Weekly Columns

Rewarding Bad Behavior: New Deportation Policies

Senator John Boozman's Column Week of August 29, 2011

Aug 31 2011

It’s clear our immigration system is broken and must be fixed. Our immigration laws are not being enforced and our borders are open to anyone who wants to cross them. We need to reform our immigration policies, strengthen our borders and enforce immigration laws we already have in place. 

While I agree with President Obama that we must work to reform our entire immigration process, I believe it must be in a manner that does not include any form of amnesty. It’s unfair to provide a shortcut towards legalization for illegal immigrants and I don’t support a guest worker program that rewards illegal aliens with blanket amnesty while ignoring the needs of American workers.  

New deportation policies recently imposed by the White House are a step towards amnesty and I am very much opposed to these changes.  The administration is launching a case-by-case review of illegal immigrants who are scheduled to be deported. Immigrants who are in our country illegally have broken the law and must obey the consequences. It is irresponsible of this administration to pick and choose which lawbreakers get to stay and which have to go based on their behavior while living in the United States. 

In a White House blog, the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Cecilia Munoz, says this new policy will allow the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to make these decisions based on criminal activity, “a person’s ties and contributions to the community, their family relationships and military service record.” 

This policy change is nothing more than a backdoor opening for provisions of the DREAM Act, legislation that grants blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants. While I am in favor of streamlining our current process of gaining residency and citizenship, I do not believe we should reward illegal immigrants with amnesty. This is unfair to those who have legally entered the country. 

A study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) found that an amnesty policy would undermine the interests of American workers. At a time when nationwide unemployment rate lingers above nine percent, this is unacceptable.

We have made great strides this Congress with the introduction of legislation that will help curb our illegal immigration problem. I am a cosponsor the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 that limits birthright citizenship to children born in the U.S. to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, legal resident alien or active member of the U.S. armed forces. I also cosponsored a mandatory E-Verify bill that allows employers to confirm eligibility of a job candidate by their name and Social Security number and help them abide by the law.

Immigration reform is an extremely important issue and I am committed to supporting firm and effective immigration reform legislation. We must hold illegal immigrants accountable; we must hold employers who break the law accountable; and we must hold those elected officials who won’t admit we have a problem accountable.