomination of Donald Trump has provoked an outpouring of negative commentary by immigration boosters. It appears that there is likely to be a heated debate around immigration during the campaign. This offers a great learning opportunity for the public if it does not degenerate into emotional sound bites.

Often the discussion of the issue is misleading and, apparently, designed to confuse the public. An example is a July 18 discussion on the CNBC website entitled “The front line in a Trump immigration war: State economies.” ()

As the title implies, the discussion suggests that the economies of the states with the largest numbers of illegal aliens would suffer the greatest impact from a renewed enforcement of the nation’s immigration law by leading to deportations of illegal residents. It quotes a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas as saying, “”It’s very difficult to imagine the economy functioning without this workforce.”

That comment suggests that the official believes that the US. economy should be permanently dependent on the exploitation of unskilled, exploitable illegal alien workers. It also ignores the effect of a gradual reduction in the size of the illegal population through deportation and denial of jobs leading to higher wages that would attract unemployed and underemployed legal workers – some of them legal resident immigrants.

The CNBC article also demonstrates the difficulty of conducting a serious debate over the immigration issue. As soon as the prospect of a disruption of the economy from deportations was portrayed, the discussion changed gears to legal immigration. The article continued: “U.S. innovation can also get a boost from immigrant college graduates.” The implication is that the Trump immigration policy’s focus on enforcement would also curtail legal immigration. That is a completely fictitious implication.

It is abundantly clear that a major effort will be needed by FAIR and fair-minded analysts during the campaign to keep the pundits objective and honest in their commentary about the immigration issue in the presidential debate.  

With Pen and Phone Gone, Nothing Left but Mouth

penandphoneWhen the Supreme Court split 4-4 in US v. Texas on June 23, President Obama was dealt a setback. Gone was his claim to expansive – indeed limitless – power to give aliens benefits regardless of the law.  The injunction remains as the trial on the merits will now resume in a district court in Brownsville, Texas, where the Judge Andrew Hanen will continue his battle with refractory and obstructionist attorneys from the Department of Justice.

President Obama’s pen and phone were used to create new wholesale classifications of aliens who not only would never fear deportation, but would get jobs and benefits. The Supreme Court grabbed his Mont Blanc and iPhone, and left him with his bullhorn.

Stripped of Pen and Phone, Obama’s putting his mouth into overdrive. Yesterday we were treated with yet another boring lecture on how awful Americans are for wanting immigration controlled and borders enforced.

Speaking in Canada, Obama lectured: “We’ve had times throughout our history where anti-immigration sentiment is exploited by demagogues,” he said at a presser with foreign leaders outside the U.S. “America is a nation of immigrants. That’s our strength. Unless you are a Native American, somebody, somewhere in your past showed up from someplace else, and they didn’t always have papers.”

This sort of condescension – even while overseas — is now commonplace from Obama.  Blunt translation to the American people: “Sit down and be quiet.”

This is offensive. What kind of leader regularly demeans, attacks and criticizes the people he is supposed to represent in front of a foreign audience? Only a powerless one, reduced to lecturing out of frustration. Not since Jimmy Carter’s late-term lectures have we heard this sort of arrogance that demeans the honest and heart-felt feelings of the people.

If the president cannot bring himself to enforce the laws Congress and previous presidents have passed, then why did he take the oath in the first place? Sacrificing one’s moral and legal duty as chief executive in favor of degrading lectures, smears and excuses is no way to carry out the most basic duties of the office.

Why We Have Trump

VotingTo all Americans apoplectic about Donald Trump, one certainty surrounds his campaign: if the federal government put the rights of citizens above those of illegal immigrants and enforced our immigration laws over the past three decades, his campaign might never have gained momentum.

Trump first entered the contest railing against our mindless immigration policies. Though he used crass terms to describe the issue, he said what a lot of Americans believed. Obviously, the system is out of control: criminal illegal aliens are released into society only to commit more crimes, the flood of job-killing legal immigration continues and, 15 years after 9-11, the borders are still porous.

The state of our immigration policies is a national disgrace and too many Americans still don’t get it. Until Trump came along, liberal guilt and effective smear tactics from the open-borders crowd stifled debate and cowed Americans who are outraged with business-as-usual.

Immigration is now at the forefront of the election, as it should be. Of course, the Obama administration cannot take the full blame for angering Americans, though they have done everything possible to subvert enforcement of the country’s immigration laws by promoting sanctuary cities and handcuffing Border Patrol agents, among a long list of other lenient policies.

The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted amnesty to about 3 million aliens (and also promised increased border security and meaningful deterrents to employing illegal aliens) encouraged people from around the world to flout our laws. And despite grand promises from politicians, subsequent legislation under Republican and Democrat administrations did little to secure the border and control illegal immigration.

Since that time, as Republicans kowtow to business interests that seek cheap labor and Democrats cater to the ethnic lobbies, voter indignation has festered. Then along came Trump, who spun the issue into political gold.

In an age when our culture becomes more vapid by the day, of course Trump’s celebrity status gave him an edge. Being an outsider also helped, because many Americans are fed up with inside-the-Beltway politics. But, there’s no denying that ringing the immigration alarm bolstered his candidacy and galvanized voters. For this, the political parties can only blame themselves.

Stop the Library of Congress from Pandering to Pro-Amnesty Groups

FAIR Action AlertLast week, at the behest of pro-amnesty groups, the Library of Congress announced that “the heading ‘Illegal aliens’ will therefore be canceled and replaced by two headings, Noncitizens and unauthorized immigration, which may be assigned together to describe resources about people who illegally reside in the country.”

The Library of Congress’s decision is blatant capitulation to political correctness — replacing the correct term “illegal alien” with terms that are both factually and legally incorrect. The term “noncitizen” is overly broad and encompasses individuals who are legally entitled to be in the country, including legal permanent residents (green card holders) and guest workers. By contrast, illegal aliens have disregarded our immigration laws and reside in the country unlawfully.

Call Your Representative NOW!

The term “illegal alien” is the most legally precise, descriptive term in the lexicon. It delineates between one of only two possible categories; one either has legal status to be on U.S. soil or one is residing here illegally. “Illegal” means prohibited by law. Yes, entry without inspection into the U.S. is prohibited. And “alien” is a term that refers to a person who is not a citizen of the country. The term is well defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1101. It is used by legal professionals across the board including the United States Supreme Court.

Despite what the pro-amnesty groups claimed to the Library of Congress, there is nothing insulting or dehumanizing about using the term alien to indicate an individual is a non-citizen. Likewise, it is perfectly fitting to acknowledge that an alien who is residing illegally in the United States has broken the law. To identify someone as an “illegal alien” does not imply a value statement about the person’s humanity; it merely identifies the individual’s immigration status.

Simply, it is inappropriate for the Library of Congress to unilaterally replace accurate, legal terms with inaccurate, generalized terms in the name of political correctness. Therefore, FAIR is encouraging all of its members and activists to urge their representatives to co-sponsor Congresswoman Diane Black’s bill to stop this absurd decision and ensure the integrity of terminology used by the Library of Congress. The bill, H.R. 4926, explicitly requires the Library of Congress to continue using the terms “alien” and “illegal alien.”

Call Your Representative NOW!

Tell him or her:

  • You OPPOSE the Library of Congress’ decision to replace correct legal terms at the request of pro-amnesty groups.
  • You expect them to CO-SPONSOR H.R. 4926, which mandates continued use of “alien” and “illegal alien.”

Make your voice heard! To find your Representative, click here.