Strengthening commitment to legal immigration

Hatch’s proposed bill hopes to make previous legislation more effective

Always a proponent of solving problems first by truly enforcing existing laws, Sen. Orrin Hatch recently unveiled the bill “Strengthening Our Commitment to Legal Immigration and America’s Security Act” to help plug loopholes in current legislation and use resources more efficiently to seal the American border.

This bill focuses on how to fix the systems we have in place for dealing with identity theft, visa applications, welfare benefits, cultivation of illegal drugs, tracking when foreigners leave the country and administering Secure Communities and 287(g) programs.

It is proposed to have the IRS contact the employer, law enforcement and the true cardholder when a Social Security number is used fraudulently. Often, the numbers stolen are those belonging to child citizens who do not realize their identity has been taken until they reach adulthood.

Welfare benefits would be tracked to see how much money is being used to help illegal immigrants. An example Hatch gave to the U.S. Senate was that California discovered that last year, in Los Angeles County alone, $569 million in welfare benefits — 24 percent of the total amount awarded — was given to illegal immigrants.

The border would be monitored for those exiting the country in order to know when foreign visitors were departing, renewing visas or staying without permission. This would also help curb the continual threat of terrorist infiltration.

The process of granting visas would be changed and the Diversity Visa program — the “visa lottery”, Hatch called it — terminated to avoid giving visas to known criminals and gang members.

Drugs are being grown by Mexican drug cartels on the U.S. side of the border to avoid the issue of crossing with them. Cartels have been employing immigrant workers and creating “fences” around plots with landmines. This bill covers how to stop these practices.

The problem with the current administration of the Secure Communities and 287(g) programs is that communities getting federal money to implement these procedures are not using it for effective implementation. This bill intends to have federal money either be used as intended or no longer given to those areas.

The 287(g) program details how law enforcement can act during traffic stops, a great opportunity for detaining illegal immigrants and terrorists, but the Obama administration has stopped permitting such immigration queries and has somewhat tied the hands of the program.

On the subject of blanket amnesty, Hatch stated in his recent address to the Senate that “the Obama administration has been holding behind-the-scenes talks to determine whether the Department of Homeland Security can unilaterally grant legal status, on a mass basis, to illegal immigrants via deferred action and parole … it would be back-door amnesty for millions.” This bill covers making such questionable politics unlawful.

Keep up to date on this new legislation at http://Hatch.Senate.gov/

The SLC Library is holding a panel discussion to help educate the public about recent immigration laws the evening of Oct. 14, 2010. To learn more about this event go to www.SLCPL.Lib.ut.us

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