A new immigration enforcement plan
President Trump unveiled a new immigration enforcement plan on Sunday, focusing on removing incentives for illegal immigration. The plan represents the most significant overhaul of the U.S. immigration system in more than 50 years.
While the plan does address removing those illegal immigrants already inside the U.S., the plan is perhaps more notable for its focus on removing the incentives that contribute to illegal immigration. The plan focuses on a number of key areas, including four distinct policies that are designed to discourage illegal immigration by closing loopholes in current immigration law, and creating additional deterrents to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S.
“These loopholes in current law create a dramatic pull factor for additional illegal immigration and in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the apprehensions of UACs at our southern border.” – White House statement
In a statement accompanying the plan, the administration said, “These loopholes in current law create a dramatic pull factor for additional illegal immigration and in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the apprehensions of UACs at our southern border.”
Enforcing Visa Expirations
According to the administration, approximately 40 percent of all illegal immigrants are people who entered the U.S. on a legitimate non-immigrant visa but failed to return to their home country when their visa expired. After a review of its Fiscal Year 2016 Entry/Exit report, the Department of Homeland Security determined that some 600k individuals entering the U.S. under a temporary visa failed to subsequently return home when their visa expired.
The Trump administration’s plan asks Congress to make overstaying a visa a misdemeanor offense, and to deny immigration benefits to anyone overstaying their visa.
Enforcing Employment Rules
President Trump is asking Congress to make the use of the e-Verify system mandatory for all U.S. employers. E=Verify is currently used by employers to check the work authorization status of prospective employees, but is currently used by only half of the nation’s employers.
President Trump’s plan also proposes to punish employers who defy federal employment law in order to hire illegal immigrants. The plan also includes a provision for redefining employment discrimination to include situations where businesses hire or import foreign workers instead of employing U.S. citizens.
Claims for asylum
While not the largest contributor of illegal immigration, illegal immigrants often raise claims under U.S. asylum laws in order to remain inside the U.S. Many times, asylum claims are frivolously raised solely for the purposes of delaying or avoiding deportation. Such claims can often take years to investigate, resulting in enormous costs and a drain on federal immigration resources. The White House plan seeks to “elevate the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews” and impose penalties on applicants who file “frivolous, baseless, or fraudulent asylum applications.”
Unaccompanied minors from countries other than Canada and Mexico are currently processed federal immigration judges, and then delivered to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. That agency then places the minor with a sponsor inside the U.S., often for years, until their case is heard by an immigration judge. In many cases, the sponsor themselves are persons in the U.S. illegally, awaiting their own immigration hearing. Nearly a third are subsequently “lost” within the system, never appearing at their later hearing. The policy of placing undocumented minors with sponsors within the U.S. thus encourages foreign families to send their children into the U.S. unaccompanied by an adult, knowing that they will be placed with a sponsor and permitted to remain within the country.