Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) announced today that she has filed two amendments to the immigration reform legislation (S.744) currently being debated by the United States Senate. The first amendment will ensure the border is fully secure; the second amendment requires illegal immigrants to demonstrate English language proficiency prior to acquiring any provisional legal status.
“I have said all along that before we address the undocumented population, we must first fully secure the border. Failing to do so will result in more of the same: more illegal immigration and more illegal trafficking of persons, drugs, and weapons. It’s not just about our sovereignty; it’s about our security. This amendment outlines four specific border security goals that must be met within five years, including full, operational control of the southern border,” said Fischer.
“Nebraskans understand the importance of communicating in a standard language. Nearly a century ago, the Nebraska constitution adopted English as the state’s official language. Requiring the use of English doesn’t mean new immigrants should abandon their heritage – our diversity is integral to our Nation’s strength. But a standard language fosters a sense of community and national pride and cuts costs associated with requiring government services in multiple languages.”
FISCHER BORDER SECURITY AMENDMENT
Fischer’s border security amendment requires that four specific goals be met prior to the federal government taking any action regarding the undocumented population: (1) Achieve and maintain operational control of the southern border within 5 years of the date of enactment; (2) Achieve and maintain full situational awareness of the southern border within 5 years of the date of enactment; (3) Implement a biometric entry and exit system at all land, air, and sea ports of entry; and (4) Implement a mandatory employment verification system within 5 years of the date of enactment. These measures will ensure the United States is not in the same dire predicament further down the road.
Importantly, the amendment also:
- Re-establishes the definition of “operational control” as current law defines it: “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband”;
- Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop and implement a set of new comprehensive border security metrics to more effectively measure results and enforcement outcomes;
- Increases the number of Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers by 5,000 each;
- Denies Registered Provisional Immigration (RPI) status to any person who has been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence, child abuse, assault with bodily injury, or violation of a protective order;
- Removes a controversial provision allowing deportees and persons currently located outside the U.S. to apply for RPI status;
- Creates a new crime for illegal border crossing with the intent to aid, abet, or engage in a crime of terrorism; and
- Sets up a “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund” similar to S.744, but combines all funding streams and makes funds available for immediately implementing the Southern Border Security Strategy.
Full text of Fischer’s border security amendment is available HERE.
FISCHER ASSIMILATION AMENDMENT
Fischer’s assimilation amendment ensures illegal immigrants demonstrate English language proficiency prior to acquiring legal status (RPI). The bill’s primary authors argue English language requirements for green card holders are sufficient. However, there is a gaping loophole in subjecting only green card applicants, and no others seeking legal status, to a loosely defined English skills requirement.
In its current form, the underlying legislation allows legalized immigrants to renew their RPI status every six years, with no limit on the amount of times it can be renewed. They are never required to show minimal English proficiency, which this amendment remedies.
Full text of Fischer’s assimilation amendment is available HERE.