Reject Amnesty Proposals. Granting amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants in the United States would encourage yet more illegal immigration. In 1986, Congress granted a mass amnesty to nearly 3 million people living in the country illegally, and then failed to deliver on promised improvements in enforcement and border security. Instead of deterring illegal immigration, amnesty encouraged more people to come and stay illegally. With DACA ending, there will be renewed calls for comprehensive immigration reform, which historically has meant large-scale amnesties. Congress and the Administration must reject calls for amnesty and focus on measures to discourage migrants from illegally crossing into and staying in the U.S.
Focus on Enforcement at U.S. Borders. Beyond providing security at and beyond the borders, it is essential that the U.S. focus on the enforcement of U.S. immigration law. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should use expedited removal procedures to deport illegal border crossers who simply have no claim for staying in the United States. For those who cannot be removed through expedited removal, DHS should ensure that facilities exist at the border to support the various DHS immigration-related agencies, and the immigration courts in the Department of Justice. Rather than "catching" illegal border crossers and releasing them into the U.S., the cases of illegal border crossers should be heard and adjudicated as quickly as possible at the U.S. border in order to deter future waves of illegal immigration.
Strengthen Interior Enforcement Measures in the United States. To further deter illegal immigration, the U.S. must step up its enforcement actions against those who enter or remain in the U.S. illegally. This means allowing DHS's ICE officers to carry out their responsibilities without political restraints, something already begun by the Trump Administration and that is showing positive results in deterring illegal entry and residence. But Congress must also enhance enforcement of immigration laws. Congress should expand the 287(g) program, and should eliminate DHS and Justice Department funds to "sanctuary" localities that attempt to interfere with federal immigration enforcement.
Facts and Figures
FACT: Enforcement of immigration laws significantly declined under President Obama.
* In fiscal year (FY) 2016, DHS removed or returned 450,954 individuals to their home countries. In FY 2008, 1,171,058 enforcement actions occurred. The 2016 level is the lowest level of deportations since 1971.
* Most of those being deported were caught at the border, as ICE only deported 65,332 individuals from the U.S. interior in FY 2016. In 2010, ICE deported around 230,000 people from the interior of the U.S.
* The Obama Administration argued that its actions to limit immigration enforcement was driven by a lack of resources. But during this time period, resources for ICE and Customs and Border Protection did not decline, and often grew. The primary change was the new policies intended to weaken and minimize the enforcement of U.S. immigration law.
* President Trump has proved that stronger enforcement can better handle illegal immigration and deter future illegal migration. His executive order on illegal immigration, and DHS Secretary John Kelly's departmental actions, have already chilled illegal immigration: Border apprehensions for March of 2017 were 64 percent lower than March 2016.
FACT: Illegal immigration and amnesty impose heavy costs on American society.
* The number of illegal immigrants inside the U.S. now stands around 11 million, according to best estimates and polling.
* As of July 2015, 16 states have active legislation granting illegal immigrant students in-state tuition benefits: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. State university systems in Hawaii, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island have also created policies for providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.
* Amnesty for illegal immigrants could cost the U.S. trillions of dollars in net costs; on average, households with lower levels of education receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. In 2010, the average illegal-immigrant household received $14,387 more in benefits than it paid in taxes in 2010.