The president of the union representing 12,000 officers and employees of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is attacking House Republicans’ upcoming border legislation for not dealing with immigration fraud.
The leaders in the House effort, however, say the bill is part of a process.
The bill “does nothing to preclude anyone in the world from turning themselves in at the US border and obtaining automatic entry and federal benefits,” Kenneth Palinkas, the President of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council said in a statement Thursday.
This week the House Homeland Security Committee approved Chairman Michael McCaul’s (R-TX) “Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015.” The bill it is expected to come up for a vote in as early as next week.
According to Palinkas, however, the McCaul bill fails to deal with the problem of asylum fraud and does not implement a biometric exit-entry system quickly enough.
“Almost anyone at all can call themselves an asylum-seeker and get in; it’s a global joke,” he said. “It’s not border security if anyone can recite the magic words and get waved right on in. Those who arrived in the 2014 border run are still here, often living on US support and even applying for US jobs.”
At the top of his list of concerns is a lack of resources to effectively screen immigrants seeking legal status.
“We process millions upon millions of applications every year for lifetime immigrant green cards, refugee admissions, asylum-seekers, temporary workers, visitors, tourists, and more – but we do so without any of the resources or mission support we need to screen these individuals properly, let alone to conduct in-person interviews,” he explained Thursday.
In an statement to Breitbart News, McCaul argued that his committee does not have jurisdiction over interior enforcement.
“[T]he “Secure Our Borders First” bill deals solely with the problem at our southern, northern, and maritime borders – a problem that has plagued this country for 25 years,” he said. “It is a national security concern, and the number one provision in the Constitution is to provide for the common defense of our country.”
McCaul further stressed that his legislation is part of a process, as opposed to a large comprehensive immigration bill.
Our border must be dealt with through regular order and in a step-by-step approach – not through any type of comprehensive immigration reform. We must to stop the bleeding at the border. The bill matches resources to needs putting fencing where fencing is needed and technology where technology is needed. My constituents in my home district and my home state of Texas spoke loud and clear. They want the border secured.
In addition to his criticisms of the McCaul bill, Palinkas chastised Congress for failing to effectively take on Obama’s executive amnesty, and offered a plea to Congress to combat the administration’s actions as it “compromises national security and public safety, while undermining officer morale.”
“Yet where is the outrage from Congress?” Palinkas asked. “After the House passed its legislation to reverse the amnesty, all I hear is silence in the Senate. It seems Congressional leaders will not rise to defend the laws of the United States, but are giving in to the ‘imperial presidency.’”
In a joint statement Thursday, McCaul and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) highlighted the “step-by-step approach” House Republicans are taking to deal with current immigration problems.
“As chairmen of the House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees, we join our colleagues to secure our borders and ensure our immigration laws are not unilaterally ignored by President Obama and future presidents,” the pair said.
“We will continue working on these issues and the Judiciary Committee will work on legislation to deliver results on interior enforcement, such as mandatory electronic verification of employment eligibility, addressing fraud in the asylum system, and allowing state and local law enforcement to help in enforcing our laws,” they added.