“It’s never worked,” said Executive Director & General Counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) Dale Wilcox of past federally legislated amnesties extended to illegal immigrants.
He advised the Trump administration and broader Republican Party to reject acceptance of amnesty proposals modeled after the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy and to prioritize the ending of chain migration and national implementation of an E-Verify usage mandate for employers.
Wilcox made his comments during a Thursday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight, hosted by Breitbart News’s Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon and Senior Editor-at-Large Rebecca Mansour.
Ending chain migration must be prioritized by Trump and the GOP, said Wilcox: “Seventy percent of our immigration over multiple decades has been a result of chain migration. End that. [Donald Trump’s] got to do that.”
Wilcox noted a recent tweet from Trump calling for an end to chain migration:
The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc. We must protect our Country at all cost!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2017
Trump expressed similar opposition to chain migration last year via Twitter:
CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE! pic.twitter.com/PQGeTTdRtX
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
The Trump administration, said Wilcox, expressed commitment towards ending chain migration: “I have been privy to White House meetings, and what the administration says is its bottom line, and I can tell you they want to end chain migration, they want to end the visa lottery program which is just ridiculous, and President Trump wants funding for the wall.”
Effectively addressing illegal immigration requires national implementation of an E-Verify mandate for employers, said Wilcox. Unlawful employment amounts to a “jobs magnet” encouraging illegal immigration, he said:
If we’re going to stop any future amnesty, we have to have national E-Verify, which essentially allows employers when they’re hiring someone to go onto a free government website to check to make sure that they person they’re hiring, or the person they just hired, is employment authorized. If we did that, that would get rid of the job magnet for the most part and would disincentivize further illegal immigration.
Previous amnesties have always extended beyond originally promised parameters, said Wilcox:
It’s never worked. America has instituted previous amnesties over the years. Everyone’s familiar with the big one in 1986 which, allegedly, at that time there were 1 million, 1.3 million illegal aliens in the United States, and then I think over 3 million came out of the shadows to take part in that amnesty, but the only effect that amnesty had was to increase the numbers of people coming across the border unlawfully in hopes that another amnesty would be implemented. Time after time, this has happened.
The Obama administration’s DACA policy, said Wilcox, incentivized and increased the volume of unlawful immigration to the US.
DACA’s approval rate in issuing work permits to applicants was over 98%, said Wilcox, framing the policy’s background checks and vetting processes as amounting to a “rubber stamp.” Such lax screening, he said, opened up a vulnerability to national security.
“We’re talking about an amnesty now where we have people who were lightly vetted, and we really don’t need that,” said Wilcox of any DACA-themed legislative amnesty proposals.
“You can’t reward law-breaking,” said Wilcox of amnestying illegal immigrants, describing such a measure as expanding moral hazard and undermining the rule of law. “It’s a moral hazard, that’s sort of my rule of law point, that if you make exceptions like this, it only invites more law-breaking.”
Contrary to narratives broadly framing DACA registrants as military servicepersons and academic achievers, Wilcox drew on a recent study of DACA registrants’ rates of military service and levels of English proficiency:
Only roughly 900 DACA recipients have served in the military. Now, if you take the total population of DACA, which is somewhere around 800,000, that’s one-tenth of one percent. So no, that’s not true.
When you look at the valedictorian question, studies have shown that nearly 25% percent of DACA recipients are functionally illiterate, 46% have only basic English ability, and less than half have graduated from high school.
Repatriation of DACA recipients, said Wilcox, would not broadly yield total uprooting of persons without connection to their countries of origin:
We’re not talking about kids who were born here. We’re talking about kids who were born in a foreign country who have crossed our border illegally or flown in and overstayed a visa unlawfully. They were raised by non-English-speaking parents, mostly… three quarters are from Mexico. So they were raised by parents who don’t speak English. They’re bilingual. So, say for instance, these three-quarters [of DACA recipients] that came from Mexico, they know Spanish. People have asked, “Well, how can you send them back? They’ve grown up here, all they know is Spanish.” No, that’s not true. What language do you think they spoke in their homes from zero to five before they went to school and we were forced to provide a free public education to them? They spoke their parents’ native language. What language do you think they speak to their parents in today? Their native language. So, it’s not true that these individuals would all of a sudden find themselves in a foreign country that they have no connection to and don’t know the language.
DACA recipients of Mexican origin provide an opportunity to reform Mexico for the better upon their return, argued Wilcox in an op-ed published last September:
Could the rejection of legislative DACA present a huge opportunity for the Mexican state? Right now, Mexican “dreamers” (3/4’s of the DACA population) have an unprecedented opportunity to return to Mexico and reform it. The large majority’s adult, most have English, U.S. dollars in their pocket, a good amount of education and jobs skills, and an understanding of what a nation run by the rule of law looks like. Who could be better equipped to force change upon Mexico’s pilfering elite than they?
A 2017-published report by IRLI estimated the number of illegal aliens in the United States at 12.5 million. Another 2017-published report by IRLI estimated the cumulative cost of illegal immigration at $115,894,597,644: “Illegal aliens are net consumers of taxpayer-funded services and the limited taxes paid by some segments of the illegal alien population are, in no way, significant enough to offset the growing financial burdens imposed on U.S. taxpayers by massive numbers of uninvited guests.”
Breitbart News Tonight airs Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.