Monday, April 22, 2013

Can this plan work?


I’m not so sure this bill will work; here’s why -

The bill which was recently introduced into the U.S. Senate, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, requires the achievement and maintenance an effectiveness rate of 90 percent or higher in all high risk border patrol sectors before the Registered Provisional Immigrant (Amnesty provisions) application processes can even commence.

The bill defines ‘‘effectiveness rate’’, in the case of a border patrol sector, as the percentage calculated by dividing the number of apprehensions and turn backs in the sector during a fiscal year by the total number of illegal entries in the sector during such fiscal year.

The question, however, must be asked, if illegal entries are made surreptitiously, by evading DHS border security, then how is it remotely possible to know the number of illegal entries made during any time period? As such, there is absolutely no way to calculate “effectiveness rate”.

Additionally, the commencement of the legalization (RPI) process outlined in the bill is also dependent upon notification that the Secretary of DHS has implemented a mandatory employment verification system to be used by all employers to prevent unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States.

This system would need to be much more technologically sophisticated than the E-Verify System currently being used by DHS, as it would be required to allow any individual to view and monitor their own record in the system, contain a photo tool which would be used by the employer to verify an employee’s identity, and would need to include mechanisms to measure employer compliance, system error rates, and any misuse of the system. Considering the time it has taken for DHS to get the E-Verify system to its current state, this appears to be yet another major stumbling block in the path of immigration reform.

Finally, it is noted that DHS cannot start taking applications for RPI status until DHS is using an electronic exit system at air and sea ports of entry that operates by collecting machine readable visa or passport information from air and vessel carriers.

For 17 years Congress has tried to force the establishment of an exit-tracking program, first on  the INS and now on DHS, to no avail. This task has recently been shuffled off from USVISIT to CBP, but there is no indication that this exit verification part of the USVISIT system will be accomplished any time soon.

In the final analysis, one must ask, were these prerequisites, which seem to be impossible to accomplish, put in place intentionally by those who oppose immigration reform to doom this bill to failure?


A current DHS official (name, title, agency and location withheld at the author’s request).

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