Hoeven-Corker Border Security Amendment
Ensuring Unprecedented U.S. Border Security (p. 3-8, 14-36)
Before Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPIs) receive a Green Card, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Inspector General, and GAO, must certify that ALL five conditions are met:
- The Department of Homeland Security, after consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Inspector General of the Department, and the Comptroller General of the United States (GAO), has submitted a Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy to Congress that includes minimum requirements for each sector along the border as identified by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the plan has been deployed and is operational. These minimum requirements include a specific list of technologies identified by the Border Patrol as critical to securing the border such as towers, ground sensors, thermal imaging, unmanned aircraft systems, Blackhawk helicopters, and marine vessels.
- The Border Patrol has deployed, maintained, and stationed 20,000 Border Patrol agents on the southern border in addition to the 18,400 agents already stationed there. This means an agent every 1,000 feet along the southern border.
- At least 700 miles of fencing has been completed along the Southern Border (there are 350 miles of pedestrian fencing already deployed on the southern border, and this amendment requires an additional 350 miles be constructed for a total of 700).
- The mandatory employment verification system has been fully implemented for all employers, which will make it almost impossible to work in the United States illegally.
- The mandated electronic entry/exit system has been fully implemented at all international air and sea ports of entry within the United States where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are currently deployed, improving the identification of visa overstays.
- The amendment increases the funding for border security by $38 billion, increasing the amount in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund (the “Trust Fund”) to $46.3 billion. This new funding is completely paid for with immigration fees, fines, and surcharges. Of the Trust Fund funding:
- $30 billion is for the deployment of additional Border Patrol agents along the Southern Border.
- $4.5 billion is to carry out the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy, including deployment of the latest border security technologies referenced above.
- $7.5 billion is to deploy an additional 350 miles of fencing along the Southern Border.
Interior Enforcement that Changes the Culture of De Facto Amnesty (p. 121 – 124)
- Visa overstays currently account for 40% of those unlawfully present, and the bill improves the identification of overstays through a fully implemented entry/exit system. However, significant numbers of individuals identified as unlawfully present have not been removed, often because the administration does not consider them a priority.
- The amendment requires that officials enforce current immigration law and deter overstays by requiring initiation of removal proceedings.
Clarifying Access to Federal Benefits
- Prohibits Social Security benefits to unauthorized workers: This amendment helps protect the Social Security program by ensuring that those not authorized to work in this country cannot claim unauthorized earnings to gain eligibility for Social Security coverage, and it stops the Social Security Administration, for the purpose of determining Social Security coverage, from counting taxes paid by unauthorized workers, including those who posted earnings using made-up or stolen Social Security numbers. (p. 218-221)
- Restricts certain non-immigrant visa holders (such as tourists and students) from accessing Medicaid, SCHIP, and PPACA benefits. (p. 996-997).
- Compliance with welfare, public benefits laws: This amendment would prevent federal welfare funds from going to noncitizens. Under S. 744, the prohibitions for federal means-tested public benefits, described in Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), such as cash welfare, are extended to Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI), Blue Card holders and aliens admitted to the United States. However, under the Department of Health and Human Services’ current interpretation of its authority to waive federal welfare work requirements, welfare benefits could be paid to fugitive felons and parole violators; families where the adult has exceeded five years of federal welfare assistance; non-citizens with a five-year ban on assistance; and, medical services, such as abortion. This amendment explicitly prevents any cash welfare payments going to non-citizens and stipulates that Title IV of PRWORA cannot be waived. (p. 460-462)