Date: February 5, 2018
Host: Jim Schneider
Guest: Chris Chmielenski
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Chris Chmielenski is the director of content and activism at NumbersUSA, the nation’s largest grassroots immigration reduction advocacy organization. They fight for the reforming of the current immigration system so we can end illegal immigration and have an immigration system that serves in the best interest of American workers and their wages.
When we hear about a DACA ‘fix’ (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals), some refer to this as amnesty while others claim it isn’t. NumbersUSA believes this is amnesty. They take the position that anything that rewards a class of illegal aliens, regardless of number, as amnesty. On the other hand, they’ve already endorsed legislation in the House that does include DACA amnesty because it does a lot of other things that NumbersUSA is pleased with.
March 5th is said to be the deadline when the DACA program is to begin phasing out. If nothing is done and everything stays ‘as is’, what will happen on the 5th? Chris said the answer is ‘nothing’. A couple weeks ago, a San Francisco federal judge ruled that the Trump administration illegally halted the DACA program in the way it was done on September 5th. The judge ordered the administration to reinstate renewals for the program. Since about mid-January the Trump administration has been processing renewals and will continue to do that until that case is appealed to the Supreme Court. Chris believes it will take a couple of months for things to get straightened out through the Supreme Court.
Congressman Pete Sessions indicated there should be no pathway to citizenship. He favors what’s known as ‘guest worker status’. His concern is the message that would be sent to those who are legally going about becoming a citizen. Chris says NumbersUSA sees this as a matter of semantics. Since NumbersUSA is concerned about the effect of mass immigration on American workers and their wages, once you have someone in America who can stay and compete with other American workers, whether or not they have citizenship or whether or not they are here on a guest worker visa doesn’t matter, they’re here. So NumbersUSA doesn’t differentiate between the two. The House bill they’ve endorsed includes a renewable work visa so it doesn’t offer a path to citizenship. However, if this was turned into a path to citizenship, Chris noted that they wouldn’t be too concerned with it.
The last time Congress evaluated the immigration system was in the ’90’s when they had a bipartisan congressional commission on immigration. They actually recommended ending chain migration. This is what spawned NumbersUSA.
The commission was chaired by Barbara Jordan who recommended limiting family-based immigration to spouses and minor children. Most developed nations around the world do that very thing. Back in 2013, when the ‘Gang of Eight’ immigration bill passed the Senate, the House version of that bill (HR-15), which Nancy Pelosi co-sponsored, ended chain migration, as did the ’06-’07 amnesty bills. This shows that there is a history where Congress has attempted to end chain migration over the last 15-20 years.
Chain migration has a multiplying effect. As of right now the U.S. gives out about 1.1 million permanent legal residence ‘Green Cards’ to those who are on a path to real citizenship. So we’re allowing about 1-1.1 million new immigrants to come in each year. About 60% of those ‘Green Cards’ that are issued come under the chain migration category. However that also includes spouses and minor children. If you took out that category, you’re looking at a reduction of about 250,00-300,000. The majority of them are parents, but then all of the adult relatives that they’re allowed to sponsor for ‘Green Cards’. It’s those cards that Chris believes begins the endless chains of family-based immigration.
This is a very deep subject that includes the visa lottery, the border wall, e-verify for checking on illegals in the employment sector, the latest on what’s been called a ‘fresh bipartisan immigration plan’, the Secure America’s Future Act, and much more. Get caught up on the latest when you review this vital Crosstalk broadcast.