Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) came out strongly critical of the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill in his opening statement at the bill’s committee markup on Thursday. Grassley compared the 867-page bill to the 1986 amnesty program, which never secured the border despite promises of future border security in exchange for immediate amnesty.
“The bill before us has some of the same concepts of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act,” Grassley said. “Title two of that act provides a legalization program. Instead of calling it Registered Provisional Immigrant status, the 1986 bill allowed the undocumented population to come forward and register with the government for Temporary Resident Status. A person had to prove they resided in the United States prior to January 1, 1982, and had to remain physically present in the United States until they adjusted to Permanent Resident Status.”
Grassley then listed off many more examples of how this bill is just like the 1986 amnesty. “Like the bill before us, the 1986 law required individuals to learn English, but allowed people to meet that requirement by simply taking a class,” Grassley said. “Like the bill before us, those in temporary status were authorized to travel and work. Any information in one’s application would be considered confidential, and could not render the person removable. Applicants had to pay a fee, and there were no numerical limits. There were weak documentation requirements, and it allowed for sworn affidavits.”
“There were waivers of the grounds of inadmissibility,” Grassley continued. “There was a provision that required the Attorney General to give people here illegally with an opportunity to apply for legal status if apprehended during the application period. Nor could people be deported during this time. To top it off, like the bill before us, the government was to undertake a campaign to disseminate information about the legalization program.”