Thomas Homan, the acting chief at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a speech that if Congress passes a so-called “clean” Dream Act that would legalize a cohort of illegal immigrants who came into the U.S. as minors, will create a new surge of illegal immigration. Homan said that the new wave of illegal immigrants will need amnesty a decade or two in the future. The so-called Dreamers benefit from an Obama-era policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows certain immigrants to apply for a deferral of their deportation. 

Speaking at an event organized by the Center for Immigration Studies, Homan said that the debate on Capitol Hill over the so-called Dream Act will encourage migrants to make the dangerous journey north to cross the U.S. border. Homan -- who is the nation’s chief deportation officer -- said that in his 30+ years of experience, that is what happens “every time you talk about some sort of benefit” such as legalization of illegal immigrants. “It certainly increases illegal crossings, that’s been proven for the last three decades I’ve been around,” Homan said.

Homan is preparing to retire from the agency where he has worked as temporary director.

During his address, he said that Congress must address the root causes of migration. Without a solution, he said that the U.S. may be setting the groundwork for future amnesties.

The House of Representatives is preparing to have a debate on DACA. Democrats, and some Republicans, support a bill that would grant full citizenship rights to illegals in exchange for a study of future border security needs. Homan said that immigration laws are easily circumvented and thus entice migrants to enter the country illegally. He suggested that approving mandatory E-Verify checks and punishing so-called sanctuary cities should be included in any legislation Congress is contemplating to address illegal immigration. In response to criticism from some quarters that has compared U.S. Border agents to Nazis, Homan said that federal law calls for illegal immigrants to be deported or even face criminal charges for how they entered the U.S. He said, “If you think ICE is racist, is Congress racist because they enact these laws?”

Charges of racism were cast at the U.S. Border Patrol in recent days after an agent detained two female American citizens at a convenience store in Montana who he heard speaking Spanish. The incident occurred in Havre, Montana, which is a town approximately 35 mile south of the U.S.-Canada border.

Immigration-rights activists often cite academic literature to bolster their claims that racism is at the root of the enforcement of federal immigration law. For instance, in "Institutional racism in Enforcing Immigration Law" by Doris Marie Provine in the 2013 edition of Science Direct, the article states: "The United States is committed to aggressive efforts to remove unauthorized immigrants while honoring its commitment to race neutrality. Yet immigration enforcement has disproportionately targeted Mexicans and Central Americans. The racial bias can be found at both the federal and local levels, where local police are becoming increasingly involved in locating unauthorized immigrants. The local example featured here is Arizona because of its historical relationship with Mexico and its enthusiasm for immigration enforcement. I find that the current mix of federal and local enforcement discriminates racially through profiling, hyper-surveillance, abusive stops, problematic searches, and unwarranted detention.”

House Republicans are in the midst of a debate on DACA. Democrats, and some Republicans, support a bill that would grant full citizenship rights to illegals in exchange for a study of future border security needs. Homan said that immigration laws are easily circumvented and thus entice migrants to enter the country illegally. He suggested that approving mandatory E-Verify checks and punishing so-called sanctuary cities should be included in any legislation Congress is contemplating to address illegal immigration. In response to criticism from some quarters that has compared U.S. Border agents to Nazis, Homan said that federal law calls for illegal immigrants to be deported or even face criminal charges for how they entered the U.S. He said, “If you think ICE is racist, is Congress racist because they enact these laws?”

Charges of racism were cast at the U.S. Border Patrol in recent days after an agent detained two women at a convenience store in Montana who he heard speaking Spanish. The incident occurred in Havre, Montana, which is a town approximately 35 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border. Immigration activists often cite academic literature to bolster their claims that racism is at the root of the enforcement of federal immigration law. For instance, in "Institutional racism in Enforcing Immigration Law" by Doris Marie Provine in the 2013 edition of Science Direct, which claimed that immigration enforcement disproportionately targets migrants from Mexico and Central America and that bias exists in law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels. Provine wrote: “I find that the current mix of federal and local enforcement discriminates racially through profiling, hyper-surveillance, abusive stops, problematic searches, and unwarranted detention.”

GOP internal debate

Republicans seeking improved border security are expected to clash with those in their caucus who are pushing for a procedural measure to allow a vote on DACA legislation. Talks between Republicans have thus far failed to bring about an agreement. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who is counted as a moderate, said he had held "good talks" with conservative Republicans over the Memorial Day break, but no further headway was reported. Curbelo was joined in May by Reps. Will Hurd (R-TX) and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) when they unveiled the discharge petition to allow floor votes on four immigration proposals. The plan with the most votes over 218 would pass. House Republican leaders do not, however, support the discharge petition.

This week, the discharge petition needs just five more votes for success. Two of those votes must come from Republicans. Closed-door negotiations were underway on Tuesday to find a way forward on DACA, and more such meetings are expected on Thursday. Republicans who want to see a clean DACA bill passed have been insistent that they cannot support a bill that does not offer Dreamers a way toward permanent legal status and eventual citizenship. This is supported by almost all Democrats. Pro-immigration Republicans and their Democrat allies remain confident that can proceed with forcing a vote. According to House rules for discharge petitions, Friday is the deadline for signatures and a vote this month. Nearly two dozen Republican House members have signed the petition, thus challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, Texas Democratic Reps. Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela signed the discharge petition. "By signing this discharge petition, I do so with the intent of giving 800,000 young people — young Americans — peace of mind and the ability to remain in the only country they call home," Gonzalez and Vela wrote in a joint statement.
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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