Immigration

Paul Ryan’s Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Family Immigration Bills


6/27/2018 Update: Both The Goodlatte-McCaul proposal and the Paul Ryan proposal failed to pass the full House. The Goodlatte-McCaul proposal failed with a final vote of 193-231 and the Paul Ryan proposal failed with a final vote of 121-301.

What should be clear by now is that immigrant communities remain the most vulnerable group in Trump’s America. From day one, the Trump Administration has systematically targeted immigrants and their families, aiming to jail or deport as many people as possible. From enabling ICE to terrorize immigrants and their families, to making it harder for people to claim asylum at the border, and now ripping babies away from their parents and detaining them, Trump is fulfilling the promises he made during his campaign—and congressional Republicans are enabling him.

Trump is now using his cruel family separation policy as leverage in an attempt to get Congress to pass extreme, anti-immigrant bills. And, unsurprisingly, Paul Ryan is complying. Ryan plans to bring two bills to the floor that would NOT fix family separation, nor provide real relief for DACA recipients — both Trump-created problems. What they would do is radically change our immigration system, with immigrant families paying the price. Here’s what you need to know about the two bills.

Securing America’s Future Act (also known as “Goodlatte-McCaul”)

Originally introduced in January, the Goodlatte-McCaul immigration bill represents a radical restructuring of our immigration system. It was authored by some of the most anti-immigrant members of the House: Reps. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Martha McSally (AZ-02), Raúl Labrador (ID-01), and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05), and has been relentlessly pushed by the ultra-right wing House Freedom Caucus. Simply put, Goodlatte-McCaul is a xenophobe’s wishlist:

  • Eliminates the diversity visa program
  • Eliminates all family-sponsored green cards except for the spouses and minor children of citizens
  • Appropriates $24.8 billion dollars towards border security, including wall construction and more border patrol and customs agents
  • Allows the Department of Justice to withhold federal funds for sanctuary cities
  • Restricts access to asylum

Tacked onto this laundry list of immigration restriction are meager protections for Dreamers. People who were previously covered by DACA would have access to a renewable, multi-year lawful status with travel and work authorization. Under this bill, Dreamers still will not have a pathway to citizenship. They will remain second class Americans in perpetuity. It’s unacceptable.

Paul Ryan Proposal

Paul Ryan and Republican leadership have negotiated an alternative to Goodlatte-McCaul,  and are hawking this proposal as a “compromise” between moderate Republicans and the Freedom Caucus. However, it’s far from a compromise in terms of substance: it’s merely a repackaging of Trump’s goal of radically reducing the number of brown and black immigrants to this country, and increasing the deportation of brown and black immigrants who are already here. While it does offer a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, the process involves a convoluted points system that may take as long as 20 years to get through. There is no guarantee that DACA-eligible immigrants will ever obtain status through this proposal, yet even this narrow path comes at a steep cost:

  • Mandatory and indefinite detention for immigrant children and their parents
  • Eliminates  the diversity visa program
  • Eliminates family-sponsored green cards for siblings and married adult children
  • Appropriates $23 billion dollars  towards border security, including wall construction and over 50,000 more immigration agents
  • Restricts access to asylum

Make no mistake, this bill is an anti-immigrant wishlist.

Mythbusting: The Paul Ryan Proposal Does NOT Fix the Family Separation Crisis

Republicans are misleading the American public by saying that the Paul Ryan proposal combats family separation and the unaccompanied minor crisis. This is a lie. The Paul Ryan proposal simply requires that children and parents must be in immigration detention together while they go through criminal proceedings; in a nutshell, Ryan wants to detain families together instead of detaining families separately. It also eliminates the current requirement that children be released after 20 days, meaning that they could be held in detention indefinitely—and ultimately separated if the parent is sent to jail.

Let’s be clear: jailing immigrant children with their parents is not the solution to ripping children away from their parents.

Bottom Line

Both of these bills hold Dreamers hostage in exchange for massive spending on the border wall and radical reductions in the number of brown and black immigrants entering this country. Republicans—be they “moderate,” members of the Freedom Caucus, or in leadership—are using Dreamers as a political ploy while they advance the Trump administration’s racist agenda. Their bills are despicable, and must not pass.

What Can You Do?

At the end of the day, Dreamers’ best chance at a clean pathway to citizenship is in a Congress where Republican enablers have been voted out, replaced by progressives who will stand up for immigrant youth. That said, members of the House need to hear from you that these proposals are unacceptable. We’re including a call script below, with different asks based on who your member is. Republican leadership will be whipping their members hard, particularly on the Ryan proposal—so Members need to hear from you.

CALL SCRIPT

If your member is a Democrat

Caller: Hi! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling today to tell [Representative] to vote NO on the Paul Ryan proposal. This bill takes  Dreamers and child migrants hostage in exchange for dramatic spending on the wall and racist changes to our immigration system that prevent people from reuniting with their family members. If [Representative] supports immigrants, they will vote no.

Staffer: Thanks for calling. [Representative] is currently evaluating the proposal and is hoping to make a decision soon. [Representative] hopes Congress comes to a solution that provides Dreamers a pathway to citizenship and ends the current family separation crisis.

Caller: There has been a lot of misinformation about the Paul Ryan proposal and what exactly it does regarding the family separation crisis. It would allow for the indefinite detention of immigrant families in DHS custody while they go through criminal proceedings, which is unacceptable. Republicans are holding these children and Dreamers hostage to enable Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. [Representative] must vote no.

Staffer: I’ll pass along your thoughts to [Representative].

Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what [Representative] decides to do.

If your member is a Republican

Caller: Hi! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling today to tell [Representative] to vote NO on the Paul Ryan proposal. This bill takes Dreamers and child migrants hostage in exchange for dramatic spending on the wall and racist changes to our immigration system that prevent people from reuniting with their family members. If [Representative] supports keeping families together, [he/she] will vote no on this proposals.

Staffer: Thanks for calling. [Representative] is deeply concerned by the ongoing family separation crisis, but [she / he] thinks it is important that we also fix our broken immigration system, secure our borders, and ensure that people are respecting and obeying our immigration laws.

Caller: There has been lots of misinformation about the Paul Ryan proposal, and I want to be clear: the Paul Ryan proposal would allow immigrant families and children to be detained indefinitely, which is unacceptable. Additionally, this bill includes radically anti-immigrant provisions. Dreamers and the children at the border cannot be held hostage for Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. If [Representative] cares about immigrants, [he/she] will vote no.

Staffer: I’ll pass along your thoughts to [Representative].

Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what [Representative] decides to do.