Rubio Claims Amnesty Needed to Identify Illegal Immigrants

But law already requires all aliens to register

Apr 26, 2013, 06:15 ET from Center for Immigration Studies

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is claiming amnesty is necessary so that the United States can determine the identity of illegal aliens in the country. However, basic enforcement of existing immigration law is all that is necessary to acquire their identities. Instead of promoting amnesty, Sen. Rubio could demand that the Obama administration enforce 8 U.S.C. section 1302, "Registration of Aliens," which makes it "the duty of every alien" to register their presence in the United States if they remain here 30 days or longer. Failure to do so results in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to six months.


Rubio explained his support for amnesty and his flip-flop on border security, saying: "We don't want to wait on legalizing, and I'll tell you why. My original position was that we wanted to secure the border first, and then legalize. The problem is we have millions of people here now, by some estimates ten, eleven million. We want to know who they are and freeze the problem in place. I don't want that number to grow. It behooves us to know who they are as soon as possible, so it doesn't get worse."

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The existing registration law applies to nearly all illegal aliens. The Department of Homeland Security's estimates of 11.5 million illegal aliens (as of January 2011) are on based the American Community Survey.  The survey uses a two-month rule for calculating residency; those here for less than two months are not counted. This means that the 11.5 million illegal immigrants are by definition people who have been in the United States illegally for more than 60 days and running afoul of the 30-day registration requirement. There is simply no question that the illegal immigrant population is comprised of people who are violating this registration statute.

Sen. Rubio seems to have fallen into President Obama's trap: First, the Obama administration refuses to enforce immigration laws, and then the president points to all of the illegal immigration that results as a reason for amnesty. Rubio appears to have embraced the amnesty agenda as a means to correct a problem that has resulted from intentional non-enforcement.

View the Senate bill, CIS Senate testimony and commentary at:

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization. Since its founding in 1985, the Center has pursued a single mission – providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States.

Contact: Marguerite Telford

SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies