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February 6, 2016

Democrats Force Immigration Vote at Budget Hearing

Democrats, who recently gathered on the Capitol steps in support of immigration reform, are using committee hearings to continue to push for the issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats, who recently gathered on the Capitol steps in support of immigration, are using committee hearings to continue to push for the issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats Wednesday used a meeting intended to advance House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint to force Republicans into a symbolic vote on immigration reform.

Freshman Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., used an all-day markup convened by the Budget committee to force the roll call vote on the Democrats’ immigration legislation. Cardenas offered the text of the immigration bill as an amendment to Ryan’s proposed 2015 budget.

“This is the only amendment that would create jobs and reduce the deficit in one amendment,” Cardenas argued.

He added, “this is the only vote we can get.”

Ryan has been an outspoken advocate of rewriting the nation’s immigration system and supports the immigration principles released by party leaders this winter. (But just 18 House Republicans have been willing to say they back that document. See our CQ Roll Call whip count here.)

After the Cardenas effort Wednesday, Ryan said it “goes without saying” that immigration is “a broken system,” but he still joined his 20 fellow Republicans in voting down the amendment.

Fifteen Democrats voted “yes.”

The only House Republicans who have signed onto the House’s comprehensive immigration overhaul bill are Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Californians Jeff Denham and David Valadao — none of whom sit on the Budget committee — to lend their support to Cardenas’ effort.

  • Derfallbright

    This is just more political theater for the 2014 midterms, Obviously a discussion of the budget is not the place to stage a sham vote on immigration.

    It’s no wonder that the two side hate each other when juvenile things like this go on.

    It is my view that there is so little trust that President Obama would actually follow any law that was passed to control immigration that it is unlikely that anything of significance can be passed until after he is out of office.

    It would be logical to fully start the use of the new E-verify system, but if you are not going to actually deport people you catch presenting false documents, what is the point..

    • mk_1001

      We deport the maximum we can with the funds appropriated for this purpose by Congress — which is about 400,000.

      The hypocritical supporters of Paul Ryan and his budget want to CUT funding and deport FEWER people.

      • Derfallbright

        You could be right….but when an Administration starts counting as deportations people that are simply turned around at the border that have never been counted as deportations before, I don’t know that we can rely on any numbers that a put forth on this issue.

        • mk_1001

          I’m glad you brought up that controversy actually…

          Those deportations at the border — under the Alien Transfer Exit Program (ATEP) — weren’t counted before because the program didn’t exist until Bush’s last year in office. And they go well beyond “simply turning around” someone at the border.

          Under ATEP, certain Mexicans are deported to locations hundreds of miles away from their port of entry and fingerprinted to track and discourage re-crossing attempts by imposing increasingly severe penalties for repeat offenders.

          Non-ATEP returns (“voluntary returns”) — which don’t count as deportations — are much cheaper but the apprehended individuals can simply re-cross hours later with no repeat offender penalties if they are caught offend.

          • Derfallbright

            That’s interesting information. I lived in Texas many many years ago and as I recall there were still some borders crossing points in rural areas that had no border guards. It seems like it’s just been in the last 50-60 years that this became a big issue.

            I assume drugs may be interconnected with the enforcement issues. I think years ago there was some criticism for spending thousands of dollars sending people home by air.

            You read reports of people spending thousands of dollars to criminals to smuggle them across the border in dangerous trips across the desert. Why is it people don’t just get a tourist visa to take the kids to see Disneyland and then fly to LA. There is no system in place to catch people who have overstayed their tourist visa. The cost would be about the same.

            I think Congress is not capable of addressing this issue in a way that will satisfy all sides of this issuer.

          • mk_1001

            Why is it people don’t just get a tourist visa to take the kids to see Disneyland and then fly to LA.

            A few may succeed to do that but generally speaking Latin Americans are overwhelming likely to have their tourist visa applications rejected. Applicants have to prove that they are not an overstay risk by showing that they have a good job, lots of property, money, family ties, prior international travel, etc. And even if they show all that, they still often get rejected.

            Yes, it’s very inter-connected and similar to the War on Drugs. Every incremental enforcement gain comes at greater and greater cost, with diminishing returns.

            I’m no libertarian, but the only realistic solution I’ve seen is the temporary work Visa Tax proposal from Cato. Let those who desperately want to come here pay the US Treasury instead of the smugglers. If the visa taxes are properly calibrated, they don’t mooch on anyone and we put the smugglers out of business.

            But even libertarian politicians don’t dare to promote their own think tank’s proposal. The populist message that illegal immigrants and weak border security are to blame for all our problems is the message voters prefer to hear. The problem doesn’t begin with Congress, it begins with us.

          • Derfallbright

            I am not aware of the CATO recommendations, don’t we have something similar to that for people that want to come over here and start a business? It’s not that they pay us anything, but there are some dollar amounts they need to show they plan to spend.

            It is my belief that some adults need to get in a room and come up with a proposal on what the right thing is to do with immigration policy and enforcement. (Congress kinda kills that adults in a room idea)

            Once upon a time Ellis Island (and I think there was also a less famous West Coast counter part) Everything was controlled by those operation. I don’t get the impression there were any quotas (other than no Chinese and I think there was also restrictions on other Asians at some point)

            I assume during that time if you were in Mexico you probably didn’t go through Ellis island ….I get the impression people went back and forth across the border at will. You see all the outlaws in the movies crossing the border to escape from the law.and not a lot of people were stopping to show their passport. My guess is Mexicans were equally free to come here.

            First should we have a limit on the number of people who are allowed to live in the USA? Beats me, I don’t know how or who would ever be able to decide that.

            What kind of people do we need to add to the country, what kind should we avoid? Are there times these rules should be broken? I am thinking about all the Vietnamese we brought in at the end of the war? Many had nothing, but have gone on to be contributors to our country. I could be wrong but I don’t think they became part of the permanent welfare class.
            If this is true….then there should be a review made as to why people who come to this country with nothing can become productive members of their new country but some people who were born here and speak the language and have had a free education through high school are not able to break away from government dependency. What are the factors of success, and can they be duplicated? Or is there actually no difference?

            If we want to control the receipt of welfare (social assistance programs) and control employment by people not authorized to be in the country then a full and serious effort must be made to implement the new and improved E-verify system coupled with the ‘Real ID act’. You can still go to the internet and buy valid looking fake ID’s that will pass the I-9 hiring process used by most employers. Until you can control employment you can build 20 foot tall fences on every border and it will not matter.

            Should we be encouraging foreign students to take up space in top US universities, but not have visa rules that make it possible to hire these people? It’s a world market….is it in our best interest to train people to compete against us in business? Are all these international students knocking out Americans from the math and engineering jobs we say we need?

            Should people who happen to be born here be automatic US citizens, or should kids be what ever nationality there parents are? If the parent becomes a citizen, then the kid can become a citizen then..but only then. I have not heard the positive argument on why they should be automatic US citizens. Europe that is smaller is having to face this problem now.

            My point is most of these questions (and many more) need to be addressed before any meaningful immigration reform can be considered.

          • mk_1001

            You raise valid questions. Unfortunately, I’m afraid the “adults in a room” approach is not politically viable today. I don’t blame Congress for that, I blame voters. Voters want simple, feel-good, populist answers.

            It’s true that we do already “sell” up to 10,000 “entrepenuer” green cards per year. To qualify, one generally must invest $1 million or more and create at least 10 permanent jobs. The Cato proposal envisions a visa tax in the range of a few thousand dollars per person (comparable to fees that would otherwise be paid to smugglers).

            E-verify is a clumsy, kludgy attempt to effectively implement a universal, mandatory federal ID without actually declaring a universal, mandatory federal ID. There are pros and cons to having a mandatory national ID. If we really think the pros outweigh the cons then we should do it the right way, which would be more accurate, fair, and cost effective, and would solve other problems as well (e.g. instant background checks, voter registration).

            For what it’s worth, countries that use mandatory national ID for employment verification, such as France and Costa Rica, still have serious illegal immigration problems. Costa Rica has more illegal immigrants per capita than we do in fact. The illegals simply work for cash.

          • Derfallbright

            For some reason the idea of a national ID card drives some people crazy. I think in disjointed ways that ship has already sailed. Digitised photography and the internet has changed everything. For example our photos are accessible in computers basically all over the world.

            If you have a Sams Club card, have relatives that take your photo at a birthday party and post it on facebook, on and on…..we are out there on the internet.

            Digital photography make the purchase of fake ID’s very easy over the internet. People who run these kindd of businesses can operate in a very mobil way and can keep moving. By the time authorities focus on one business location and build a legal case they are gone and have set up with a new name and IP address.

            Major cities with large immigrant populations still operate these kind of businesses in the shadows and rarely attract the attention of authorities. (particularly the current Justice Department)

            You have had the I-9 employment verification system now for about 20+ years that gives a illusion of being able to confirm the ID of people being employed but the fake ID business makes this system a joke. The law doesn’t even require an employer to keep a photocopy of what was presented for ID. So dishonest employers are hard to catch. They rightly can claim they are not ID experts.

            The current E-verify system will only confirm that a social security number being used is a valid number but it does not confirm the name, sex, age or race of the person who is associated with this number.

            In about two years the SS office sends a notice to employers that they are reporting wages under the number also used by someone else. In my investigations (about a dozen) I found the person was no longer employed. I looked at copies of what we had received as ID at the point of hire and it looked valid to me and the SS cards looked like originals.

            So either we care about valid ID or we don’t. It’s my opinion that we don’t.

            Under proposed changes to the E-verify system it would work in conjunction with the ‘real ID act’ where you have a D/L or state ID issued after you have shown all of your original proof of identity to your D/L office. You ID will have a gold star on it as proof of your valid ID. (easy to fake….but ID’s also have holograms and internal code numbers that make it difficult to fake.

            My understanding of how this would work in the future is an employer (or welfare office) would be able to enter your information and the photo of the person associated with that ID and SS# would pop up on the screen.

            This would go a long way toward stopping voter fraud, befitis fraud and employment of people not authorized to work in this country.

            Is this a national ID….in theory no, in reality with todays electronics it is a national ID that comes in 52 different colors (or more with DC, PR and other US territories)

            Now what you describe in France is true, when I lived in Paris there were large immigrant sections of the city where even the national police were afraid to go in after dark. These folks operated with cash and ID’s were not necessary. There are no border checks within the EU, so it is easy to travel around with no formal government ID. However I know they do take visa violations seriously if they want to.

            Well enough said, we can have better control with better ID systems, but it’s not clear that politicians actually want too.

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  • No Mass Amnesty

    Ryan has been very disappointing with his push for greater immigration levels (while 20 million American citizens are unemployed), but I was pleased to see that he did not vote for this amendment and reiterated that the GOP will work on immigration reform on a piecemeal basis, with border sercurity and enforcement FIRST, instead of signing on to a 1000 page comprehensive, amnesty first bill.
    However, whether he really means that and/or keeps his word on it, is yet to be seen.

  • Ironweeds

    Get rid of the parasites overrunning our borders and having strings of anchor babies we pay to raise.

  • Hutch King

    In this video, delusional liberal Barbara Boxer lies about Hussein Obama’s deficit record:

  • Sam Sung

    Not even $17 trillion in debt could stop the Obama regime from wasting $300,000 on caviar consumption propaganda in 2012.

  • Mr Archie Bunker


    They have an Illness that is worse than cancer its called OBAMISITIS :-).





    By 2016 another 5 to 10.000.000 republican senior voters will pass away. And by 2020 another 10 to 20.000.000 million will pass away , so will the GOP= GRUMPY OLD PEOPLE .
    There are 50,000 Latinos coming of age to vote every month= over 3.000.000 THREE MILLION NEW VOTERS for 2016 AND ANOTHER 5.000.000 VOTERS IN 2020.THEY ALL ARE CERTAINLY GOING TO VOTE REPUBLICANS :) HA HA HA THANKS FOR THE LAUGH :):):)


    For all the tough talk about immigration reform, the House has done NOTHING on border security and the Senate has.

    Likewise, they’ve done NOTHING to solve the visa overstay issue, workplace verification or the H-1B visa problem. It is well and good to vaguely declare the Gang of Eight bill insufficient, but certainly it does more for border security and these other issues than House Republicans have managed to do (which is NOTHING).

    The argument that the House can do NOTHING runs headlong into anti-immigration forces hype about the out-of-control border and the supposed economic burdens of illegal immigration. If it’s such a horrible problem — immigrants pouring over the border and all — why is the REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED HOUSE JUST SITTING THERE?????

    Another Year of OPEN BORDERS
    Another Year of BORDER CROSSINGS,
    Another Year of VISA OVER STAYS,

    Thanks Republicans the Undocumented are Happy that you’ll ar doing NOTHING :) Just PANDERING TO YOUR BASE.

    In poll after poll, roughly three-quarters of Americans say they support a path to citizenship along the lines laid out in the Senate bill, which calls for a minimum wait of 13 years for most illegal immigrants. In a Gallup poll last month, for example, 87 percent said they would vote in favor of a bill that “would allow illegal immigrants living in the U.S. the opportunity to become citizens after a long waiting period if they paid taxes and a penalty, pass a criminal background check, and learn English.”

    Twelve percent said they would oppose such a measure. That is the 12 percent to whom House Republicans are listening. And 12 percent is a long, long way from 51 percent.

    By rejecting immigration, the Republicans in the House are sending a message that they’re not interested in being part of the solution. “If you only have to worry about your right flank — you don’t have to worry about a general election, don’t have to worry about governing — that’s a pretty easy gig, isn’t it? What the hell is the point?”

    Paul Ryan The Budget Committee chairman, whose next job may be head of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, makes his case based on numbers.

    ‘‘Baby boomers are retiring to the tune of 10,000 people a day for the next 10 years,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘We’re going to have labor shortages in this country in the next decade. We need to have our immigration system prepared for that. It’s going to take time to do that and that’s why I think we need to do it now.’’

    If immigration reform crashes, there will be one and only one reason: a failure of leadership by House Republicans.
    The votes to enact meaningful reform already exist. The only question is whether House Republicans will allow them to be cast.

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