With just two weeks left until the mid-term elections we are continuing our deep-dive series on upcoming lame duck issues. Yesterday we discussed another executive amnesty possibility as well as repealing Obamacare through reconciliation. If you weren't able to make the call or would like more information check out the links and content below.
>>Border Crisis Background
Additionally this is the last week to lock in the early-bird rate for our upcoming Sentinel Summit on November 13th! If you are able to make it I'd encourage you to sign up as it'll be a great opportunity to connect with other motivated activists and grow your skills.
>>More info on the Sentinel Summit
If you have any questions about the Sentinel Summit or the internet sales tax feel free to email or call (#: 202-548-5290) at any time.
The House and Senate are not in session this week.
Refugee Memorandum: President Obama recently issued an executive memorandum that will allow for a limited number of children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply for refugee status if they have relatives legally residing in the U.S. This policy is problematic in that it requires officials to justify the refugee status by loosening criteria. Although this proposal may currently be limited in scope, there is concern the administration would then use this justification to offer asylum to thousands of children here illegally, amounting to a massive loophole for administrative amnesty.
The U.S. is already the number one country of resettlement in the world, accepting 66,200 refugees in 2013. Our refugee and asylum policy does not need a politically motivated expansion that would trample current law while inviting another surge of illegal crossings. Congress should respond to any new avenue granting executive amnesty with legislation that stops the Obama Administration from continuing to break the law.
Obamacare Repeal (Reconciliation): A successful long-term movement to repeal Obamacare requires ongoing legislative conflict in which conservatives use whatever available leverage to prevent the law from settling into place, forcing the political class to take sides. If and when the GOP reclaims the Senate, conservatives will have the chance to reignite the Obamacare fight and push repeal legislation through Congress.
Budget “reconciliation” is a two-step process which allows Congress to pass a budget resolution that directs changes in current law to bring levels of spending, revenues, or the debt ceiling in line with the resolution. Essentially, Congress could use a simple majority to pass a budget that instructs the repeal of Obamacare; then, it could use the same majority to pass actual repeal legislation that would be sent to the President’s desk for the first time.
Conservatives cannot let those who have accepted that Obamacare is here to stay convince other opponents of the law that the fight cannot be won. Full repeal is still possible, but it requires ongoing legislative conflict with President Obama and the law’s supporters. Ask your members of Congress if they are prepared to repeal Obamacare in 2015, and be ready to hold them accountable to their answer.
Lame Duck Threat: Another Avenue for Administrative Amnesty
Status: Unwilling to risk further grassroots backlash to his unlawful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, President Obama has delayed plans to expand it to cover more illegal immigrants. With continued political pressure from amnesty proponents, however, the administration has announced plans to allow a limited number of children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply for refugee status if they have relatives legally residing in the U.S.
This policy is problematic in that it could potentially provide a massive loophole through which thousands of children entering the country illegally could be granted amnesty.
Refugee and Asylum Avenue. Under current law, refugee and asylum eligibility is based on roughly the same criteria, the key difference being that refugees are overseas and asylees are either at our borders seeking entry or already in the U.S. for various reasons. Both groups are generally outside their country of nationality, usually having fled for fear of persecution. To be granted refugee status or asylum, persecution must occur based on an applicant’s race, religion, political beliefs, or membership in a social group.
Refugees and asylees are granted expedited access to legal permanent residency (LPR), also known as a green card, and are then placed on a fast track to full citizenship. Either classification is allowed immediate access to various government benefits including a host of means-tested welfare programs.
Distorting the Law. Under the administration’s new policy, the U.S. would begin accepting refugee applications from children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras applying from within their home countries. This policy would purportedly extend only to minors with relatives in the U.S. (and would not incorporate those who crossed the border unlawfully in recent months). It would appear the justification the Obama Administration is using is that these children are being persecuted on the basis of their membership in a “social group.” In other words, the policy is predicated on children endangered by crime being considered a collective group in their home countries.
This justification is a distortion of the underlying law, given that children are no more a “social group” than a collection of members of any age group. Crime in these regions affects all groups of people and is not based on any particular belief or demographic.
Although this proposal may currently be limited in scope, there is concern the administration would then use this justification to offer asylum to thousands of children here illegally. Doing so would amount to a massive loophole to provide administrative amnesty similar to what the administration planned to do with DACA.
Wrong Incentives. While the administration claims to be providing “a safe, legal and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that children are currently undertaking to join relatives in the United States,” the reality of the policy will have the opposite effect. If the government declares that children threatened by violence are entitled refugee status, it will provide momentum for granting asylum to such children arriving at the border. The incentive to apply for asylum when picked up by Border Patrol is even stronger given that while refugees are counted against the administration’s Latin American allocation of 4,000 slots, asylum grants have no limit whatsoever.
Keep up the great work!
Heritage Action for America