N. RAPPAPORT IN THE HILL: DEMS’ DREAMER BILL OFFERS FALSE HOPE!

Nolan writes:

“Late last month, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), introduced the American Hope Act, H.R. 3591, with 116 co-sponsors, all Democrats.

The bill would provide conditional permanent resident status for undocumented aliens who were brought to the U.S. before their 18th birthday, which would permit them to live and work here legally for three years and put them on a path to Legal Permanent Resident status and citizenship.

Such bills are referred to as “DREAM Acts,” an acronym for “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.”

It might be more accurate, however, to call this bill “The False Hope Act.”

Bills to provide lawful status for undocumented aliens who were brought here as children have been pending in Congress since 2001, and we are yet to see one enacted legislatively, rather than by executive action.  And this one was introduced by Democrats in a Republican-controlled Congress.  Moreover, it is out of step with President Donald Trump’s policies on legal immigration.

. . . .

Why hasn’t a DREAM Act bill been enacted?  

No one knows for sure.  I think it is due mainly to the fact that the number of undocumented aliens who would benefit from such legislation could get quite large.  Also, the fact that they are innocent of wrongdoing with respect to being here unlawfully does not make it in our national interest to let them stay.  This is particularly problematic with respect to the American Hope Act.  Section 4 of this bill includes a waiver that applies to some serious criminal exclusion grounds.

Although estimates for the number of undocumented aliens who could be impacted are not available yet for the American Hope Act, they are available for similar bills that were introduced this year, the Recognizing America’s Children Act, H.R. 1468, and the Dream Act of 2017, S. 1615.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that potentially 2,504,000 aliens would be able to meet the minimum age at arrival and years of residence thresholds for the House bill and 3,338,000 for the Senate bill.  However, some of them would need to complete educational requirements before they could apply.

Trump is supporting a revised version of the RAISE Act which would reduce the annual number of legal immigrants from one million to 500,000 over the next decade.  It does not seem likely therefore that he will be receptive to a program that would make a very substantial increase in the number of legal immigrants.

Not merit-based.

The American Hope Act would treat all immigrant youth who were brought here as children the same, regardless of educational level, military service, or work history.  Gutiérrez said in a press release, “We are not picking good immigrants versus bad immigrants or deserving versus undeserving, we are working to defend those who live among us and should have a place in our society.”

This is inconsistent with the skills-based point system in the revised version of the RAISE Act that Trump is supporting.  It would prioritize immigrants who are most likely to succeed in the United States and expand the economy.  Points would be based on factors such as education, English-language ability, age, and achievements.

Thus, Democrats’ American Hope Act as presently written is very likely to suffer the same fate as the other DREAM Acts.

Success requires a fresh, new approach, and the approach taken by the revised RAISE Act might work by basing eligibility on national interest instead of on a desire to help the immigrants.  Certainly, it would be more likely to get Trump’s support.”

***************************************************

Read Nolan’s complete article over at The Hill on the above link.

I agree with Nolan insofar as any immigration bill sponsored by
Democrats at present is DOA. On the other hand, I doubt that the RAISE Act will pass either. There aren’t enough votes in the GOP caucus to pass any type of meaningful immigration reform without some help from the Democrats.

So, it doesn’t hurt for the Democrats to start laying down some specific “markers” for some future negotiations on immigration reform. Also, while it might not happen in my liftetime, history suggests that the Democrats are no more permanently “dead” as a party than the GOP was after the first Obama election and Democratic surge into power in the Executive and Legislative Branches.

The last time Democrats were in power, the Latino/Hispanic voters who had helped put them there were treated as largely non-existent. Indeed, the Obama Administration ran the U.S. Immigration Courts largely as if they were an extension of the Bush Administration, giving the advocacy community the cold shoulder, enacting zero reforms, and pitching a “near shutout” on outside appointments to the Immigration Court and the BIA over which they had total control.

The next time Democrats come into power, it would be wise of the groups that will help put them there to insist on the types of specific reforms and improvements that the Democrats are now articulating in “can’t pass” legislative proposals. And, in addition to doing something for Dreamers and other migrants who are contributing to our society, meaningful Immigration Court reform to remove it from Executive Branch control needs to be high on the list. Realistically, that’s probably going to require some bipartisan cooperation, participation, and support.

I also disagree with Nolan’s suggestion that it would not be in the national interest to let “Dreamers” stay. Of course, it would be strongly in our national interest to fully incorporate these fine young folks into our society so that they could achieve their full potential and we could get the full benefit of their talents, skills, and courage.

I had a steady stream of DACA applicants coming through my court in Arlington. Sure, some of them had problems, and DHS did a good job of weeding those folks out and/or revoking status if problems arose. But, the overwhelming majority were fine young people who either already were making significant contributions to our society or who were well positioned to do so in the future. Indeed, they were indistinguishable from their siblings and classsmates who had the good fortune to be born in the U.S., except perhaps that they often had to work a little harder and show a little more drive to overcome some of the inaccurate negative stereotypes about undocumented migrants and some of the disabilities imposed on them.

PWS

08-07-17

8 thoughts on “N. RAPPAPORT IN THE HILL: DEMS’ DREAMER BILL OFFERS FALSE HOPE!”

  1. Paul justifies the completely unrealistic American Hope Act with the observation that we can’t get an immigration bill through now, “So, it doesn’t hurt for the Democrats to start laying down some specific “markers” for some future negotiations on immigration reform.

    Really? It has been more than 30 years since last legalization program was enacted, IRCA in 1986. Isn’t it more appropriate now to try a new approach? One that might succeed. See my article, It is time to try a different approach to comprehensive immigration reform.
    http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?3087-Article-It-is-time-to-try-a-different-approach-to-comprehensive-immigration-reform-By-Nolan-Rappaport

    Paul also says, “I also disagree with Nolan’s suggestion that it would not be in the national interest to let “Dreamers” stay.”

    Actually, that’s not what I said. I said, “the fact that they are innocent of wrongdoing with respect to being here unlawfully does not make it in our national interest to let them stay.”

    That’s not the same as saying that they aren’t worth keeping here. As Paul points out, it’s a mixed bag, some bad, most good, or however it breaks down.

    1. Thanks for the clarification, Nolan. Sorry if I misinterpreted what you were saying.

      On immigration reform, enforcement heavy approaches that cut legal immigration aren’t going to work. I agree with David Bier’s conclusion which I posted earlier today:
      “Rather than cutting immigration, Congress should raise the employment-based quotas, which it has not adjusted since 1990 — when the United States had some 77 million fewer people and the economy was half the size it is now. A smart reform would double green cards and peg future work visas to economic growth, responding to market forces rather than political whims.

      Smart reforms, however, require that Congress first understand the basic facts: America has not seen a deluge of immigration. Low-skilled American-born workers have not faced more competition for jobs. Other countries accept more immigrants per capita. Until these facts penetrate the halls of the Capitol, the immigration debate will continue to be mired in ignorant proposals like this.”

      See http://immigrationcourtside.com/2017/08/07/catos-david-j-bier-in-the-nyt-ignorance-is-not-bliss-particularly-when-it-comes-to-pushing-misguided-immigration-schemes/

      Best,
      P

      1. David Bier’s comments illustrate why democratic bills are failing. He says, “Smart reforms, however, require that Congress first understand the basic facts:”

        No, smart reforms require an understanding of how the legislative process works and knowing how to influence it.

        The democrats are not going to get republican support by lecturing them about basic facts or market forces to save them from being “mired in ignorant proposals.” Congressmen base their decisions on political needs, not on basic facts. And you can’t change that reality by calling these needs “whims.”

        And, as I try to explain in my article, the democrats should stop giving false hope to desperate immigrants the way they are with the American Hope Act. They deserve better from the people who are supposed to be helping them.

  2. So, why would buying into a false GOP narrative be a better solution than speaking truth? That’s certainly not to say that if the GOP ever comes around to some type of reasonable immigration compromise, the Dems should not be interested. Half a loaf is better than none. But, the RAISE Act is an indication of just how far from reality the GOP has drifted. Currently, the Dems are essentially powerless. So, it’s the inability of folks like Perdue, Cotton, Trump, and Sessions to sell their own colleagues on the White Nationalist/Trash America agenda that’s the roadblock to enactment of these bad proposals. On the other hand, I expect that without the McConnell/Ryan/Trump “freeze out the opposition” strategy, the Democrats and some Republicans could come up with some viable proposals that would at least make progress, rather than regress. But, unfortunately, it’s unlikely to happen in today’s polarized climate.
    Best,
    P

    1. Paul Says, “So, why would buying into a false GOP narrative be a better solution than speaking truth? That’s certainly not to say that if the GOP ever comes around to some type of reasonable immigration compromise, the Dems should not be interested. Half a loaf is better than none.”

      You sound like a religious zealot. The legislative process isn’t based on determining who is telling the truth. Did you see a lie detector in your congressman’s office the last time you visited him/her?

      I don’t even know what the truth would be when it comes to evaluating immigration policy. You want to give lawful status to every undocumented alien in the US who has not been convicted of a serious crime. The republicans see them as illegal aliens and want them all deported. Which is “the truth”? Which is “reasonable”? I don’t know, but it’s worth noting that the GOP is following the law. That should be worth something, shouldn’t it?

      And you are waiting for the GOP to offer a reasonable compromise? Why would they even consider compromising with a party that sees their own views as “the truth” and rejects the GOP’s views as unreasonable?

      “But, the RAISE Act is an indication of just how far from reality the GOP has drifted.”

      The RAISE Act would eliminate some family visa categories and base employment-based immigrant visas on a point system like the ones used in Canada and Australia. How is that drifting away from reality? Are you basing that comment on some “truth” that the GOP doesn’t know about, or what? And more importantly, why aren’t you suggesting some changes to bring the bill more in line with your “truth” instead of just rejecting it.

      Democracy can’t work if the democrats reject bills with a negative comment and walk away.

      “Currently, the Dems are essentially powerless.”

      Only because they won’t compromise. The republicans can push bills through the house if they aren’t too controversial, but they need help from the democrats to get bills through the senate. In fact, they went home to an August recess of angry meetings with their constituents because they aren’t accomplishing anything. That gives the dems tremendous bargaining power.

      “So, it’s the inability of folks like Perdue, Cotton, Trump, and Sessions to sell their own colleagues on the White Nationalist/Trash America agenda that’s the roadblock to enactment of these bad proposals.”

      How receptive would you be to negotiating with people who describe the bills you support in such an insulting way? It’s not just you. I think many democrats feel that way. That’s fine if you are okay with the fact that more than 30 years has passed since the last legalization program was established by IRCA of 1986.

      1. No, the Dems have been cut out of the process by the GOP and Trump. They actually need some Dem votes to get things done. But, they aren’t for the most part willing to work across the isle.

        I’m not negotiating anything. I’m just a retired judge with a blog. But, I do know quite a bit about the immigration system.

        Nolan, you keep ignoring the basis for real immigration reform — more, not less legal immigration. Whenever the GOP wants to abandon the White Nationalist agenda there are probably lots of potential areas of agreement.

        I’m not insulting anyone; just stating facts. It’s misguided proposals like the RAISE Act that are insulting. When studies show that bilingual individuals are better positioned for success in life and business, why would we overemphasize speaking English on arrival? Folks can learn, given the chance. And when the do, they are doing something that neither most of my contempories nor I were able to achieve.

        You just keep proving Bier’s point over and over:

        “Rather than cutting immigration, Congress should raise the employment-based quotas, which it has not adjusted since 1990 — when the United States had some 77 million fewer people and the economy was half the size it is now. A smart reform would double green cards and peg future work visas to economic growth, responding to market forces rather than political whims.

        Smart reforms, however, require that Congress first understand the basic facts: America has not seen a deluge of immigration. Low-skilled American-born workers have not faced more competition for jobs. Other countries accept more immigrants per capita. Until these facts penetrate the halls of the Capitol, the immigration debate will continue to be mired in ignorant proposals like this.”

        As long as the GOP and Trump base reform efforts on a false White Nationalist narrative, immigration reform isn’t going to happen. The GOP wasn’t always the party of White Nationalism and obstruction. They have changed.

        I also agree with Gus. As with African Americans and Asian Americans, America has been built on the backs, smarts. and hard labor of Latinos. Indeed, the industry of migrants of all kinds, both documented and undocumented, has totally rebuilt, transformed, and improved Northern Virginia where we live. And, it wasn’t necessarily all “legal migrants” or in the case of African Americans “voluntary migrants” that have made America great. Time to recognize the contributions of migrants of all kinds and statuses, to increase legal immigration to realistic levels driven by market forces not nationalist bias, and to move forward together as a nation.

        Anytime the GOP or Trump want to get on that page, I’m sure they will find Dems willing to listen.

        Best,

        P

  3. Perhaps playing the Latino ethnocentric, let me make the devil advocate’s case why the English extra points is so offensive to Latinos.

    Hispanics came here 500 years ago, speaking Spanish, stayed, and the USA areas where Latino US citizens predominate, Spanish is still their 1st language, although of course, the most successful are equally bilingual.

    What if the immigrant was heading to parts of the USA where Spanish is prevalent and has been present since the 1500s, i.e. Puerto Rico (US territory-natives US Citizens per Act of Congress.

    Or cities like Miami, now a major Hemisphere banking center. Every Western Hemisphere Bank chain has either its #2, or no less than #3 bank office in the world because the availability of high quality American banking standards staffed by bilingual personnel is a most desirable asset. Or San Antonio or Houston, both rising world class USA metropolis?
    And after all, giving Chinese and English bilingual immigrants extra credit is a similarly valuable skill set. Most Americans living in San Francisco, Seattle and LA, etc, agree.

    But I’ll play only the Latino Devil’s Advocate. My Asian American friends can write their own spiel.

    Should we give immigrants who speak both English and Spanish even higher ranking than people who only speak English?

    I get it. English speaking and writing is the way to get ahead in the USA. Look at me. My kids speak minimal Spanish.
    But in theory the purpose of the RAISE Act (beyond merely cutting immigration by 50%) is to improve the skill set the USA gets from new immigrants.
    As far as language ability goes, 2 languages is always better than one in the 21st Century.

    Back in the 19th Century, when employability meant mostly understanding orders given in the English language, giving priority to English may have made perfect sense.

    But all historical evidence is that immigrants made fine Americans learning their English after they got here. Usually as their 2nd language all their lives. And now, with a fully global economy, speaking the 2 most popular languages spoken in the USA should be worth extra points.

    Giving preference to people who speak English only, actually fails value for 2 reasons:

    1. Benefits immigrants who speak only English, vs. immigrants who speak both English and Spanish. See above.

    2. Skews favorably immigrants from England, Australia, etc., i.e. the same nationalities which in 1965 were not fulfilling their numbers available under the discarded National Quotas standard. Big mistake because of #3 below.

    3. Coupled with the specified reduction in the number of immigrants, it would be an anti-American misanthropic demographic disaster.

    The secret sauce for immigrants to the USA is that they skip one of the dependent stages of life, early childhood.
    Citing studies by Borja or Brazeros many years ago, has little significance in a 2017 USA where half of the population right now is at least 56 years old, and most of the young kids are minorities. Mostly Latinos and Asians.

    We need younger people to help our rapidly aging baby boomer generation, get to our 90s safely. Immigrants. We need more of them ASAP these next 20 years, if you were born since WWII and its next 20 years.

    To answer Rodney King’s famous question: “We better get along”.

  4. Einstein famously said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the Universe. And that’s why Demographics are the human version of compound interest.
    When two different types of Americans need each other, they often achieve much good. Just look at your local Grand Mart and see how Latinos and Asians are creating a great immigrant friendly food source for everyone seeking exotic ingredients everywhere.
    Cooperation. 2 is more than 1+1 because it gets more done. And when people get older they need younger helpers who can push wheelchairs, carry things, etc. Been there, done that. I was an hospital orderly 6 years working through college.
    In another 10 years half of us baby boomers will still have a good shot at 90 with a little help. Just when there are lots of people who love America doing those kind of jobs, albeit, undocumented.

    Silly me if I am optimistic enough that in this great country, compromise for both parties benefit is the goal.

    PS. I forgot to mention last post about the second secret sauce immigrants bring: Optimism.
    G

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