Amendments to Immigration Bill Weaken Enforcement and Border Security

Key flaw remains: Amnesty before improvements to border security

Jun 13, 2013, 13:56 ET from Center for Immigration Studies

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Schumer-Rubio bill has emerged from the committee mark up process with changes that further weaken prospects for improved immigration enforcement. The Center for Immigration Studies has outlined the most significant changes to the enforcement and security sections of the bill and concluded that while a few token amendments to improve enforcement plans were adopted, several other amendments adopted will weaken enforcement still further.


These adopted amendments threaten the effectiveness of E-Verify, increase protections for criminal aliens, complicate enforcement for the Border Patrol, and impose inappropriate oversight of enforcement.

"Instead of seeking a real compromise that would address the public safety concerns of the many federal and state law enforcement officers who have expressed opposition to this bill, the Gang of Eight and their allies on the Judiciary Committee made the bill worse by tacking on irresponsible provisions that serve only to protect lawbreakers instead of the public," said CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan.

To view a complete list of changes to the bill, including discussion:

The following are some of the most significant changes to the enforcement and security sections of S.744:

Undermining E-Verify

  • ICE will be prevented from punishing employers for first-time hiring violations if the error rate for E-Verify queries exceeds 0.3 percent.  This is an extremely high standard, which seems designed primarily to thwart enforcement against employers.  (Section 3101(a)).
  • The bill creates an office in USCIS to advocate for small businesses that would have the authority to block an enforcement action or reverse penalties imposed on an employer.  This is an astonishing infringement on ICE's authority to enforce laws against illegal hiring.  (Section 3107).

Protecting Criminal Aliens

  • The Attorney General could decide to give illegal aliens (or groups) a taxpayer-funded defense attorney to help them fight deportation in court.  (Section 3502). 
  • Illegal aliens fighting deportation will be entitled to see all of the documents in their file, including those obtained by ICE from other law enforcement agencies, which may be law enforcement-sensitive or even classified.  If ICE refuses to release any documents, if they are sensitive or classified, for example, then the alien cannot be removed.  This provision is most likely to be exploited by aliens who are criminal and national security threats.  (Section 3502).
  • The bill reverses ICE's timid efforts to cut back payments to sanctuary jurisdictions under the SCAAP program.  (Section 1110).

Interfering with Border Enforcement

  • Border Patrol and ICE agents must determine if the illegal aliens they apprehend are parents or caregivers, and then determine how that parent or caregiver's removal would impact the child's welfare, or the alien's own personal safety.  It implies that parents and caregivers (or those who claim to be) will have a chance to contest or delay their removal on those grounds, or on the grounds that the area they just chose to travel through in order to cross illegally is not safe enough for them to return to.  (Section 1115).
  • It forbids the Border Patrol from removing people to Mexico at night without the approval of the Mexican government.  (Section 1121).

Inappropriate Oversight

  • It expands the mandate of the newly-created DHS Ombudsman's office, which is likely to be staffed and led by political appointees, to include inspections of detention facilities and to review policies and programs of CBP, ICE, and USCIS.  These are activities more appropriate for the existing and relatively independent Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility.  (Section 1114).

View the Senate bill, and CIS analysis, testimony, and commentary on the bill, 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, 202-466-8185

SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies