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The White House, May 3, 1995
"We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a Nation of laws. It
is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to
permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in
recent years, and we must do more to stop it."
-- President Clintons 1995 State of the Union Message
The President today transmitted to the Congress a legislative proposal entitled the "Immigration Enforcement Improvements Act of 1995." This legislation is part of the package of enforcement initiatives the President announced in his State of the Union Message on January 24, 1995, to aggressively secure our borders, speed the deportation of illegal aliens, and better enforce the law prohibiting the employment of illegal aliens.
This legislation will complement the President's unprecedented FY 1996 immigration budget to fund border control and immigration enforcement initiatives and his February 7, 1995, Presidential Memorandum, which directs the heads of the Executive Departments and Agencies to take specific steps to fight illegal immigration. These steps include: strengthened border control, intensified worksite enforcement and work authorization verification efforts, expanded detention and deportation capability (especially of criminal aliens), additional coordination of deterrence strategies in selected metropolitan areas, improved benefits verification, continuing work with States to obtain more Federal help for certain State costs, and emphasizing international cooperative efforts to jointly resolve issues of illegal immigration.
Some of the most significant provisions of the legislation, which will strengthen the Administration's strategy for combatting illegal immigration, include those to:
* Authorize the Attorney General to increase the Border Patrol by no fewer than 700 agents and add sufficient personnel to support those agents for fiscal years 1996, 1997, and 1998.
* Authorize the Attorney General to increase the number of border inspectors to a level adequate to assure full staffing.
* Authorize an Employment Verification Pilot Program. The program would test various methods of verifying work authorization status, including using the Social Security Administration and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) databases. The Pilot Program will determine the most cost-effective, fraud-resistant, and nondiscriminatory means of removing a significant incentive to illegal immigration -- employment in the United States.
* Reduce the number of documents that may be used for employment authorization.
* Increase substantially the penalties for alien smuggling, illegal reentry, failure to depart, employer violations, and immigration document fraud.
* Streamline deportation and exclusion procedures so that the INS can expeditiously remove more criminal aliens from the United States.
* Allow aliens to be excluded from entering the United States during extraordinary migration situations or when the aliens are arriving on board smuggling vessels. Persons with a credible fear of persecution in their countries of nationality would be allowed to enter the United States to apply for asylum.
* Expand the use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute to authorize its use to pursue alien smuggling organizations; permit the INS, with judicial authorization, to intercept wire, electronic, and oral communications of persons involved in alien smuggling operations; and make subject to forfeiture all property, both real and personal, used or intended to be used to smuggle aliens.
* Authorize Federal courts to require criminal aliens to consent to their deportation as a condition of probation.
* Permit new sanctions to be imposed against countries that refuse to accept the deportation of their nationals from the United States. The proposal will allow the Secretary of State to refuse issuance of all visas to nationals of those countries.
* Authorize a Border Services User Fee to help add additional inspectors at high volume ports-of-entry. The new inspectors will facilitate legal crossings; prevent entry by illegal aliens; and stop cross-border drug smuggling. (Border States, working with local communities, would decide whether the fee should be imposed in order to improve infrastructure.)
This legislative proposal, together with the President's FY 1996 Budget and the Presidential Memorandum signed on February 7th, will continue this Administration's unprecedented actions to combat illegal immigration while facilitating legal immigration. Our comprehensive strategy will protect the integrity of our borders and laws without dulling the luster of our Nation's proud immigrant heritage.
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