Was Issa’s Secret Immigration Enforcement Plan Tougher Than Expected? And Who Cares?

Was Issa’s Secret Immigration Enforcement Plan Tougher Than Expected? And Who Cares?

Two questions on immigration for hard-liners:

  • Is deporting all 11+ million illegal immigrants to the only acceptable solution?
  • How would you deport all 11+ million, realistically?

A leaked memo released on Monday shows that an immigration enforcement bill proposal that Rep. Darrell Issa floated to Politico in October does provide a pathway to citizenship for some, it may actually be tougher on illegal immigrants than many expected.

The previously unreleased one page memo for Issa’s Alien Accountability Act was released by liberal Florida immigration attorney Susan Pai. who blasted Issa’s proposals as ‘draconian’ and ‘unconstitutional and borderline insane’ — those may be high compliments coming from Pai.


Darrell Issa’s office confirmed the memo came from their office and gave Breitbart News a statement saying:

Rep. Issa continues to update and refine a proposal, however the lack of trust in this Administration’s commitment to border security and enforcement is a substantial obstacle to achieving broader reforms.  Ongoing discussions have continually identified new issues to address – key provisions and even the bill title are still under development.

The Alien Accountability Act was mentioned in an October, 2013 piece in Politico, where Issa said:

“It’s halfway – and it always has been – halfway between full amnesty and simply rejecting people,” Issa told POLITICO on Wednesday. “I think if we’re going to break this logjam that’s occurred for my whole 13 years I’ve been in Congress, we have to find middle ground.”

That ‘halfway between full amnesty’ quote gave pause to many who worry about politicians like Issa supporting an immigration reform policy that grants legal status to those in the country illegally. In potentially worrisome quote from the Politico interview, Issa said:

“If somebody has a nexus that would reasonably allow them to become permanent residents and American citizen, we should allow them to do that,” Issa said. He added: “Our view is that long before six years, people would be in those categories heading toward some other pathway, in a guest worker program, or of course, have left the country.”

At the time of Issa’s interview in October, 2013 some on the right expected that Issa’s bill was really amnesty in sheep’s clothing.

The actual bill was never actually introduced but the leaked memo appears to show that Issa’s plan was much tougher on the estimated eleven million illegal aliens currently in the United States than Issa’s critics assumed.

The proposal would force all illegal immigrants to register with the Department of Homeland Security in six months or, as the memo says:

Aliens failing to register and cooperate with DHS have window to depart voluntarily at the alien’s own expense. Failure to depart can result in criminal prosecution and increased civil penalties.

Issa’s Alien Accountability Act memo says it allows for “temporary, nonimmigrant status” but only under ‘strict criteria.” The memo says clearly something that temporary aliens who receive no entitlements, stating that they:

Must prove that they are able to economically support themselves and dependents. Any approved alien will be ineligible for public welfare benefits.

The leaked document contains two previously unreported requirements, namely that only one illegal immigrant from a family can register to with the DHS and that any illegal alien currently in deportation proceedings ‘must leave.’

Requiring ‘relatives of participating aliens’ to leave the country or face civil and criminal penalties would greatly reduce the number of eligible illegal immigrants and therefore is likely to appeal to Americans who want stronger enforcement.

That assumes, however, that the Obama administration would enforce it.

Issa’s idea of removing ‘aliens with pending deportation cases’ would likely face a legal challenge, however. Attorney Pai was especially brutal on the proposal to deport those currently in proceedings, saying the idea raises Constitutional and due process concerns and lecturing conservatives:

Darrell Issa mandates that if you’re in an immigration proceeding, back you go. That means everybody goes back; from Castro-hating Cubans seeking a better life to pale skinned Brits who fell in love with an American to Iranian Christians fearing religious persecution.

Issa has proposed a number of slightly similar pieces of legislation over the years, such as a 2003 bill also called the Alien Accountability Act. However, that legislation differed from what’s outlined in the leaked memo by focusing more on people crossing the border than those already here. The 2003 bill also did not include specific proposals in the leaked memo such as the required removal of people who are currently in deportation proceedings.

But does ‘tougher than expected’ matter in this political climate?

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for saying this!
    It’s simply not practical (economically or otherwise) to try to deport 11+ million people. We need a reform that concentrates on border security being tightened before we grant any other “amnesty” to keep more people from flooding across the border, but we can’t keep trying to pretend that we are going to kick all of these people out of the country.


Leave a Reply