[House Hearing, 113 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
ERICA'S IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION AND
ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
FEBRUARY 5, 2013
Serial No. 113-1
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Available via the World Wide Web: http://judiciary.house.gov
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COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
Wisconsin JERROLD NADLER, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina ROBERT C. ``BOBBY'' SCOTT,
LAMAR SMITH, Texas Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama ZOE LOFGREN, California
DARRELL E. ISSA, California SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia STEVE COHEN, Tennessee
STEVE KING, Iowa HENRY C. ``HANK'' JOHNSON, Jr.,
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona Georgia
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas PEDRO R. PIERLUISI, Puerto Rico
JIM JORDAN, Ohio JUDY CHU, California
TED POE, Texas TED DEUTCH, Florida
JASON CHAFFETZ, Utah LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania KAREN BASS, California
TREY GOWDY, South Carolina CEDRIC RICHMOND, Louisiana
MARK AMODEI, Nevada SUZAN DelBENE, Washington
RAUL LABRADOR, Idaho JOE GARCIA, Florida
BLAKE FARENTHOLD, Texas HAKEEM JEFFRIES, New York
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia
RON DeSANTIS, Florida
KEITH ROTHFUS, Pennsylvania
Shelley Husband, Chief of Staff & General Counsel
Perry Apelbaum, Minority Staff Director & Chief Counsel
C O N T E N T S
FEBRUARY 5, 2013
The Honorable Bob Goodlatte, a Representative in Congress from
the State of Virginia, and Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary 1
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress
from the State of Michigan, and Ranking Member, Committee on
the Judiciary.................................................. 3
The Honorable Luis V. Gutierrez, a Representative in Congress
from the State of Illinois, and Member, Committee on the
The Honorable Trey Gowdy, a Representative in Congress from the
State of South Carolina, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary 4
The Honorable Zoe Lofgren, a Representative in Congress from the
State of California, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary.... 6
Vivek Wadhwa, Director of Research, Pratt School of Engineering,
Oral Testimony................................................. 13
Prepared Statement............................................. 16
Michael S. Teitelbaum, Senior Advisor, Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation, Wertheim Fellow, Harvard Law School
Oral Testimony................................................. 19
Prepared Statement............................................. 22
Supplemental Material.......................................... 340
Puneet Arora, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.E., Vice President, Immigration
Oral Testimony................................................. 31
Prepared Statement............................................. 34
Honorable Julian Castro, Mayor, San Antonio, TX
Oral Testimony................................................. 45
Prepared Statement............................................. 47
Julie Myers Wood, President, Guidepost Solutions LLC
Oral Testimony................................................. 262
Prepared Statement............................................. 264
Chris Crane, President, National Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Council 118, American Federation of Government
Oral Testimony................................................. 278
Prepared Statement............................................. 279
Jessica M. Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, Center for
Oral Testimony................................................. 282
Prepared Statement............................................. 284
Muzaffar A. Chishti, Director, Migration Policy Institute's
office at New York University Law School
Oral Testimony................................................. 288
Prepared Statement............................................. 291
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Spencer Bachus, a
Representative in Congress from the State of Alabama, and
Member, Committee on the Judiciary............................. 9
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Doug Collins, a
Representative in Congress from the State of Georgia, and
Member, Committee on the Judiciary............................. 10
Material submitted by the Honorable Zoe Lofgren, a Representative
in Congress from the State of California, and Member, Committee
on the Judiciary............................................... 63
Material submitted by the Honorable Spencer Bachus, a
Representative in Congress from the State of Alabama, and
Member, Committee on the Judiciary............................. 220
Material submitted by the Honorable Bob Goodlatte, a
Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia, and
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary........................... 224
Material submitted by the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a
Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and Member,
Committee on the Judiciary..................................... 310
Additional Material submitted by the Honorable Sheila Jackson
Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and
Member, Committee on the Judiciary............................. 313
Material submitted by the Honorable Judy Chu, a Representative in
Congress from the State of California, and Member, Committee on
the Judiciary.................................................. 317
OFFICIAL HEARING RECORD
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record but not Reprinted
Report of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) titled Immigration
Enforcement in the United States, the Rise of a Formidable
Machinery, by Dorris Meissner, Donald M. Kerwin, Muzaffar Chishti,
and Claire Bergeron, submitted by Muzaffar A. Chishti, Director,
Migration Policy Institute's Office, New York University Law
School. The report is available at the Committee and can also be
AMERICA'S IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION AND
ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS AGAINST ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2013
House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary
The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:28 a.m., in room
2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Bob
Goodlatte (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Goodlatte, Smith, Chabot, Bachus,
Issa, Forbes, King, Franks, Gohmert, Jordan, Poe, Chaffetz,
Marino, Gowdy, Amodei, Labrador, Farenthold, Holding, Collins,
DeSantis, Rothfus, Conyers, Nadler, Watt, Lofgren, Jackson Lee,
Johnson, Pierluisi, Chu, Gutierrez, Bass, Richmond, DelBene,
Garcia and Jeffries.
Staff Present: (Majority) Shelley Husband, Chief of Staff &
General Counsel; Branden Ritchie, Deputy Chief of Staff & Chief
Counsel; Allison Halataei, Parliamentarian & General Counsel;
George Fishman, Counsel; Kelsey Deterding, Clerk; (Minority)
Perry Apelbaum, Staff Director & Chief Counsel; Danielle Brown,
Parliamentarian; and David Shahoulian, Counsel.
Mr. Goodlatte. Good morning. This hearing of the Committee
on the Judiciary on America's Immigration System: Opportunities
for Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Laws Against Illegal
Immigration will come to order. Today, we hold the first
hearing of the Judiciary Committee in the 113th Congress, and I
will recognize myself for an opening statement after I welcome
the Ranking Member.
This year, Congress will engage in a momentous debate on
immigration. This will be a massive undertaking with
implications for the future direction of our Nation. As such,
we must move forward methodically and evaluate this issue in
stages, taking care to fully vet the pros and cons of each
This debate is often emotionally charged. That is because
it is not about abstract statistics and concepts, but rather
about real people with real problems trying to provide a better
life for their families. This holds true for U.S. citizens, for
legal residents, and for those unlawfully residing in the
United States. I urge the Members of this Committee to keep
that in mind as we begin our examination.
America is a Nation of immigrants. Everyone among us can go
back a few or several generations to our own relatives who came
to America in search of a better life for themselves and their
But we are also a Nation of laws. I think we can all agree
that our Nation's immigration system is in desperate need of
repair, and it is not working as efficiently and fairly as it
should be. The American people and Members of Congress have a
lot of questions about how our legal immigration system should
work. They have a lot of questions about why our immigration
laws have not always been sufficiently enforced. And they have
a lot of questions about how a large-scale legalization program
would work, what it would cost, and how it would prevent
illegal immigration in the future.
Immigration reform must honor both our foundation of the
rule of law and our history as a Nation of immigrants. This
issue is too complex and too important to not examine each
piece in detail. We can't rush to judgment. That is why the
Committee's first hearing will begin to explore ways to fix our
broken system. Future hearings will take place in the
Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee under the
leadership of Chairman Gowdy.
Today we will begin our examination of the U.S. immigration
system by evaluating our current legal system and ways to
improve it, as well as the history of the enforcement of our
The United States has the most generous legal immigration
system in the world--providing permanent residence to over a
million immigrants a year. And yet, all is not well.
Prospective immigrant workers with approved petitions often
have to wait years for green cards to become available. So do
their employers. It has gotten so bad that the immigrant
scholar, Vivek Wadhwa, who will be testifying before the
Committee today, states that ``if I were a young immigrant
technologist in my mid-thirties, stuck on an H-1B visa in
America, and trapped in a middling job, I would probably have
decided to return to Australia or India.'' What does this
foretell for America's continued economic competitiveness?
Furthermore, legal permanent residents of the United States
have to endure years of separation before they can be united
with their spouses and minor children.
Our laws also erect unnecessary hurdles for farmers who put
food on America's tables. Our agriculture guest worker program
is simply unworkable and needs to be reformed. At the same
time, we allocate many thousands of green cards on the basis of
pure luck through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, and we
allocate many thousands of green cards to nonnuclear family
members. Some characterize this as ``chain migration,'' which,
former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has recently written, ``does
not promote the Nation's economic interests.''
It is instructive to note that while America selects about
12 percent of our legal immigrants on the basis of their
education and skills, the other main immigrant-receiving
countries of Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada each
select over 60 percent of their immigrants on this basis.
These are just a few of the issues plaguing our legal
immigration system, not to mention the larger question of how
to address the estimated 10 million individuals unlawfully
present in the U.S. Whether or not America should become more
like our global competitors, we do need to have a serious
conversation about the goals of America's legal immigration
Today, we will also discuss the extent to which past and
present Administrations have enforced our immigration laws, and
whether we believe those efforts have been sufficient and
effective. This is a crucial question. The year 1986 was the
last time Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform. At
that time, Congress granted legal status to millions who were
unlawfully present in exchange for new laws against the
employment of illegal immigrants in order to prevent the need
for future amnesties. However, these ``employer sanctions''
were never seriously implemented or enforced. Even Alan
Simpson, the Senate author of the 1986 legislation, has
concluded that, despite the best of intentions, the law did not
satisfy ``its expectations or its promises.''
This Committee needs to take the time to learn from the
past so that our efforts to reform our immigration laws do not
repeat the same mistakes. Regardless of the conclusions of this
national conversation, I think we can all agree that America
will remain true to our heritage as a Nation of immigrants as
well as a Nation of laws.
I look forward to the testimony of all of today's
witnesses, and now I turn to our Ranking Member, the gentleman
from Michigan, Mr. Conyers.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Chairman Goodlatte. This is an
important hearing, and you started off on a very important
analysis of where we are. And I am not here to critique your
presentation, but to make my own. But I could summarize what I
think we are going to be addressing in three phrases: one,
comprehensive; two, a path to citizenship; and three, border
security more than ever.
Well, let us take the one we can most easily agree on is
border security. It is improving. Well, there is always
somebody that is going to get through, but I think that we have
a general consensus about the ways that we may do a better job,
and I would like to just throw out that there may be a few
Members of the House Judiciary Committee that would like to go
to the border and examine this and talk with those who are
responsible for it. And I propose with the Chairman that we
continue this discussion as these hearings proceed.
Now, the notion of comprehensive immigration reform has
been pushed around and bandied about, but the fact of the
matter is that this is one big challenge that I don't think we
can handle on a piecemeal basis. I mean, my experience with
this subject tells me that with 10-11 million undocumented
people living among us, we have got to approach this in terms
of a more holistic way.
Now, I think that there must be an earned legalization
process that is fair, but firm, and that is not--that is not
subject to a lot of manipulation. And, you know, to my
colleagues, there is in some quarters among our citizens more
agreement than there is sometimes in this body. And I am
hoping, and I believe that it can be done, that this Committee
will rise above our political instincts and try to serve the
Nation and these American citizens in a very important way.
I hope no one uses the term ``illegal immigrants'' here
today. The people in this country are not illegal. They are out
of status, they are new Americans that are immigrants, and I
think that we can forge a path to citizenship that will be able
to pass muster. We have got a Senatorial bipartisan support
working very nicely thus far. And if it pleases the Chairman, I
would like to yield the rest of my limited time--little time I
have left to the gentleman Mr. Luis Gutierrez, who is now back
on the Committee, and who I celebrate.
Mr. Gutierrez. Thank you.
Mr. Goodlatte. Mr. Conyers, the time has expired, but in
recognition of the return of Mr. Gutierrez and your generosity,
we will yield him 1 minute to close your remarks.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Gutierrez. Thank you so much, Mr. Conyers, Congressman
Conyers, and Chairman Goodlatte. I expressed to Chairman
Goodlatte that I had come back to the Committee, giving up 20
years of seniority on Financial Services, because I believe
that this Committee is that important. The Chairman said to me,
don't put too much pressure on me.
I just wanted to share that I didn't come here to undermine
anyone's work and to challenge anybody's work, but to work in a
collaborative spirit with you, Chairman Goodlatte, with my
colleagues here, to frame a comprehensive immigration solution
to our broken immigration system.
I want to welcome the witnesses that are here today and
just to share with everyone this issue is important to me. And
I didn't come here with an engineering degree, with a Ph.D. My
mom had a sixth-grade education, my dad didn't graduate from
high school, but I think they did pretty well with their son.
And I have come here simply to say that while I don't hold
any of these prestigious degrees either, that immigrants have
come here to do and to sweat and to toil in this country, and
that if we could just part from the premise, and that is, as
Gandhi might have said today, right, let us have politics with
principles, because the absence of one really leads us down a
very treacherous road that I don't think America wants to live
So I thank you, Chairman Goodlatte, and I really look
forward to working with all of my wonderful colleagues here,
and especially Zoe Lofgren and Mr. Gowdy. I am looking forward
to that Subcommittee experience with the both of you. Thank you
so much for allowing me to express myself here this morning.
Mr. Goodlatte. We are glad to have you back, Mr. Gutierrez.
And now it is my pleasure to recognize the Chairman of the
Immigration Subcommittee, the gentleman from South Carolina Mr.
Gowdy, for his opening statement.
Mr. Gowdy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
A couple of years ago, a young African author spoke at a
high school in South Carolina. Mr. Chairman, she was a
beautiful, talented young woman, and when she looked at her arm
to brush away the hair from her eyes, I saw something I have
never seen before, at least not in this country, which was
someone's hands that had been cut off with a machete.
When she was 12 years old living in Sierra Leone, rebel
soldiers came to her village during the civil war. She tried to
run. She tried to hide. She asked God to let her die. But the
soldiers found her, and they cut off her hands and mockingly
told her to go to the President and ask for another pair. And
that 12-year-old girl, Mr. Chairman, remembered thinking to
herself, what is a President?
Collectively, Mr. Chairman, we all understand why people
want to come to this country to escape persecution, to taste
freedom and liberty, to know that hard work and education and a
level playing field can combine forces to transform lives.
Escaping conflict and hardship is one thing, Mr. Chairman;
picking a new home is another. And America is picked because we
are a country that embraces justice. We reward fairness. We are
an a Nation of laws. The poorest of the poor has the same
standing in court as the richest of the rich. We believe in the
even application of the law because law provides order,
structure, predictability, and security.
What we cannot become is a Nation where the law is enforced
selectively or not at all. What we cannot become, Mr. Chairman,
is a country where the laws apply to some of the people some of
The President from time to time, Mr. Chairman, says that he
wants a country where everyone plays by the same rules. With
respect, they aren't called rules in this country, they are
called laws, and each of us takes an oath to enforce them,
including those with which we may disagree, because when the
law is ignored or applied in an uneven way, we begin to see the
erosion of the very foundation upon which this Republic was
built. And make no mistake, Mr. Chairman, as surely as today
one may benefit from the noncompliance or nonenforcement of a
law, that same person will be clamoring to have the law
enforced in another capacity.
So we seek to harmonize two foundational precepts, Mr.
Chairman. Number one is humanity, and number two is the respect
for the rule of law. And history is whispering, as you noted,
Mr. Chairman, that we have traveled this road before. In 1986,
we were told that immigration had been settled once at for all.
We were told that in exchange for secure borders and employment
verification, those who entered the country illegally would not
suffer the full panoply of legal consequences. In the minds of
many, Mr. Chairman, the country got amnesty, but is still
waiting 25 years later on the border security and the
So here we are back again, asking our fellow citizens to
trust us, and many, despite ourselves, Mr. Chairman, remain
open to legislative expressions of humanity and grace, but they
will be watching skeptically to see if we are serious about
enforcing the rule of law. Are we serious about ending the
insidious practice of human trafficking? Are we serious about
punishing those who prey on folks with false promises and
fraudulent documents? Are we serious about border security and
employment verification? Are we serious about making this the
last last time we have this conversation, or are we simply
playing political games with people's lives and undercutting
the respect for the rule of law, which ironically is the very
reason they seek to come to this country in the first place? We
I yield back.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
And it is now my pleasure to recognize the gentlewoman from
California, Ms. Lofgren, the Ranking Member of the Immigration
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I congratulate you on holding this hearing,
our Committee's first hearing, on our broken immigration
system. I appreciate that gesture, as I do your recent public
statement that you are open to reform, and that America does
not need a ``trail of tears'' to the border.
I congratulate Mr. Gowdy as well on his chairmanship, and I
look forward to working with him to find that balance between
respect for the rule of law as well as our morality and
humanity. I look forward to working with both of you in a
bipartisan manner on these reform efforts.
But as we move forward, we need to recognize that our
broken system does immeasurable harm every day that it goes
unreformed. A trail of tears to the border is not that far off
from the system we currently have. Every day our system tears
families apart, husbands from their wives, parents from their
children. If we want a moral and humane system, we have a lot
of work to do. America is ready for us to do that work.
I participated in the immigration debate during my 18 years
in Congress and long before that as an immigration attorney and
law professor teaching immigration law. Today the country is
past the point of debating whether we need reform. They are
simply counting on us to get it done. And the growing
bipartisan consensus means, I think, that we can get it done.
Conservative leaders from Jeb Bush and Karl Rove to Sean
Hannity and Bill O'Reilly have signaled support for
comprehensive reform efforts including a path for undocumented
immigrants. Even Rush Limbaugh told Senator Marco Rubio that
his efforts for immigration reform are admirable and noteworthy
and recognize reality.
We have also seen Members in both parties in the House and
Senate voice strong support for immigration reform,we know,
with the bipartisan Blueprint for Immigration Reform released
last week by eight Senators, and there are similar bipartisan
discussions in the House. It will take such bipartisanship to
solve this problem, and I am hopeful that this is the year we
finally enact top-to-bottom reform of our immigration laws.
As we will hear today, our current system is dysfunctional
in many ways, keeping families apart for decades and hindering
economic growth and American global competitiveness. Designing
a sensible, legal immigration system is critical to preserving
the rule of law. We need a legal immigration system that works
so that workers and families who want to come here are able to
go through that system rather than around it.
Yet, despite the incredible need to reform the system, all
we have done is enforce the heck out of it, especially over the
last several years. We are now removing record numbers of
undocumented immigrants each year, while attempted border
crossings are at their lowest levels in more than 40 years.
According to experts, net flight migration from Mexico is now
zero and likely lower than that.
Every year we spend more money on immigration enforcement,
nearly $18 billion per year, than on all other Federal law
enforcement combined. All of this enforcement hasn't solved the
problem, and it should not be used to delay top-to-bottom
reform of our laws.
What needs to be done is not that complicated. We know a
reform bill must include additional border enforcement as well
as employment eligibility verification to secure the workforce.
We need to reform our employment visa system so that tech
companies, farmers, and other U.S. businesses have access to
needed workers. And we need to reform the family system to help
keep families together. We also need to provide a way for 10-
or 11 million undocumented immigrants to come out of the
shadows, get right with the law in a way that is fair and
A few words of caution. First, partial legalization as some
are suggesting is a dangerous path. We need only to look at
France and Germany to see how unwise it is to create a
permanent underclass. What makes America special is that people
come here, assimilate, and become American with all of the
rights and responsibilities that citizenship bestows. With the
exception of slavery and the Chinese Exclusion Act, our laws
have never barred persons from becoming citizens, and we should
not start now.
Second, we must not fall into the trap of calling for
piecemeal reform. As Governor Jeb Bush recently wrote in the
Wall Street Journal, Congress should avoid such quick fixes and
commit itself instead to comprehensive immigration reform.
Immigration, as he points out, is a system, and it needs
Finally, we must make it easier to keep critical workers
who can keep America competitive and grow our economy, but we
should not do so by closing the door on family-based
immigrants. Family unity has been the bedrock of our
immigration system since the Immigration and Nationality Act
was enacted in 1952.
In addition to strengthening American families, family-
based immigration plays an important role in bolstering our
economy. Research shows that immigrants, most of whom come here
through the family system, are twice as likely to start
businesses in the U.S. as native-born people, and immigrant
businesses, including small non-tech businesses, have grown at
2.5 times the national average.
I often say I am glad that Google is in Mountain View
rather than Moscow. Like Intel and Yahoo!, Google was founded
by an immigrant, but it is worth noting that none of the
founders of these companies came to the United States because
of their skills. Sergey Brin, Jerry Yang, Andy Grove all came
here through our family-based system or because they were
refugees or the children of refugees. What made these founders
special were the traits they share with immigrants of all
kinds: entrepreneurism, risk taking, a desire for a better
life. These are among the most admired values in our country,
as it should be, because it is the secret sauce that makes
From Alexander Hamilton to Andrew Carnegie to Albert
Einstein, we are a Nation forged by immigrants. It is time we
fully embrace that immigration is good for our country. It is
time we do our part to devise a way for the people who have
enough get-up-and-go to get up and go and come to our shores,
and bring their talent and contributions to our society and to
our economy, and to become Americans with us.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentlewoman.
Without objection, all other Members' opening statements
will be made a part of the record.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Bachus follows:]
[The prepared statement of Mr. Collins follows:]
Mr. Goodlatte. And we will turn now to our very
distinguished first panel of witnesses. And I will begin by
introducing that first panel.
Our first witness on this panel is Mr. Vivek Wadhwa, a
visiting scholar at the University of California-Berkeley, a
senior research associate at Harvard Law School, and Director
of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research
Commercialization at Duke University. He is also a faculty
member and advisor at Singularity University, and writes a
regular column for both The Washington Post and Bloomberg
Last year, his book, The Immigrant Exodus: Why America is
Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, was
named a ``Book of the Year'' by The Economist magazine.
Mr. Wadhwa received his Bachelor's degree from the
University of Canberra in Australia, and received his M.B.A.
from New York University's Stern School of Business, and we
thank him for coming today.
Our next witness is Mr. Michael Teitelbaum, who currently
serves as the Senior Director of the Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation. From 1980 to 1990, he served as 1 of 12
Commissioners of the U.S. Commission for the Study of
International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development.
Prior to this he served as a Commissioner of the U.S.
Commission on Immigration Reform, which completed its work in
Mr. Teitelbaum received his Bachelor's degree from Reed
College, and subsequently earned his Ph.D. in Demography from
Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. We are glad
to have him joining us today.
The third member of this first panel is Dr. Puneet Arora,
currently serving as the Vice President for Immigration Voice,
a coalition of 75,000 highly skilled foreign professionals. He
also serves as the Medical Director for Genentech, a biotech
firm in San Francisco, California. Dr. Arora joined Amgen in
2008 as Clinical Research Medical Director, then Genentech in
2011. He has been a volunteer with Immigration Voice since
2006, and leads the Physician's chapter as well as the
Minnesota and Southern California chapters.
Dr. Arora received his medical degree from the All India
Institute of Medical Sciences in 1994. He completed his
residency training in Internal Medicine at Southern Illinois
School of Medicine in 1999, and received fellowship training in
Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at New York University
School of Medicine. He practiced in a medically underserved
area and was subsequently granted a National Interest Waiver
for permanent residence in the United States by USCIS. We thank
Dr. Arora for serving as a witness today as well.
Our final witness is the Honorable Julian Castro, mayor of
San Antonio, Texas. First elected in 2009 and reelected in
2011, Mayor Castro earned his undergraduate degree from
Stanford University with honors and distinction in 1996, and a
juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2000. In 2001, at
the age of 26, Castro became the youngest elected city
councilman at that time in San Antonio history. Mayor Castro's
brother, Joaquin, serves in the U.S. House of Representatives.
We are pleased to have the mayor with us today, and I will
turn to the gentlewoman from Texas Ms. Jackson Lee for 15
seconds of additional welcome to the mayor.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very
Mayor Castro is particularly well placed and unique for
this role as a witness today. I would like to welcome his as a
fellow Texan. I know that his brother, a Congressperson, Member
of the U.S. House of Representatives, has already done so, but
as a mayor of one of the world's international cities, who sees
people coming from all backgrounds, you are well placed to
understand what immigration and the opportunities and
contributions that immigrants and those who come to this
country for better opportunity can contribute, and I thank you
so very much for your leadership of your city and your presence
here today. Welcome, fellow Texan.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Ms. Jackson Lee. And I now turn
to the former Chairman of the Committee and the gentleman from
San Antonio, Texas, Mr. Smith for a comparably calculated 15
seconds of welcome.
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will try to stick to
I, too, wanted to welcome the mayor of my hometown, San
Antonio. Mayor, as we both know, San Antonio is a wonderfully
livable, tricultural city, and you have done a great job
representing us in so many ways. So welcome today. And also I
want to say to you that I enjoy serving with your brother in
Congress, who is sitting behind you as well. And we will talk
more and look forward to your testimony as well.
Mr. Goodlatte. Welcome to all of our witnesses, and we will
begin with Mr. Wadhwa.
TESTIMONY OF VIVEK WADHWA, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, PRATT SCHOOL
OF ENGINEERING, DUKE UNIVERSITY
Mr. Wadhwa. Chairman Goodlatte, Members of the House
Committee, thank you for giving me a chance to speak to you.
You know, being here in D.C., it is very easy to be
pessimistic. Everything about here, we worry about China,
whether they are going to rule the future. We worry about
shortages. We worry about everything in the world. And when you
are worried about a lack of resources, shortages, and you worry
about countries like China taking over the world, you become
very pessimistic. You begin to wonder if there are shortages of
engineers or a glut of engineers. In fact, some of the debates
we will have is are we graduating too many scientists?
All of this is based on a perspective of yesterday. You
know, the United States has a way of reinventing itself. Every
30 or 40 years we get really, really worried about ourselves,
and we start developing an inferiority complex, wondering why
the rest of the world is better than we are. And then we wake
up and realize that, hey, we are ahead again.
The United States is in the middle of another reinvention
right now. As we speak, we are in the middle of the next major
rebound. Technology is changing the entire landscape and giving
Americaits edge back, so much so that--let us start with
manufacturing. I will give you a crash course in exponential
You know, just like we saw oil being something we worried
about, we worried about running out of oil, now you have
newspapers writing about ``Saudi America.'' Fracking came
along. Within 5 years it changed our entire perspective of oil.
That is just one small thing.
Look at computing. Five years ago none of you would ever
have used smartphones or been on Twitter or social media. Now
all of us do that. Well, practically all of us do that. But the
point is that we carry in our pockets more computing power than
existed the day we were born. Think about it. Thirty years ago
we would have banned this device because it was more powerful
than a Cray supercomputer. Today it sits in our pocket waiting
for us to check emails. That is how fast computing has
The same thing is happening in manufacturing. If you look
at the advances in robotics, in artificial intelligence, and 3D
printing, within the next 5 to 7 years, my prediction is that
China's manufacturing industry will be toast; that it will
start coming back to America like we never imagined before.
You know, we have debates about health care. We worry about
multitrillion-dollar deficits and our system becoming bankrupt.
Health care is advancing like you can't imagine. Between
digital medicine and genomics, there are major advances
happening. There is the quantified self. For example, I am a
heart patient. My iPhone case is an EKG machine. I hope none of
you have ever had heart problems or never had to get an EKG
done. They are really painful. I attach the two leads on my
iPhone. It does a complete EKG for me. I can email that EKG to
my cardiologist. The way technology is going, 2 or 3 years from
now I won't need a cardiologist to be read my EKG. It will be
read by a computer on the cloud.
This same type of technology is being built in many other
areas, which means we have preventative medicine. We will be
able to save, you know, tremendous amounts of money on curing
disease because we will prevent it. This is happening
regardless of what we do. This is happening at light speed.
We also have advances happening in other fields. For
example, in California, we have the Google self-driving car. By
the time it is released later in this decade, it is going to
change the face of cities. A third of the land use in cities is
for parking. We get stuck in traffic jams; 30,000 highway
deaths. All of these things can be eliminated by one new
invention. Also, 90 percent of the energy we use on
transportation can be used by automated self-driving vehicles.
There are major advances happening in education. These type
of technologies are still expensive right now. In India they
are going to be giving kids in school and teachers tablets
which are bigger than this, as sophisticated as the iPhone 1
was for $20. Within the next 5 years, you are going to have
another 3 billion people coming on the Internet worldwide.
Look at the revolution that telephones and then social
media created in the Middle East. In China, the government is
quaking because its people are connected, they can talk to each
other. Imagine what happens over the 5 or 7 years when the
entire world comes online with technology.
These are the sort of Earth-changing things that are
happening, and it is all because of technology. And who is
driving technology? Skilled immigrants are. People like me,
engineers, scientists. It is a whole assortment of people that
are driving these changes. And guess what? Until recently, 52
percent of the start-ups in Silicon Valley, the most innovative
place on this planet, were immigrants. So the people who were
driving this boom I am talking about, this technology which is
reinventing America, are skilled immigrants.
Representative Gutierrez, I understand what you said about
your parents not having been educated and the fact that things
were very different. In an era in which, you know, skilled
labor didn't have as much value as today, it made sense that we
definitely need the unskilled workers. There is no doubt about
that. But in this new era, it is all about skill. The people
who are making this happen are engineers, scientists, doctors,
most importantly entrepreneurs.
So we have a choice right now. We can either trip up the
entrepreneurs who are going to reinvent America and save the
world, or we can fix this problem instantly and create a better
world, because we have the ability right now to solve
humanity's grand challenges. We can create unlimited energy,
unlimited water, unlimited food. We can create security which
protects us from threats. We can do all of this and maybe
things right now, the new technology, and all within the next 5
or 7 years.
I can almost guarantee that 5 years from now we are going
to be debating how do we distribute some of the abundance we
are creating? Because just like we are talking about oil being
abundant, we are going to be talking about many other things
becoming abundant. We will have different debates over here.
But it is imperative that we, you know, allow Silicon
Valley, our entrepreneurs, our technologists to do their magic
and to save us. A strong America is important for the world. We
can solve the world's grand challenges, and immigration is one
of the keys to making it happen.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Mr. Wadhwa.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wadhwa follows:]
Mr. Goodlatte. Mr. Teitelbaum, welcome.
TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL S. TEITELBAUM, SENIOR ADVISOR, ALFRED P.
SLOAN FOUNDATION, WERTHEIM FELLOW, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
Mr. Teitelbaum. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member
Conyers, Members of the Judiciary Committee. Thank you for
inviting me to report on the recommendations of the U.S.
Commission on Immigration Reform. It was a Commission
established by the Immigration Act of 1990, and it is often
called the Jordan Commission after its chair, Barbara Jordan,
Congresswoman Jordan, who was, of course, a distinguished
Member of this very Committee. Eight of the members of the
Commission were appointed by the House and Senate majority and
minority leadership, and the chair was appointed by the
President. The mandate was very broad and you have in your
written testimony from me a copy of the executive summary of
the Commission report, the final report, which includes the
mandate. So I won't repeat that given the time.
Now, as the Chair has said, these are contentious and
emotional disagreements on these issues, so I want to tell you
that the nine members of this Commission included among them
almost all perspectives on immigration and refugee issues. And
I told my wife there was little chance that this Commission was
going to be able to reach any substantial majority agreement on
anything. Ultimately that Commission, all of its
recommendations, which you have before you in the written
testimony, all of them were unanimous, or unanimous less one.
Since we are focusing on legal immigration today, let me
try to very quickly in the time I have summarize the Commission
recommendations on that part of its mandate. The Commission was
a strong supporter for a properly regulated legal immigration
system that serves the national interest, and it decried
hostility and discrimination against immigrants as antithetical
to the traditions and interests of the United States. It said
that a well-regulated immigration system enhances the potential
benefits of immigration, but if it were not well regulated, it
The Commission said that there was a need to set priorities
in immigration because there was much more demand than there
was available visas. It should set priorities, and it should
deliver on those priorities.
With respect to the national interest, it said these were
three priorities: unification of immediate or nuclear families,
as one of the Members has already spoken to; admission of those
highly skilled workers who are legitimately needed to support
the international competitiveness of the U.S. workforce, as the
previous witness has just mentioned; and refugee admissions,
which haven't yet been mentioned a great deal--refugee
admissions and other actions that affirm U.S. commitments to
provide refuge to the persecuted. The number of visas should
flow from those priorities.
The third point was from the Commission, the third
recommendation and finding, was that the policies that it was
reviewing in the 1990's were broadly consistent with these
three priorities, but they included elements among them that
were creating serious problems in the 1990's and that needed
A fourth recommendation was that priorities in the family
category should be established, and the Commission concluded
that the priority should be placed on the expeditious admission
of immediate or nuclear family members in this order: spouses
and minor children of U.S. citizens, number one; parents of
U.S. citizens, number two; and spouses and minor children of
legal permanent immigrants, number three. And it therefore
recommended a reallocation of the visas in the family-based
system from lower priority categories outside of those
priorities. Those were the adult children and adult siblings of
U.S. citizens, and the so-called diversity visas to the
highest-priority categories that I just listed.
The problem with the lower priority categories is they have
never been given very many visas, and there was enormous demand
and therefore very large backlogs in those categories. So the
recommendation there was that we should stop trying to manage
immigration by backlog--in effect we are making promises that
we can't keep--and instead focus on prompt admission of the
highest-priority categories. And had that been done, all of
those categories would have been admitted very promptly, within
1 year of application. But, of course, it didn't happen, and in
the absence of such actions, these backlogs have actually
become longer and more extensive.
The fifth recommendation was that a well-regulated
admission system for skilled immigrants is in the national
interest, and we already heard Vivek Wadhwa talk about that. So
I won't say a lot about it, but it is consistent with what he
said. When needed, they contribute to the global
competitiveness of the U.S. workforce. And then there is a
second point which is that we want immigrants to do well in the
United States. We want them to prosper, and if they are
skilled, they are more likely to prosper than if they are not.
However, this was a bit of a controversial recommendation
the Commission found that the labor certification process for
this category did not protect U.S. workers from unfair
employment competition and does not serve the national
interest, so it advocated a new and more market-driven approach
for selection among those categories.
The sixth recommendation was that admission of low-skilled
and unskilled workers is not in the national interest. It
recommended against the continuation of the small number of
employment-based visas for low-skilled and unskilled workers.
It could find no compelling evidence that employers who offer
adequate remuneration would face difficulties in hiring from
the large pools of low-skilled and unskilled workers in the
U.S. workforce. And, of course, large numbers of such workers
would be continuing to flow--much larger than the number of
visas in this category--continue to flow under the family and
refugee visa categories.
Seventh, that admission of large numbers of temporary or
guest workers in agriculture or other fields, the Commission
said, would be a grievous mistake. The Commission found that
such programs lead to particularly harmful effects. Guest
workers are vulnerable to exploitation, and their presence in
large numbers depresses the wages and working conditions of
U.S. workers, which, by the way, includes recent immigrants.
Mr. Goodlatte. If you want to go ahead and just summarize
each of the last two points, because I know you do want to get
all nine in, but we are out of time.
Mr. Teitelbaum. I mentioned the refugee thing, and the
Commission recommended a well-regulated resettlement program.
And finally, it recommended more flexibility and
adaptability of immigration policies needed as circumstances
changed. So in my testimony you will see an example of another
country with quite a lot of similarities to the U.S. in which
they have come up with a way to have a more flexible system
that is based on rigorous analysis of where the needed
employment-based visas might be.
And I will suspend at that point, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you. And what country is that?
Mr. Teitelbaum. That is the United Kingdom.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Teitelbaum follows:]
Mr. Goodlatte. Dr. Arora, thank you.
TESTIMONY OF PUNEET ARORA, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.E.,
VICE PRESIDENT, IMMIGRATION VOICE
Dr. Arora. Thank you.
Mr. Goodlatte. You should hit the button on your microphone
and pull it close to you. Pull it close. Pull the microphone
close to you.
Mr. Arora. Distinguished Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member
Conyers and Members of this Committee, on behalf of Immigration
Voice and the many highly skilled professionals and their
families waiting for permanent resident status to the United
States, I thank you for this opportunity to contribute my views
toward immigration reform.
Immigration Voice is a grassroots organization of highly
skilled foreign men and women that have come together to
advocate for a change in the employment-based green card
system. Today I would like to talk to you about the problems
faced by 1 million highly skilled foreign professionals and
their families, future Americans, most of whom have been
gainfully employed in the United States for a decade or more,
but find themselves in lines for a green card.
Our community is invested in America through our diligence,
innovation, and productivity. Our children are Americans. This
is our home.
My journey through the employment-based backlog began in
1996 with a medical residency program at the Southern Illinois
University School of Medicine in Springfield; followed by a
fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the
New York University School of Medicine; and then to the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for a fellowship in advanced
In 2003, I joined the clinical practice with the Health
Partners Medical Group in St. Paul, Minnesota, and as assistant
professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical
School. My practice was in a medically underserved area with a
substantial population of indigent patients. Even so, my
national interest waiver was significantly delayed.
In 2008, I was offered the position of clinical research
medical director of Amgen, the world's largest biotechnology
company. I was able to accept this offer only because of a
small window of relief offered in July of 2007 that allowed me
to gain work authorization. Many of my colleagues in
Immigration Voice were not so fortunate, and still, today they
continue to lack the ability to change jobs without losing
their place in the green card line.
I now work for Genentech as medical director for early
development, and at the end of 2011, my green card application
was finally approved after more than 15 years of life in the
United States. And as I continue toward citizenship, I count
myself as fortunate. Today USCIS is just now adjudicating
applications for applicants like me from the year 2004.
Spending a decade or more for permanent residency takes its
toll on professionals and on their families. Children age out,
and they have to secure their own visas to go to college.
Traveling abroad or just maintaining legal status takes an
infusion of time and money to renew documents. Scientists often
cannot get grants, and, sadly, even motivated parents cannot
These problems all generally arise from what we term the
double backlogs, the green cards shortage backlog and the per
country backlog. And I want to make a few brief points on both
We have the largest and the fastest-growing highly skilled
economy in the world. It is America's fastest-growing export.
We are fighting over green card numbers here for highly
educated people, each of whom is a net job creator according to
the American Enterprise Institute, while America is bleeding
some of the best minds from its borders, many of whom were
trained in U.S. schools.
As parents of American children, we see firsthand that
America is struggling to produce qualified students in STEM,
and I worry as a father of two wonderful girls. We have heard
proposals for increased fees to pay for STEM programs in the
States, and we support that.It can only help, and all help in
this matter is welcome.
On the second part of the double backlog, I want to start
by thanking this Committee, and especially Representatives
Chaffetz, Smith and Lofgren, for their amazing bipartisan work
on poor country elimination. We fell short in the Senate on
process in spite of overwhelming support. Regardless, we know
that just changing the poor country quota alone with not fix
the overall shortage of green cards, but it will help to
alleviate some of the burden for America's most experienced,
highly skilled green card applicants. And again, we sincerely
appreciate your efforts in this regard.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Dr. Arora.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Arora follows:]
Mr. Goodlatte. Mayor Castro, we are pleased to have you
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE JULIAN CASTRO,
MAYOR OF SAN ANTONIO, TX
Mr. Castro. Thank you very much, Chairman Goodlatte, and,
of course, to Representative Jackson Lee, and my hometown
Representative Smith. Thank you for having me to the Ranking
Member Conyers, as well as to the Members of the Committee.
I come to you today as many things: as an American, as an
optimist, the grandson of an immigrant orphan from Mexico who
found opportunity in our great country, and as mayor of the
Nation's seventh largest city, a community that looks like the
Texas and the America of tomorrow.
Immigration for all of us is more than a political issue.
It is who we are as Americans. From Plymouth Rock to Ellis
Island and Galveston, Texas, to the sandy shores of Florida and
the rocky coast of California, immigrants have made ours the
greatest country in the world.
Today, however, our immigration system is badly broken, but
there is hope. This hearing and, more importantly, the
bipartisan legislation that I believe can be enacted because of
it shows that we are on the cusp of real progress.
The President and a growing number of bipartisan lawmakers
have laid the framework for what Americans support:
comprehensive, commonsense reform. We must do at least three
things: further strengthen border security, streamline the
legal immigration process so that law-abiding companies can get
the workers they need in this 21st century global economy, and
create a path to citizenship to bring the estimated 11 million
undocumented immigrants in this country out of the shadows and
into the full light of the American dream.
In Texas we know firsthand that this Administration has put
more boots on the ground along the border than at any other
time in our history, which has led to unprecedented success in
removing dangerous individuals with criminal records. But
Democrats and Republicans can agree that the work to ensure
America's safety and security is ongoing and should be a part
of any future legislative agenda.
The reforms that you have on the table are also profamily,
and probusiness. Outdated visa allocations that separate
husbands and wives, mothers and children, and brothers and
sisters for years and sometimes decades make no sense. It also
makes no sense that while some employers choose to flout the
rule of law and exploit employees, other companies who want to
play by the rules are handcuffed by rigid employment ceilings
and burdensome regulations.
Every year, as competition increases across the globe,
America companies throw up their hands and watch engineers,
nurses and entrepreneurs who are trained at American
universities leave in frustration only to invent new products,
heal the sick, and innovate in other countries.
What Americans deserve is a system that works; a system
that is efficient, that is accountable, that in our Nation's
best interest puts the undocumented immigrants already here on
a road to earn citizenship. Those immigrants take on many faces
from Virginia, to North Carolina, to Utah.
In San Antonio, those faces include students like Benita
Veliz. Benita, like so many so-called DREAMers, was brought to
this country as a child from Mexico. She learned English,
played by the rules, and achieved astounding academic success,
even became a valedictorian of my alma mater, Thomas Jefferson
High School in San Antonio. She was a National Merit scholar,
and Benita earned a bachelor's degree by the time she was 20
By any measure Benita is an American success story, but
under current immigration law she is in limbo. America is her
home in every single sense of the word except under our broken
Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence,
America has distinguished itself as the land of opportunity,
the place where the human spirit is free to reach its full
potential. In this 21st century global economy, we need Benita
and immigrants like her to be competitive. But we all know that
as one generation of Americans has passed on to the next, this
great Nation has drawn tremendous strength from immigrants,
whether they came from Germany, or Italy, or India, or Mexico.
A hearing is a great start, but a hearing is not enough.
Let us rise above the political fray. Let us once again show
that no challenge is too big for America. Ladies and gentlemen,
America is watching. Let us get this done. Thank you.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Mayor Castro.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Castro follows:]
Prepared Statement of Julian Castro, Mayor, San Antonio, TX
Thank you Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, Members of
the Committee . . .
I come to you today as many things--an American, an optimist, the
grandson of an immigrant orphan from Mexico who found opportunity in
this great country, and as Mayor of the nation's seventh-largest city,
a community that looks like the Texas and America of tomorrow.
Immigration is more than a political issue. It's who we are. From
Plymouth Rock to Ellis Island and Galveston, Texas, to the sandy shores
of Florida and the rocky coasts of California, immigrants have made
ours the greatest country in the world.
Today, however, our immigration system is badly broken. But there
is hope. This hearing and more importantly, the bipartisan legislation
that I believe can be enacted because of it, shows that we are on the
cusp of real progress.
The President and a growing number of bipartisan lawmakers have
laid the framework for what Americans support: comprehensive, common-
We must do at least three things: further strengthen border
security; streamline the legal immigration process so that law-abiding
companies can get the workers they need in this 21st century global
economy; and create a path to citizenship to bring the estimated 11
million undocumented immigrants in this country out of the shadows and
into the full light of the American Dream.
In Texas, we know first-hand that this Administration has put more
boots on the ground along the border than at any time in our history,
which has led to unprecedented success in removing dangerous
individuals with criminal records. But Democrats and Republicans can
agree that the work to ensure America's safety and security is ongoing,
and should be part of the legislative agenda going forward.
The reforms that you have on the table are also pro-family and pro-
business. Outdated visa allocations that separate husbands and wives,
mothers and children, and brothers and sisters for years and sometimes
decades make no sense.
It also makes no sense that, while some employers choose to flout
the rule of law and exploit employees, other companies who want to play
by the rules are handcuffed by rigid employment ceilings and burdensome
Every year, as competition increases across the globe, American
companies throw up their hands and watch engineers, nurses and
entrepreneurs, who were trained in American universities, leave in
frustration only to invent new products, heal the sick and bring new
innovations to other countries.
What Americans deserve is a system that works. A system that is
efficient. That is accountable. That, in our nation's best interest,
puts the undocumented immigrants already here on a road to earned
Those immigrants take on many faces from Virginia to North Carolina
to Utah. In San Antonio, those faces include students like Benita
Benita, like many so-called DREAMers, was brought to this country
as a child from Mexico. She learned English, played by the rules and
achieved astounding academic success--even becoming valedictorian of my
alma mater, Thomas Jefferson High School.
A National Merit Scholar, Benita earned a bachelor's degree by the
time she was 20.
By any measure, Benita is an American success story. But under
current immigration law, she is in limbo. America is her home in every
sense of the word, except under this broken immigration system.
Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, America has
distinguished itself as the land of opportunity, the place where the
human spirit is free to reach its full potential.
In this 21st century global economy, we need Benita and immigrants
like her to be competitive.
As each generation of Americans has passed on to the next, this
great nation has drawn tremendous strength from immigrants, whether
they came from Germany, Italy, India or Mexico.
But we all know that a hearing is not enough. Let's rise above the
political fray. Let's once again show that no challenge is too big for
Ladies and Gentlemen, America is watching. Let's get this done.
Mr. Goodlatte. Dr. Arora, you gave an excellent statement,
and I thought it was full and complete, but apparently I called
you before your time was expired and maybe before your
statement was finished. Did you want to summarize your
Mr. Arora. Thank you. I just have a little bit left, so I
am just going to complete it.
The benefits of removing poor country limits will accrue to
only one Nation in this world, the United States of America.
Ultimately we do not care how you fix the system. We just want
it fixed not in 5 years, not in 10 years; now, this year.
On that note, there are so many proposals out there for
broader high-skilled immigration reform. They include
recapturing unused visas, providing additional U.S. STEM visas,
exemptions for spouses and children, early filing, exemptions
for physicians who provide service in underserved areas, and we
support all of these.
We are extremely encouraged by the introduction of the
Immigration and Innovation Act of 2013 in the Senate, and we
really hope that a similar bipartisan bill will be introduced
the House. This innovation economy is global, and the ripe
export markets and the foreign professionals in America
creating products for these markets will not wait forever.
Our futures are tied to the United States, as are those of
our children. The growth of America's economy and the
availability of jobs for Americans are of great significance to
us and our families. We want nothing more than to see America
prosper and grow while still remaining the most welcoming
Nation on the face of this Earth.
On behalf of Immigration Voice, again, my sincerest
gratitude for this opportunity and the very patient hearing you
have given me today. Thank you.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Dr. Arora.
And I will begin the questioning with you, Mr. Wadhwa.
Which do you believe is a greater factor in encouraging foreign
students and workers on temporary visas to return home,
difficulties receiving green cards in the U.S. or expanding
opportunities in their home countries?
Mr. Wadhwa. They are both. In fact, when we surveyed
several hundred returnees, they said it was greater
opportunities. But I know in dealing with my students what
happens is that they look for jobs because they want to stay
here for 2 or 3 years after they graduate. They can't get jobs
because companies can't get H-1B visas, or they are worried
about hiring foreigners because of the backlash.
Mr. Goodlatte. I have got another question for you, and I
am going to go quickly because I have several I want to ask in
a short period of time.
As I noted in my opening statement, other primary
immigrant-receiving countries like the U.K., and Canada, and
Australia select over 60 percent of their immigrants based on
their education and skills, while the United States selects a
little more than 10 percent on this basis. Which type of
immigration system do you think makes the most sense for
Mr. Wadhwa. We need both because you have to have families
as well, but right now we need more skilled.
Mr. Goodlatte. Talking about ratios here, percentage.
Mr. Wadhwa. I would increase the ratio of skilled
Mr. Goodlatte. Great. Okay, thank you.
Next, Mr. Teitelbaum, I see that the Jordan Commission
recommended eliminating the Diversity Lottery Program. Since
the Jordan Commission's recommendations were issued, somewhere
in the magnitude of 800,000 diversity green cards have been
issued. Can these green cards have been better utilized for
another higher priority?
Mr. Teitelbaum. That was indeed the recommendation, that it
should be used for higher-priority categories.
Mr. Goodlatte. And then to approach the second question I
asked Mr. Wadhwa from a different vantage point, the Jordan
Commission also stated that, quote, ``Unless there is a
compelling national interest to do otherwise, immigrants should
be chosen on the basis of the skills they contribute to the
U.S. economy. The Commission believes that the admission of
nuclear family members and refugees provide such a compelling
national interest, where unification of adult children and
siblings of adult citizens solely because of their family
relationship is not as compelling.''
Isn't this what some refer to as chain migration, and isn't
it true that over 2.5 million siblings of U.S. citizens are now
on a waiting list for green cards, and some will have to wait
over two decades? What does this say about the credibility of
that aspect of our immigration system?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes, that is true. That is what we referred
to as management by backlogs, in which you make promises that
cannot be fulfilled, and you get these enormous and very long
backlogs that are built up. So our recommendation was that
those visa numbers be reallocated to the high-priority, higher-
priority categories that we mentioned, and then there would be
immediate admission of those people and no backlogs in those
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you.
And, Mayor Castro, you state that comprehensive immigration
reform should do three things: secure the border, streamline
the legal immigration process, and provide a path to
citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.
Do you think that interior enforcement should play a role
to discourage future immigration by those not documented by
making jobs to them unavailable? Should that be a part of that
comprehensive immigration reform?
Mr. Castro. Yeah, that is a great question. I do believe
that enforcement, both in terms of active enforcement on our
borders and under this Administration there has been tremendous
progress with regard to enforcement. In fact, the triggers in
the 2007 proposal have just about all been met. But going
forward, of course, enforcement is part of the conversation.
Mr. Goodlatte. And one of the aspects of enforcement that
doesn't get as much attention here, although it does get
attention in some of the States which have attempted to do
things about it, is the fact that a large percentage of people
who are not lawfully in the United States entered legally, on
student visas, visitors' visas, business visas, and overstayed
their visas, and so the border and securing the border is not a
component in dealing with that aspect of unlawful immigration.
It has to be done in the interior of the country with
verification programs, with regard to employment, with
cooperation amongst various law enforcement authorities, and so
on. Do you think that should be part of the process?
Mr. Castro. Yeah, I think we agree that we can make the
system work better for everyone, including for employers,
including at our airports, in each and every way. Both in terms
of border security and interior security, comprehensive
immigration reform gives us the opportunity to make this work
better at every single juncture.
Mr. Goodlatte. And I want to give you an opportunity to
answer the question of the day, and that is this: Are there
options that we should consider between the extremes of mass
deportation and a pathway to citizenship for those not lawfully
present in the United States?
Mr. Castro. Well, let me say that I do believe that a
pathway to citizenship should be the option that the Congress
selects. I don't see that as an extreme option. In fact, as one
of the Representatives pointed out, if we look at our history,
generally what we found is that Congress over time has chosen
that option, that path to citizenship. I would disagree with
the characterization of that as the extreme.
The extreme, I would say, just to fill that out, would be
open borders. Nobody agrees with open borders. Everyone agrees
that we need to secure our border; that the United States needs
to improve its----
Mr. Goodlatte. I think we agree on that, but the question
is what to do about the 10 million or more people who are not
lawfully here. Are you and, do you think, others open to
finding some ground between a pathway to citizenship and the
current law, which would be to require deportation in many
circumstances, whether that is being enforced today or not?
Mr. Castro. I believe that, as the President has pointed
out, as the Senators who have worked on this have pointed out
from both parties, that a path to citizenship is the best
Now, I also understand that, in terms of getting at what
you may be thinking about, a guest worker program in the future
has also been put out there. I know that there are some
concerns about how you would set that up, but I think if you
want to deal with issues going forward, that may be one way to
do it. However, in terms of the 11 million folks who are here,
certainly putting them on a path to citizenship, ensuring that
after they pay taxes, they pay a fine, they learn English, they
get to the back of the line, that is the best option.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank you.
The gentleman from Michigan is recognized.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Chairman Goodlatte. And I want to
thank all the witnesses on the first panel. You have done a
good job. We may not have settled much, but that is the way
these things start out, isn't it?
I just wanted to see if we could get a little more
agreement on Chairman Goodlatte's last question: What do we do
with 11 million people that are already here? Are there any of
you that still have reservations about a path to citizenship
that is firm and fair? We are not going to jail them or send
them back. Can we hit a small chord of agreement on that one
question? What do you think, Dr. Arora?
Dr. Arora. We believe that a balanced approach to this is
really important, one that is fair and is a win-win situation
for everyone. Like I said before, we tend to be focused on
issues that we are very familiar with, having been through the
employment-based immigration system, but certainly we would
like to see a situation where Congress comes together and
agrees on something that can go and get passed by the Senate
and signed by the President and actually solve some of these
problems in a balanced program. We would like to not view
immigration as a zero-sum game, and I think we all agree that
it doesn't have to be that way.
Mr. Conyers. Mr. Wadhwa, do you think that reasonable
people with strong differing views can come up with elements of
a path to citizenship that would get us through this very
Mr. Wadhwa. You know, I think the low-hanging fruit here is
the children. I don't believe any decent human being would
argue that those children should be deported. We should give
them citizenship immediately without thinking twice.
And then the issue is about the law. I mean, that is a very
strong point that Representative Gowdy made. Maybe what you do
is you give them indefinite permanent resident status instead
of citizenship. There is other ways of slicing this. They want
to be here, they want to raise their children. You know, we
don't have to discuss deporting them; we just should legalize
them so they can pay taxes, participate as regular U.S.
citizens do without calling them citizens. There is a way.
Mr. Conyers. Mayor Castro, I and, I know, some of my
colleagues are a little reluctant about permanent indefinite
status. You know, this is one of the things that makes this
country great. You can become a citizen; you are either born
here, or you earn your way in as an American. And we are all
citizens equally, and so I have just a little bit of reluctance
about having somebody here, an immigrant, permanently.
Mr. Castro. To my mind, it would be unprecedented for us to
create a class of folks who are stuck in this kind of limbo,
who are not allowed to become citizens, but almost everything
up to that line. We draw our strength as Americans from
citizenship. That is the essence of who we are. Throughout the
history of this Nation, the biggest challenges we have faced
have been when we created second-class citizens, much less
second-class noncitizens, and so I believe that a path to
citizenship is the best option.
Mr. Conyers. Mr. Teitelbaum, have we reached a state where,
in terms of border security, I got the impression we are doing
a little better, the rates are going down, fewer people are
coming over. We are spending tons of money. What do you see in
that area that we might want to look at if Chairman Goodlatte
agrees that we should send some Judiciary Committee Members
down for a serious examination after having talked with
security people here before we go there?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Are you asking me to speak on behalf of the
Commission on Immigration Reform, or what do I----
Mr. Conyers. Your personal views, sir.
Mr. Teitelbaum. Well, I have traveled along that border
many times. There is no such thing as the average border
situation along that border. There are huge variations across
that border as to what is happening. And my impression is, from
the data I have seen, that the number of attempted crossings
has declined. There are more boots on the ground, as someone
else said. There is also a deep, deep recession in the United
States since 2008 and more rapid economic growth south of the
So you have got competing explanations of what is going on
there, and I don't think we can actually answer your question,
Mr. Ranking Minority Member, as to whether the enforcement
efforts are the primary cause of that trend.
Mr. Conyers. Can you give them a good grade so far?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Can I do what?
Mr. Conyers. Can you give them a fair grade so far?
Mr. Teitelbaum. A fair grade?
Mr. Conyers. Yes.
Mr. Teitelbaum. I think there have been serious efforts,
increased efforts, along the border. I don't think there have
been serious efforts in the interior. As one of the other
Members mentioned, if you don't have interior enforcement, it
really doesn't matter how good your border enforcement is,
people will find a way around the barrier if they can find work
easily in the United States.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, gentlemen.
It is now my pleasure to recognize the gentleman from Texas
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, Mr. Chairman,
thank you, too, for your thoughtful approach to the subject at
One thing that I think all Members can agree upon, and I
assume all panelists as well, is that immigrants work hard,
they create jobs, and they set a daily example of how to
achieve the American dream. Immigration, in fact, has made our
As the Chairman pointed out a minute ago, America is the
most generous country in the world. We admit 1 million legal
immigrants every year. That is about as many as every other
country combined, so there is not even a close second when it
comes to our generosity. I do think that generosity gives us
the credibility to say that we need to devise an immigration
system that is in the best interests of America and Americans.
One way, in my view, to improve our legal immigration
system, and that is the subject at hand, is to admit more
immigrants on the basis of their skills that America needs
today. We admit only about 6 percent of the legal immigrants
now on the basis of their skills. That happens to be, I think,
the lowest percentage of any industrialized country in the
world. So I would like to get us back to where we emphasize and
encourage immigrants who have the skills that America needs,
but we need to do so in a way that does not jeopardize the jobs
of Americans who are in this country who are working, either
citizens or legal immigrants. We don't want to jeopardize their
jobs or depress their wages.
So my question for Mr. Wadhwa, and maybe Mr. Teitelbaum, is
this: How do we admit skilled immigrants without hurting
Mr. Wadhwa. First of all, if you look at all the data,
every single study that has been done, it shows that when you
bring skilled immigrants in, they create jobs. And right now we
are in an innovation economy. Skilled immigrants are more
important than ever, not only to create jobs, but to make us
innovative and to help us solve major problems. So bring the
right people in, and you will make the pie bigger for everyone.
And we can bring in more unskilled as well, because we will
have a bigger economy. We need them. The population of America
will decline unless we keep immigration going at least at the
pace that it is now.
Mr. Smith. Thank you. I am not sure Mr. Teitelbaum is going
to agree with you on the low-skilled, but Mr. Teitelbaum?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes. I will say in answer to your question,
one way is not to admit larger numbers as temporary admissions
than you have visas for permanent admissions or you will
negatively influence the U.S. workforce. And the second is a
much more effective means of assessing the effects of
admissions of skilled workers in particular areas on U.S.
workers, so you don't want to, I would say--this is a personal
statement, not for the Commission--you don't want to admit all
STEM workers, because the tight labor markets are in some parts
of STEM, but definitely not in other parts of STEM, and this
Committee has actually reflected that in, I guess, it was your
bill, Mr. Chairman----
Mr. Smith. Yes.
Mr. Teitelbaum [continuing]. That was passed one time or
two times in reflecting that difference at the Ph.D. level.
That was very smart of you.
Mr. Smith. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Teitelbaum.
And, Dr. Arora, any comments on that?
Dr. Arora. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Smith.
I think that there is a couple of really important things
here. You brought up a very good point, and it is important to
protect American workers and at the same time have a robust
immigration system where skilled immigrants can come in and
fill real needs.
And one of the problems that we have today is that we have
restricted the mobility of the skilled workers that come into
the country. They get trapped in jobs for long periods, where
promotions can be denied, where they have no way of going to
another employer that is willing to offer a market wage or
advancement as based on the experience that they have gained
over a period of time and toward the skills that are really
required by the demands of the job is. And I think that these
long periods of limbos, and the restrictions on job mobility,
and this lack of reliance on the market to tell us what the
demand is is a problem.
Mr. Smith. Okay. Thank you, Dr. Arora.
Mayor Castro, let me follow up with a question that the
Chairman was asking you a minute ago. Do you see any compromise
area between the current status quo and a path to citizenship
for virtually all the 11 million or more illegal immigrants in
the country today?
Mr. Castro. I see the compromise as a recognition that a
path to citizenship will be earned citizenship; in other words,
that they will have to----
Mr. Smith. But you don't----
Mr. Castro [continuing]. Pay a fine.
Mr. Smith. In other words, a path to citizenship
regardless, one way or the other.
Mr. Castro. Well, I believe that it is the best option. I
think history has borne out that that has served the United
Mr. Smith. Okay. Let me ask all panelists this question,
and maybe since my time is almost up, I will say this: Is there
any witness today who does not agree that we ought to have a
system that requires employers to check to make sure that they
are hiring legal workers? Is there anyone who would disagree
with that system?
Mr. Teitelbaum. It was a recommendation of the U.S.
Commission on Immigration Reform.
Mr. Smith. Mr. Teitelbaum, you and I worked together to try
to implement the Commission's recommendations, and we came
awfully close until the Clinton administration reversed their
But everybody agrees that with some kind of a system to
make sure that employers only hire legal workers; is that
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentlemen.
The gentleman from New York Mr. Nadler is recognized for 5
Mr. Nadler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mayor Castro, your testimony said that we must do at least
three things in immigration reform: further strengthen border
security, streamline the legal immigration process that law-
abiding companies can get the workers they need, and create a
path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented
It seems to me that there is one further thing that any
good immigration reform should do, and that is to eliminate
unjustified, invidious discrimination that is present in the
system. And one such discrimination is certainly the fact that
people other than gay and lesbian people can sponsor their
spouses for immigration into the United States so that you
don't keep them separated, whereas under our laws, of course,
gay and lesbian people cannot marry other gay and lesbian
people--at least the Federal Government won't recognize it, a
few States will--so that the laws work a--what I would call a
cruelty on people, an unnecessary cruelty, because under our
laws it may be that the lover or partner of an American citizen
can't be here, and under the laws of the foreign country, it
may be that the American can't go there, and you are keeping
Now, there is legislation called the United American
Families Act which would establish an equivalency so that, the
question of gay marriage apart, which is really a separate
question, we will not have the cruelty of keeping loving
couples apart by allowing a gay person or a lesbian person to
sponsor his or her partner for immigration. We are
reintroducing that bill today, by the way. It has broad
bipartisan; it has the support of Republicans as well as
Democrats, church leaders, members of the Hispanic Caucus, and
now recently the President of the United States.
Do you think this is a good or essential piece of
comprehensive immigration reform?
Mr. Castro. I believe that it would be a good piece for
comprehensive immigration reform, and, as you suggest, I
believe that there would be significant support for that. I
myself support marriage equality, but even for folks that
support, for instance, only civil unions and certain rights
that partners would have, I believe that this is right in that
vein and that it makes sense.
Mr. Nadler. Thank you. And I just want to make clear that
this is not--not the question of gay marriage. If we had gay
marriage, you wouldn't--it would be moot. But this is a
question of enabling people to be together who otherwise cannot
be for no purpose at all, purposeless cruelty, which the United
States should never engage in.
I have a second question for you, and that you note in your
testimony the immigration laws are broken across the board,
harming businesses and separating families. There are some who
support the idea of increasing the number of green cards in the
employment-based system, we have heard that, but only if a
commensurate number of green cards are eliminated from the
Do you buy into this zero-sum approach, and can we be a
Nation that supports both business groups and keeping families
Mr. Castro. Thank you for the question, Representative. I
agree with Dr. Arora that this is not a zero-sum game. There is
no reason that we need to choose between these. I believe that
we should have both employment-based and continue our family-
based allocation as well as, of course, addressing the issue of
high-skilled immigrants and other skilled immigrants.
I would also, frankly, suggest that being able to pick
crops in the sun, under the hot sun, for 12, 14 hours a day, to
do back-breaking work, is a kind of skill; maybe not one we
would call a high skill, but certainly a skill that many, many
folks either do not or cannot do. And so to answer your
question, I believe that that is a false dichotomy.
Mr. Nadler. Thank you.
And, finally, I have one question for Mr. Teitelbaum. Mr.
Teitelbaum, you say that some of the Commission's strongest
recommendations were against temporary worker programs, noting
that admitting large numbers of temporary workers in
agriculture and other fields would be, quote, ``a grievous
I must say I am very ambivalent about this. On the one hand
I worry about guest worker programs bidding down U.S. wages for
American workers; on the other hand, the share of the native-
born workforce without a high school diploma was around 50
percent in the 1940's and 1950's, and it is now down to about 6
percent. And as the native-born have grown better educated,
U.S. workers have been less willing to engage in farm work, but
the demand for farm work has not decreased.
So my question is if we still have a need for on-the-farm
labor, but a giant reduction of population of native workers
likely to look for work in the sector, do we have a need for a
guest worker program? Is it naive to think that if we cut out
foreign workers, that these jobs would just be filled by
American workers? And is such a program, in fact, cutting down
on American--you know, bidding down American wages?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Again, this is going to be my thoughts, not
the Commission. The Commission was recommending against large-
scale temporary worker programs for the reasons I indicated. I
agreed with that recommendation. I believe it still to be true.
There is a very large population in the United States of
low- and unskilled workers, many of whom are unemployed and
relatively unemployable. The conditions of work offered in some
of the jobs you are talking about are really not very
attractive compared to their alternative sources of income as
citizens, and, therefore, I think you have a situation in which
the market disposes toward dependence upon unauthorized
In addition, you have decisions made by employers as to
where to invest or where to plant and what plants to plant, are
they labor-intensive plants or not labor-intensive plants,
based upon the assumption of continued access to this kind of
labor. So you get a kind of mutual dependency, if you will. A
situation in which it is correct, as the growers might say,
that if you took away my workforce now, all my plants, all my
crops would rot in the field. But if they were pretty certain
they weren't going to have that future workforce in the future,
they would make different decisions about what crops to grow
and where to grow them. But why should they if they assume they
are going to have that workforce?
Mr. Goodlatte. The time of the gentleman has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Alabama Mr. Bachus
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Bachus. Thank you.
Let me ask each one of you for a yes or no answer if you
can give it. If you can't, I will permit you to pass.
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes or no?
Mr. Bachus. If you can. If you want to pass, you know,
can't answer it.
Do you think our immigration policies ought to be based on
our own national interests; in other words, what is best for
Mr. Wadhwa. Yes.
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes.
Dr. Arora. Yes.
Mr. Castro. Absolutely. Sure.
Mr. Bachus. So we all agree on that.
Now, do we all agree that attracting high-skilled legal
immigrants is in our best interests? You know, the Chairman
mentioned Australia and Canada. And obviously high-skilled
workers in mathematics, sciences, technology, they have
actually created jobs in those countries. They have created
jobs for native Australians, native Canadians. It has brought
down their unemployment rate. But do all of you agree that that
is in our best interest, and there is less contentious issues
with our highly skilled workers?
Mr. Wadhwa. Double yes.
Mr. Teitelbaum. In principle, yes, but you must be careful
not to deter American kids from going into those fields by
taking that action.
Mr. Bachus. Oh, absolutely.
Mr. Teitelbaum. So you just have to do it right.
Mr. Bachus. Right. But it is less contentious than with our
undocumented, unskilled workers, I think. Would you agree?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes.
Dr. Arora. Yes, it is.
Mr. Bachus. So yes?
Dr. Arora. Yes.
Mr. Bachus. And Mayor.
Mr. Castro. Yes, I agree to the need to encourage high-
skilled immigration, sure.
Mr. Bachus. Now, the Chairman mentioned that some
countries, and these are countries all of which have
significantly lower unemployment rates than America, are
actually attempting to attract entrepreneurs, engineers,
mathematicians, scientists, people skilled in technology. And I
think we all agree we have all seen cases of these people being
trained, some of them at University of Alabama Birmingham, and
then going back to India, some going back to China, and
starting jobs which compete and take jobs away from our people,
and that that is really a tragedy; and that Germany doesn't do
that, Chile doesn't do that, Australia doesn't do that, Canada
doesn't do that. So should we design a system that
prioritizes--not excludes other, but prioritizes those
Mr. Wadhwa. Yes.
Mr. Teitelbaum. Once again, as long as it does not deter
U.S. kids from going into those fields.
Mr. Bachus. Oh, and let me say that with those caveats, and
also in certain areas where if there are Americans that can
fill those positions.
Mr. Teitelbaum. The general point, Congressman, is you
might end up with fewer people net if you discourage the inflow
of people from the largest source of those occupations who are
Mr. Bachus. Sure. Okay.
Dr. Arora. We believe, yes, that there is a need to reform
the way highly skilled immigration is done today.
Mr. Bachus. All right. Mayor?
Mr. Castro. I believe there is a need to reform highly--
immigration for highly skilled workers----
Mr. Bachus. Yes.
Mr. Castro [continuing]. But I also believe there is a need
to reform the entire system.
Mr. Bachus. Oh, absolutely. We all agree, but I think that
my point is, and I think each of you would agree, it is going
to be a much easier lift to solve the problem with highly
skilled workers. This House has passed on one occasion, could
have on two occasions, a bill which would address that. And the
present system for our highly skilled entrepreneurs is
diametrically opposed to what is done in Canada, Australia with
great success and created hundreds of thousands of jobs there,
and actually has put Americans out of work because we refuse to
do that here. And Ms. Lofgren and I agree on that, I think, 99
percent or 100 percent. I think that the gentleman from
Michigan, the former Chair, and I agree, and I think we could
pass a bill which would take that off the table.
When you take comprehensive, then we are dealing with
certain issues like full citizenship, and whatever else we
disagree on, I think we would agree on that that is a more
toxic, contentious issue, granting full amnesty. And I would
hope that by comprehensive we could address those on two
different paths, because we can pass something and solve the
problem which is putting Americans out of work and is enabling
other countries to compete successfully and take jobs away from
us. And I would just hope that you all would all agree with
that, that let us not let the more contentious issues and this
idea of comprehensive reform prevent us from this year, this
month, you know, in the next 2 or 3 months passing something to
address what is a horrible situation in this country, and that
is we are training people to go back to their countries and
compete against us.
And we have mentioned Google, Intel, eBay, Microsoft. All
of those companies, the CEOs say for every one of those people
I hire or keep in America, I can hire three Americans, too.
Mr. Wadhwa. We can agree on the Dream Act quite easily.
That there is widespread agreement on.
Mr. Bachus. Okay.
Mr. Goodlatte. The time of the gentleman has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina Mr.
Mr. Watt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me say at the outset so that nobody is misled I am a
strong supporter of a system that encourages high-skilled
workers, but the composition of this panel may leave the
impression that I hope is not the one that we intend to leave,
that that is all that immigration reform is about.
And so I want to be clear that Google, Yahoo!, Intel, eBay
were all founded and run by immigrants, but none of them came
here under a skilled worker visa program. They came here as
family-based immigrants, refugees or children of refugees.
And so just to be absolutely clear on this, this emphasis
that seems to be being placed on high-skilled visas and reform
just--are we clear that that is not to the exclusion of other
kinds of immigration reform and encouragement of other
immigrants? And if I can get clarity on that from all four
witnesses, I just want that on the record so that we are not
Mr. Wadhwa. I completely agree with that. We can't lose
time on the skilled, because right now the U.S.'s economy is in
a slump. We are in the middle of a major reinvention. Our
competitors are rising. Immigrants are fleeing. I wrote an
entire book about the immigrant exodus.
So we have to fix the immediate problem of skilled
immigrants, the million skilled immigrants legally here waiting
for green cards. We don't talk about them. We need to fix that
ASAP, and we need do the other things we are talking about
without doubt. But we can't wait on the million, because they
are leaving, and America is bleeding talent right now.
Mr. Watt. If we are doing all of this immediately, I don't
want to do that to the exclusion of doing the rest of
immigration reform. That is the point I want.
And, Mr. Teitelbaum, just to be clear, you all's
recommendation, I guess, that you are not encouraging low-
skilled or unskilled workers, that is not--that recommendation
was not about eliminating other kinds of non-skill-based
immigration either, was it?
Mr. Teitelbaum. No. You may remember the main
recommendation on family-based immigration recommended
establishment of these priorities and the rapid admission of
people in these priority groups, and that is by far the biggest
category of legal immigrants.
Mr. Watt. And, Dr. Arora and Mayor Castro, if I can get you
all to be as clear. And I am just trying to document a record
here so nobody comes back later and says this hearing was only
about high-skilled visas, high-skilled worker admissions to the
country. I mean, I think that would be a gross misperception of
what we should be coming away with. So, Dr. Arora and Mr.
Castro, if you can help me clarify the record, I would be
appreciative to you.
Dr. Arora. Congressman, we are a grassroots organization,
and we supported a comprehensive bill in the past, and if
Congress is to come up with a doable bill that you can all
agree on, we would be very happy to back it and support it.
In the end we would like to see these problems solved.
Whether you decide to do them in steps and individual bills, or
you take an approach that everything can be done together, we
leave up to your judgment, but we realize that it is a complex
problem, and there are many parts to this.
Mr. Watt. Mr. Castro?
Mr. Castro. Well, I absolutely believe that this issue of
immigration reform should be addressed comprehensively. And I
would also add that even though it might seem, as was said,
easy to do just one part of this, the STEM bill, which was
supposed to be easy, did not get through the Senate, probably
the better option is to address this comprehensively at one
time that will impact the entire system in a positive way.
Mr. Watt. All right. Thank you. I appreciate the
And with that, Mr. Chairman, I won't even go to another
question, because my time is about to expire.
Mr. Goodlatte. We appreciate the diligence of the gentleman
from North Carolina and commend that to all the Members.
And we turn now to the gentleman from Virginia Mr. Forbes
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Forbes. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Thank all of you for your testimony. I only have 5 minutes,
so I am going to try to be succinct and ask you in your answers
to do so as well.
And, Mayor, I know you have studied this issue a lot, you
prepared for this hearing, or you wouldn't be here. And let me
just ask you, if I gave you this pen and asked you to go back
and take as long as you needed and draft this comprehensive
piece of legislation, you brought it back before us, and we
passed it out of here, and we passed it out of the Senate, and
the President signed it into law, we all know that there will
be some people that disagree with portions of it, some people
who try to circumvent it, some people who break it.
I want you to fast-forward now. You are a young man, and 10
years from now we ask you to come back and testify before us,
and we found that the people that circumvented that law were
either 10 or 10 million. Should we be prepared to draft a new
path of citizenship for those 10 million people that
circumvented the law that you wrote?
Mr. Castro. Thank you very much for the question. And I
know that this has been a concern with regard to the 1986 law.
And, in fact, I am very pleased that the bipartisan effort so
far, what has been proposed by the President and the Senate,
includes stronger interior enforcement.
Mr. Forbes. Yeah. And I don't want to interrupt you, you
can put all you want on the record, but I am saying you have
written a law, we do everything we can. Despite our best
efforts there will be people who break that law and circumvent
them. It may not be 10 million, it may be a million, but for
those individuals should we be expected to 10 years from now
write a new path of citizenship for those individuals however
many there might be?
Mr. Castro. With all due respect, Representative, I just
don't think that that is a question that can be answered right
now. It is such a hypothetical question. I believe that if the
Congress does an excellent job now----
Mr. Forbes. Mayor, are you saying that you don't believe
that there will be any people that circumvent the law no matter
how well we write it? Is that your testimony?
Mr. Castro. No, I wouldn't disagree with you that there may
be folks who circumvent it.
Mr. Forbes. And as to those individuals, should we be
prepared at some point in time, 10 years down the road or
whenever, to be prepared to write a new path of citizenship for
Mr. Castro. I believe that that is a question hopefully
that won't have to be answered in any significant measure by a
Congress in the future if you do the job right this time.
Mr. Forbes. So you believe if we do the job right, there
will not be individuals who circumvent that law down the road?
And the reason I say it, Mayor, is we have got to ask these
tough questions. It is easy to talk about comprehensive reform
if we don't ask and answer those tough questions.
Let me give you another one. The Ranking Member said there
is so much that we agree on, and I agree with that
comprehensively, but we can't just take a concept like
comprehensive and not look at the detail, because sometimes the
devil is in the details.
When you talk about a lot of individuals who are here and
not documented, or here not legal, or illegally, one of the
things for us, most of them are hard-working, good people, you
would attest to that, but not all of them. For example,
testimony we have had before this Committee of the rise in gang
activity that we have had in the country, we had testimony that
85 percent of one gang, the individuals here were here
Now, as to just that group, I want to ask you this
question: If we have someone here who is here illegally, and
not one of those hard-working people, but someone who is a
member of a violent criminal gang, should we be prepared to
deport them before they commit a criminal act, or should they
also have a path to citizenship?
Mr. Castro. Thanks for the question. I think there is an
agreement across the board that if someone has committed a
Mr. Forbes. No, no. Before they have committed a violent
criminal act, they are here illegally, and they are a member of
a violent criminal gang, should we be able to deport them
before they commit that violent criminal act, or should they
also be able to have a path to citizenship?
Mr. Castro. You mean if you determine them guilty before
they have committed a crime?
Mr. Forbes. Not guilty. I am saying they are here
illegally. They didn't come here legally, and they acknowledge
and we prove that they are a member of a violent criminal gang,
should we be able to remove them from the country before they
commit another--or before they commit a violent criminal act?
Mr. Castro. I would just say that I believe that ensuring
that America is free of folks who have committed violent
crimes, that that is and should be a priority.
With regard to the hypothetical of people who might commit
a crime or might not commit a crime, you know, I readily
concede that I am not in law enforcement, I am not a technical
expert in that regard, but I do believe that folks who have
committed a violent crime should be deported.
Mr. Forbes. And, Mayor, the reason I tell you is this exact
situation happened in Boston, and a young girl was raped and
brutally beaten for individuals that were here illegally,
member of a violent criminal gangs, and temporary protected
status protected them. So at some point in time we have got
to--we passed legislation, and here the Senate refused to pass
And so with that, Mr. Chairman, I see that my time is
expired, but, Mayor, they are the kind of questions that we
need answers for, and unfortunately that is going to be part of
what we have to ferret out over the next several weeks and
months. And with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California Ms.
Lofgren, for 5 minutes.
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Before my questions, I would like to ask unanimous consent
to place in the record 22 statements from various individuals,
including religious organizations, social organizations, labor
organizations, as well as an op-ed from The Washington Times
today from Mat Staver, the dean of the law school at Liberty
Mr. Goodlatte. Well, seeing as Liberty University is a fine
institution in the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia,
and I think very highly of Dean Staver, we will admit all of
those, without objection, to the record.
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you very much.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Bachus. Mr. Chairman, could I have unanimous consent to
introduce an article that appeared in Saturday's Wall Street
Journal on our declining birth rates?
Mr. Goodlatte. Without objection, that will be made a part
of the record as well.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Goodlatte. And while we are at it, if the gentlewoman
will suspend, we will give you your full 5 minutes, but I would
also ask unanimous consent that a joint statement by the
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Coalition and the National
Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, of which Dean Staver
is a member, be also made a part of the record. Without
objection, all of these documents will be put in the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Goodlatte. And the gentlewoman is recognized for 5
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, you know, it has
been so interesting to listen to the questions so far. You
know, in fact, a person can be found deportable now not just if
you are convicted of an offense, but if you have admitted to
committing all the elements of a criminal offense even though
you haven't been convicted. So in the hypothetical that was
earlier posed, you wouldn't have to change the law to deal with
You know, I think we have a unique opportunity here to come
together and come up with a situation where another Congress 20
years from now won't be dealing with this same problem. Dr.
Richard Land, who was the president of the Southern Baptist
Convention, was a witness before the Subcommittee a number of
years ago, and I always quote him because I don't want to steal
his line. He said for many years there were two signs of the
southern border: One said ``No Trespassing,'' and the other
said ``Help Wanted.''
And our situation after 1986, we did the Reagan amnesty,
but we made no provision to meet the economic or familial needs
of the country. And so you have a situation now where we have 2
million migrant farm workers, and, like, 80 or 90 percent of
them are here without their papers. They are providing a vital
service to the United States. You could do E-Verify and find
out they are not properly here, and American agriculture would
collapse. So that is not going to be helpful.
What we need to do is provide a system that will actually
meet our needs both in the economy, whether it is high tech,
whether it is agriculture, and that also respects the needs for
American families to be united.
And I would just add, it is not my belief that my son and
daughter are chain migration. My son and daughter are part of
my nuclear family, and I think that is true for Americans who
have sons and daughters abroad.
I think it would be such a tragedy if we became sidetracked
on whether or not the 11 million here who responded to the help
wanted sign at the border can never become right with the law
and never have the aspiration to become an American.
We are not talking about giving U.S. citizenship to
anybody. What we are saying is over some period of time that is
arduous, you might gain legal permanent residence in the United
States, and then if you pay thousands of dollars, learn
everything there is to know about the American Government,
learn English so well you can pass the test, and then swear to
defend the Constitution and be willing to go fight for your
country, only in that case could you become an American
So I just think that looking back to Mat Staver, the dean,
in today's newspaper article, he said that we should include
appropriate penalties, waiting periods, background checks,
evidence of moral character, a commitment to full participation
in American society through learning English, but yet for hard-
working, undocumented neighbors who aspire to be fully
American, it must end with citizenship, not a permanent second-
class status. I hope that people will read Dean Staver's op-ed,
because it is really very compelling.
Now, I would like to ask you--and first, thanks to all the
people for being here, you have all been excellent witnesses--
but, Mayor Castro, you have talked about immigration. Your
grandparents, I guess, just like mine, were immigrants. But one
of the arguments that has not been made here, but it is made
some sometimes in the country, is that somehow today's
immigrants are different than the old immigrants, the good
immigrants from before. I mean, the German immigrants, it was
said when they came, wouldn't really learn English; or, you
know, the Irish didn't need to apply; the Italians were somehow
morally not the same as the people they were joining. Now that
all seems preposterous.
Have you seen any evidence that today's immigrants from
Latin America are any less meritorious than the immigrants from
our American past, any less willing to learn English, become
patriotic Americans? Can you guide us on that question?
Mr. Castro. Thank you for the question, Representative.
This generation of immigrants, I am convinced, is just as hard-
working, just as patriotic, just as faith-oriented as the
immigrants of generations before that helped build up the great
country that we live in today. I know that there has been
sometimes, unfortunately, that type of characterization, but in
San Antonio I see folks like Benita Veliz, who graduated as
valedictorian of her high school class, National Merit scholar,
graduated from college at the age of 20, big dreams, wants to
be productive for the country. That is the caliber of
immigrant, whether it is someone like Benita or it is someone
who is working very hard in the agriculture industry, working
12, 14 hours a day. These are hard working folks that are
positively contributing to the progress of our Nation.
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you. And I see my time has expired, Mr.
Chairman. I don't want to abuse your patience.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentlewoman.
The Committee is going to take a very brief recess, so
those of you who need to accommodate yourselves, you will have
5 minutes to do so. So we will stand in recess until--well,
make it until 12:20.
Mr. Goodlatte. The Committee will reconvene. We will
continue our questioning by Members of the Committee, and the
Chair now turns to the gentleman from Iowa Mr. King for 5
Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the witnesses for your testimony. And this has been
an engaging hearing, and I am looking forward to your answers
and the rest of the testimony.
I would turn first to Mr. Wadhwa. And yours was, I think,
Mr. Wadhwa--I am over here on your left--yours was, I think,
the most engaging, and when you talked about the inspiration
that comes from the inventions that we have and how it can
transform not just American society, but global society, and
has. But what I notice in dialogue, it has crept in almost all
of American society, is we are not separating the term--the
term ``immigrant'' now means, as I listen to the panel, if I
were just a casual observer here, I wouldn't know whether we
are talking about legal or illegal immigrants, and I didn't
actually know whether you were. And so could you define that
for me and let me know what your intentions were in your
Mr. Wadhwa. You know, what I have been researching and
talking about are the people who came here lawfully, came
through the front door, came on student visas or H-1B visas,
who started companies, who boosted entrepreneurship. I have
documented the statistics, you know, 52 percent Silicon Valley,
25 percent nationwide. With the number having dropped, our
research is recently that we are strangling our immigrant
entrepreneurship because we won't give them visas. I am talking
about lawful, skilled immigrants.
Now, you know, we keep talking about the 11 million, 10
million undocumented, unskilled workers, illegal workers; we
don't talk about the 1 million skilled immigrants who are
trapped in limbo who are doctors, scientists, lawyers who can't
Mr. King. So really as I listen to your testimony, I should
be focusing on you are talking about legal immigrants and their
contribution as skilled workers?
Mr. Wadhwa. Exactly.
Mr. King. And the Chairman mentioned about 10 percent of
our legal immigration is based upon merit, and the balance of
that is really out of our control. And I remember the hearings
that we have had here in this room, that number falls pretty
good. It is between 7 and 11 percent. I agree with that. And
your advocacy is that we should take a number of legal
immigrants and focus on the skilled worker side of this, which
would be STEM, which I support. I think that is the right
direction to go.
And I turn to Mayor Castro, and I recall you mentioning
that it is not a zero-sum game, that we can have both skilled
workers and unskilled workers and family reunification. And so
a zero-sum game always gets my attention, because we have
about, what, 6.3 billion people on the planet, so that would be
the universe that you have addressed, I think. But do you
believe that there should be a limit to the number of people
brought into the United States, especially if we could all have
them be legal, and what is that number?
Mr. Castro. Thank you for the question. First let me say
that, you know, I won't say that I could set a number for you
right here, Representative King. I will say, of course, like
every country, there are only a certain number of folks who
will be permitted to enter the United States, but I just don't
believe that it is a zero-sum game. I do think that the answer
is to increase the number of high-skilled immigrants that we
have, but also to put the folks who are already here on a path
Mr. King. But, Mayor Castro, then what I am hearing here is
that you wouldn't put a limit on any of those groups, you would
just fill up those categories essentially by the demand, and
that demand is potentially the entire population of the planet.
Let me ask you another question, and that is do you believe
that an immigration policy in this country should be
established to enhance the economic, social and cultural well-
being of the United States?
Mr. Castro. Well, I think that you and I agree that our
immigration policy should enhance the economic, social well-
being of the United States.
Mr. King. Thank you. And I have found that----
Mr. Castro. And I believe that it has been shown that
immigrants, high-skilled immigrants and what you would consider
low-skilled immigrants, do benefit the economic progress of the
Mr. King. Thank you.
And I turn to Mr. Teitelbaum. And I just recall the
gentlelady from California saying that the agriculture would
collapse if all of a sudden we didn't have the, quote,
``immigrant labor'' to do that. Did you agree with that, or do
you care to illuminate that subject a little for us, please?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Again, this is my comment, not the
Commission's comment, but if you suddenly removed the entire
workforce of fruit and vegetable agriculture in California and
the Southwest, it would collapse. But that is not the question.
The question really is should you continue to depend on
continuing inflows of people to be the workforce of that
Mr. King. Would you agree, Mr. Teitelbaum, that there are
many businesses in this country that have been predicated upon
the presumption that there would be unskilled and often illegal
labor to fill those ranks, and that our economic structure that
we see in the United States would be dramatically different if
the promise of the 1986 Amnesty Act had been upheld?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes, there are. There are many industries.
I have talked to a lot of the farmers in those areas, and they
tell me that they make their decisions about what crops to
plant based upon the assumption they will continue to have
Mr. King. I watched it happen in my district.
Thank you to the witnesses.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas
Ms. Jackson Lee for 5 minutes.
Ms. Jackson Lee. I thank the Chair very much.
Let me particularly thank all of you for your time here
today. It is a very important process that we are going
through, and if I have ever felt the spirit of the greatness of
America and what we are capable of doing, it is today, and it
is now, because of all of your testimony.
I want to put into the record quickly that in this year
2012, relating to border security--and I also serve on the
Homeland Security Committee--that Border Patrol agents have
apprehended 356,873 in 2012 under President Obama's
administration, and the budget has doubled from 6.3 billion to
11.7 billion. So I think that is an important note to make for
this record as we look at how we balance security and
comprehensive immigration reform.
I absolutely believe, in spite of your different interests,
that we cannot suffer a piecemeal process. It must be a
So, Mr. Wadhwa, let me thank you for your intellect and
genius and let me ask these questions very quickly. Those
individuals who have come, who are now technological giants,
many of them were trained in America's institutions of higher
learning; is that not accurate?
Mr. Wadhwa. That is correct.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And so the likes of--these two are
American citizens--Mark Zuckerberg went through Harvard. I
think he paused a little bit. Bill Gates went through Harvard,
but a number of those that you speak, Google, Yahoo, et cetera,
went through the Nation's institutions of higher learning.
Could it not also be that the children of those who have
different skills ultimately go through the Stanfords, Harvards,
Princetons and ultimately be the same kind of geniuses that
immigrants have been, or when I say immigrants, those
youngsters that you speak of? So that if you happen to be the
child of an unskilled, undocumented person, you could also
ascend to genius by going to those schools?
Mr. Wadhwa. I 100 percent agree, and my children are going
to outdo me.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Is it also true that many flock to the
United States because of institutions of higher learning that
have the excellent professors, such as yourself?
Mr. Wadhwa. Absolutely.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And is it also the commitment of American
to make sure that those individuals that may not necessarily be
the children of first-generation of immigrants but those who
look at this hearing and say, what is going to happen to me,
should we look to the promise of America for everyone, African
Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Anglos, should that be the
promise of America?
Mr. Wadhwa. I agree with that as well.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And would you commit then, when you
educate technological phase--our geniuses, that they should
look to making sure everyone has an opportunity?
Mr. Wadhwa. There is no disagreement on any of these
Ms. Jackson Lee. So when we talk about comprehensive
immigration reform, is it an important message that no one be
Mr. Wadhwa. I agree, but the issue of timing. Right now the
skilled immigrant issue is critical because, we are bleeding.
We need the talent. We need innovation to cure the economy. And
this is why I emphasized this over everything else.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And we thank you for that. Let me make you
a commitment. I am right there with you. We put the skilled
immigrants right there with the comprehensive immigration
reform, and we will roll forward together. You are absolutely
right. You have my commitment.
Mayor Castro, if I might ask you a question about two
issues. Working with immigrant issues, let me first of all say
how endearing the DREAM Act youngsters are. I spent a lot of
time with them in my office, literally saw a mother fall on the
ground, screaming, in my office when we were able to say that
we might have a deferred circumstance; tragically saw a person
who had a serious neurological issue be expelled from one of
our public hospitals while her husband paid taxes, sales taxes,
other taxes of which that hospital facility was built on, and
her child was a documented individual.
Can you speak to the horror of us not doing comprehensive
immigration reform, the pains of those kind of stories? If we
put a face on those kind of stories, and can you relate it to
the diversity of your city that includes African American and
others who have come together and worked together and have
shown productivity when we work together?
Mr. Castro. Yeah, well, I am very proud of San Antonio over
the years. You have people from many backgrounds. Many
immigrants have come up and built up one of the Nation's
leading cities today.
But you are right. I hear the stories. I met with the
dreamers of folks oftentimes who are doing great in high
school. They find out that they are not here documented. They
call the United States home. America is the only country that
they have ever called home. They are as patriotic as anybody
else. They worry every day about their parents. They worry
about themselves and whether they are going to be trapped with
very little future, despite the fact that they have great
talent and a lot to offer the country.
It rips families apart at the seams to be in this kind of
limbo, and it injures communities because we are not fully able
to take advantage of the brain power of those young people. I
believe that brain power is the currency of success in this
21st century economy. I also agree with you that that brain
power comes from many different quarters. And my grandmother
came to San Antonio through Eagle Pass, Texas, in 1922 as a 6-
year-old orphan. She wasn't a high-skilled worker. But two
generations later, you know, her grandson is the mayor of the
city and the other grandson is the Congressman from San
Antonio. These are the stories that we have to pay heed to when
we think about the need to do this comprehensively.
Mr. Goodlatte. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Gohmert, is recognized for 5
Mr. Gohmert. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the
witnesses for being here today.
Yeah, I am down here on the Chairman's far right, imagine
Mayor, you are right. We do have to put faces on things and
like when I saw the President with children gathered around him
as he is often doing now, I think about the financial burden we
are putting on our children. First generation in American
history that is actually making things worse for future
generations. Instead of sacrificing ourselves, we are spending
money like crazy.
And part of it is health care. We have just had Obamacare a
couple of years ago passed, and now seniors are seeing the
massive cuts that are affecting their ability to get health
One of the problems it seems with our economy, the
overspending with the burden on health care, is that even
though people in business, the Chamber wants to look the other
way sometimes on people coming in illegally if they are working
providing cheap labor, is that the rest of Americans are paying
the health care of those who come in, if they are coming in
illegally. And so the health care, it is free to those
individuals, but somebody is paying it.
I just wondered about, you know, as we hear farmers--and
apparently, it is essential that they have immigrant workers
come in, harvest crops. We have heard that over and over. Would
any of you have any problem with saying, okay, you want to
bring in temporary workers to harvest your crop, then you need
an umbrella health insurance policy that covers the people that
you are bringing in to work temporarily?
I am looking for grounds for compromise, where we could
work something out so we accommodate those who need temporary
workers and yet not continue to bust the system. Would anybody
be offended by a requirement that an employer to bring in
temporary workers provide an umbrella health insurance policy?
Mr. Castro. Well, I would just say, Representative Gohmert,
that, you know, I had not given that thought, but I do believe
that we need to address the 11 million folks who are already
here. And with regard to future workforce needs----
Mr. Gohmert. Well, and I understand that, Mayor, but that
is not the direction of my question. And since my time is
limited, I do need to move on. But you have all agreed that our
policy should be what is in the best interested of the United
States. We have heard before there may be--I am sorry, 1.5
billion that want to come to the United States. Obviously, that
would overwhelm our system, and then nobody would want to come
here because we would be bankrupt.
But we often talk about all of those who cross our borders
illegally. But as the Chairman has pointed out before, 40
percent of the people who are unlawfully in the country right
now came in lawfully and have overstayed their visa, their
means of coming in legally.
Does anybody on the panel believe we should advertise to
the world, if you come in temporarily on a visa, you don't have
to leave? I mean, it may sound like a silly question, but that
is a concern of mine that we may be advertising. When Steve
King and I had gone over to talk with folks about--and they
don't like the term ``illegal immigration'' in England. They
told it is ``irregular migration.'' It sounds like something
else. But anyway, whether it is irregular migration or illegal
immigration, they said they have a law that provides if you
come into England, you have to swear that you will not accept
any government benefits for a period of 5 years. As they said,
since it is all about the best interest of our country, we need
to make sure people coming in contribute before they take out.
Would anybody have a problem if we had such a prohibition?
We welcome you in, whatever comprehensive agreement gets worked
out to have an agreement, you don't get benefits until you are
here at least 5 years contributing to the system. Anybody have
a problem with that?
Mr. Wadhwa. We have to provide medical benefits regardless
of who we bring in. That is a must for every human being.
Mr. Gohmert. Okay, so whoever we bring in, we are going to
give free healthcare.
Mr. Wadhwa. They have to pay for health care. They pay
Mr. Gohmert. So if somebody coming in pays for it, they
aren't getting free health care.
Mr. Wadhwa. It can't be free. It should be paid for.
Mr. Gohmert. All right. Thank you.
Mr. Castro. I would also just say, Mr. Representative, as
you know, legal, permanent residents right now, as I
understand, don't qualify for traditional welfare or health
care. So I believe that a lot of that has been resolved by the
law that is in place.
Mr. Gohmert. You are probably aware that we do have
government agencies that actually go out and recruit people for
government benefits, whether they are here legally or
illegally, which is something else we need to look at.
But I really appreciate your time. I see my time is
expired. Thank you.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank the gentleman.
The gentlewoman from California, Ms. Chu, is recognized for
Ms. Chu. First, let me just reiterate that point. There is
a 5-year ban on benefits for legal, permanent residents, so
they cannot just come in and get the health benefits. So that
is totally a myth that is out there.
But I would like to ask some questions pertaining to
families and comprehensive immigration reform.
Mayor Castro, one of the immigration priorities for the
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus is that comprehensive immigration
reform protects the unity and sanctity of families by ensuring
that families are reunited. Under the current immigration
system, there is a significant backlog. Adult children of U.S.
citizens who live in the Philippines have been waiting for 20
years to be reunited with their parents, and adult children
living in Mexico have been waiting 19 years to be reunited with
Americans really, I believe, shouldn't have to choose
between their country and building a life with their children.
So, Mayor Castro, as the grandson of an immigrant and a
public servant, how problematic is it that families are being
split apart and why are families good for our economy and our
Mr. Castro. Yeah, well, thank you for the question.
This is always--this has long been the policy of the United
States for good reason. Families make each individual stronger.
That is the basis, I think, of much of the strength of our
communities, the economic progress, the moral progress that we
have made. You know, we hear stories every now and then of
folks who have a dying relative in another country and someone
they have been waiting to try and bring over for years or
someone who is here undocumented, who is deathly afraid of
going across the border to go visit a dying mother or a dying
father, just can't do it because they know what the risk is.
We are stronger because we have had this family-based
system, and part of what we have to do for folks who are
citizens, who are here legally as well, is to clear that
backlog. We need to invest to clear that backlog and make sure
that we can strengthen this.
Ms. Chu. Thank you for that and I want to ask also about
the families of H-1B workers.
Mr. Vivek Wadhwa, you talked about the need for our highly-
skilled workers. And I totally agree. Even with unemployment at
historically high levels, a large number of jobs are going
unfulfilled because of a lack of qualified workers in science,
technology, engineering, and math, and that is why I do support
the creation of the STEM visas and improvements to the current
employment-based green card system.
But in your testimony, you talked about how the family
members of H-1B workers or skilled workers live as second-class
citizens, that they spouses are not allowed to work, and
depending on the State in which they live, they might not be
able to get driver's licenses, or open a bank account. And
because of this, these workers are getting frustrated and
So how does the fairness for the families and loved ones of
highly-skilled workers impact our ability to bring engineers
and scientists to the U.S.? Does it serve as a deterrent not to
have something in place?
Mr. Wadhwa. Yeah, you know, I hate to say this, but the
women in Saudi Arabia have more rights than the spouses of the
wives of H-1B workers. It is inhuman the way we treat them.
They are highly skilled in many cases. In some States, they
can't get driver's licenses, which means that they are confined
to the home. What sort of a country is this which brings people
in, highly-skilled immigrants, but doesn't give them equal
rights? This is wrong. It has to be fixed. And what happens is
that after being here 2 or 3 years, they get increasingly
frustrated. This is one of the reasons why people leave here,
and they have such marital problems because their wives are
equally productive people, and they are not allowed to work
because of the current laws. It must be fixed.
Ms. Chu. Thank you for that.
Mr. Arora, you had a very compelling story about coming
here as one of the best and the brightest students, and then
you became a leader in the biotech field, working for Amgen,
and now for Genentech. But yet, it took you 15 years to get
your permanent status, and yet, you had a wife and now you have
two beautiful young children. You talk about certain solutions
and that could continue family-based immigration and make sure
that immigrant families are able to work together and, through
their combined forces, pay taxes, buy homes and start job-
I was interested in one of your solutions, which is that
spouses and children of employment-based immigrant visa
recipients, that they are exempted from the employment-based
caps. Could you talk more about that?
Mr. Arora. Thank you. When you become a citizen, which of
course, in my case, for example, after 15 years, I am now--my
character is being checked for the next 5 years to see if I can
be a citizen--during this period, and I know people who have
been through this, if you get married, for example, and I had a
colleague like this, you can't bring your spouse into the
country for a period of 5 years because that is the backlog for
immediate family. And my family is here with me, so I want to
say that I understand the importance of your family being with
you. It is really important.
Now, during these very long waits, if you are on an H-1, as
Mr. Wadhwa has just stated, there are certain States that will
restrict the ability of your spouse to do so much that it
becomes difficult as a family unit to continue your work or to
continue to stay in a meaningful manner. I count myself as very
fortunate. In 2007, for that 1 month when the State Department
decided to allow everyone to file adjustment of status, I was
able to get employment authorization, which means that my wife
could get the same. But anyone on an H-1B status does not have
that privilege. Not only that----
Mr. Goodlatte. Dr. Arora, you are going to have to
summarize. Her time has expired long ago.
Mr. Arora. I agree with you completely. It is a big
problem, and I want to echo what Vivek said, but it needs to be
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
The time of the gentlewoman has expired. The Chair would
ask the gentleman from Texas, when I recognize you, if you
would yield 30 seconds to me. So I might--I recognize the
gentleman from Texas. And if you would yield to me.
Mr. Poe. Certainly, I will yield 30 seconds.
Mr. Goodlatte. I appreciate that. I just want to clarify
for the record a statement made earlier. Some disagreement
We found in writing the STEM visa bill last year that when
we extended an additional provision that allowed people who are
on waiting lists for visas to come to the United States, we had
to provide additional pay-fors, because we looked at Obamacare,
the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and found that
it provides benefits to anyone who is lawfully present in the
So, even without permanent resident status, this is going
to be a major issue we will have to deal with as we look at
immigration reform because individuals on that will qualify for
benefits, which could be, as you know, for as many as 10
million people, very, very expensive.
And I thank the gentleman and yield back to the gentleman
Mr. Poe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
The issue of immigration to me covers many questions, not
just one or two. There are multifaceted questions to be
answered across the board. And I want to focus on a couple of
those in the next few minutes. We have the issue of skilled
workers coming to the United States. We train them. They go
home. They compete against the United States. Now, that is one
of the issues that we have.
Specifically, because of my location in the Houston area,
Mayor, which you are familiar with, we also had the fact that
the system to me is broken. It allows for abuse, and I am not
talking about people who are coming here to better themselves.
I am talking about the criminals who come in the United States,
mainly the drug cartels and their operation, and how they are
now become so sophisticated that they can cross the border into
Texas; that they have engaged now in human trafficking, and
unfortunately, Houston has become one of the hubs in the United
States for the disbursement of traffickated people. We had the
issue of 20 percent of the people in Federal penitentiaries
when they committed the crime, they were unlawfully in the
United States. Border security covers those particular issues.
And we have the other issues as well. But I would like to
concentrate specifically on trying to secure the border. I am
one of those that doesn't believe the border is secure,
otherwise we wouldn't have all of those organized crime
problems that have now been created in the United States.
At the border in Texas, as you know, there is the ability
for a person--different subject--to come in and cross the
border daily to go to school, to work; the 25-mile border visa
system. And they use some type of card, similar to this, where
they are allowed to cross into the United States daily.
Do you think, Mayor, because of your location in San
Antonio, that if we had a better legal entry visa, whether it
is a card with the biometrics, fingerprint, photograph, the
different electronic things that we can put when a person comes
into the United States, slides and glides, so to speak, we know
who that person is. They have permission to go to Oregon for 6
months, if that would help the overall issue of specifically
knowing who comes in lawfully or not? What do you think about
Mr. Castro. Well, I certainly think there is room for that
as a piece of it, sure. I think that the use of technology, the
systems that we have been developing have been improving. I
also would say, as you know, that in Texas included, the
dedication of boots on the ground of manpower at the border has
been accelerated over the last few years under President Bush,
and President Obama like never before. And we have doubled the
number of enforcement agents down there since 2004,
apprehensions are at a 40-year low.
So I would agree that as part of a comprehensive approach,
that the kinds of things that you are talking about should be a
part of the discussion, perhaps part of the legislation, but
that doesn't get to the issue of the folks who are here
Mr. Poe. Reclaiming my time. I understand that is one of
the questions that has to be addressed. But it is not the only
question that has to be addressed because there are many, many
issues, even legal immigration. My office, because of where we
are, our caseworkers spend more time on helping people get here
the right way than anything else they do except maybe working
with the military. And as has been pointed out by my friends on
the other side, that is a big problem where people have to wait
for years to just come in the right way. That has to be fixed
One comment I would make on the apprehensions. I know that
apprehensions may be down. That doesn't mean that the border is
more secure. It just means that apprehensions are down; less
people are being apprehended. You can look at that in a couple
of different ways. And in Texas, the Governor of the State, as
you know, is doing more than ever before in the State to help
border security as well.
So anybody else want to weigh in on improving the legal
visa system so that it is more secure because that is a
concern; as pointed out, many people come into the United
States the right way; they never go home. I mean, why would
they? They are in Texas. Why would they leave, you know? And
they are in San Antonio, or Houston.
Mr. Castro. I certainly agree with you there.
Mr. Poe. Anybody else want to weigh in on that? I am out of
Mr. Wadhwa. We may well need a biometric ID system in the
Mr. Poe. I can't hear you.
Mr. Wadhwa. I said, we may well need a biometric ID system
in the United States. India is IDing its entire population of 1
billion people, retina scans and fingerprints. We may need
something like that in the United States. I mean, we have
enough--right now, there is no such thing as privacy anymore
anyway. We might as well face it and say, okay, if you are
going to work here, you have to work legally. The Canadians do
that. I asked a Canadian minister, how is it that they manage
the immigration? He says, because even if the illegal
immigrants come here, they can't work. Therefore, there is
pressure on people to legalize and do those things by the book.
We might have to bite the bullet over here.
Mr. Poe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.
Mr. Goodlatte. The Chair thanks the gentleman, and turns
now to the gentlewoman from--you tell me--from California.
The gentlewoman from California, with my apologies, is
recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. Bass. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I wanted to ask a couple of questions, and this of Mayor
Castro, and you may or may not know the answer, but maybe, you
know, you can tell me. When we talk about a pathway to
citizenship, and we talk about people who are undocumented
being here and having to go at the end of the line and what
they would have to do, pay their taxes, pay fines, whatever,
sometimes I think when that conversation comes up, it is as
though that would only take a couple of months. And I think--
well, first of all, I do support a pathway to citizenship. I
don't want to be shy about that. But I wanted to know if you
had some thought as to how long that would take? If somebody
goes to the back of the line, it is, you know.
Mr. Castro. Thank you for the question. First, I would just
say that earlier the question was asked about, well, what is
the compromise? The compromise is the fact that this is earned
citizenship, that one would be fined. One would have to learn
English, pay back taxes, go to the back of the line, and that
line is a long line.
Ms. Bass. Right.
Mr. Castro. The fact is, as Dr. Arora said, that for folks
who were legally applying, that that takes too long right now.
It takes sometimes over a decade or longer, and so for anyone
who thinks that this would be some sort of automatic
application that somebody would be in in a couple of months,
that is not the case at all. This is a years-long process, and
it is also earned. That is an important point to be made.
Ms. Bass. Thank you. I appreciate that. You know, another
area that I am concerned about, and I would like to know how
this might be impacting your city, a lot of research, an issue
that I work on is foster care. And because of the deportations
that have taken place over the last few years, there are
anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 children who have been placed in
foster care because their parents have been deported. The
children were citizens. And I wanted to know if that is
affecting your city, and what your thoughts might be on how we
would include a resolution for that situation as we do
comprehensive immigration reform.
Mr. Castro. Sure. In any community the size of San Antonio,
you do have examples of families that have been torn apart, and
certainly, I hope that in this legislation, we can find a way
in addressing immigration reform comprehensively to deal with
those types of situations.
I remember that George Bush, when he was Governor of Texas,
used to say that family values don't end at the Rio Grande, and
that is certainly true, still; that keeping the family together
has been so much a part of the progress of America, and so my
hope is that can be addressed.
Ms. Bass. Absolutely, and I think when we talk about family
values, we really have to consider this, and so one of the
issues that I would be concerned about is those people that
have been deported. How do we reunite them with their children?
We did a listening tour in Miami, and I went to a residential
facility for foster youth, and there were a group of children
that were arriving that day, in Miami, from California, who
were being sent to live in Miami. So not only are they
completely disconnected from their parents but any environment
that they might have known. And what is to happen to those
kids? So when we are thinking about resources of our country,
our government could wind up supporting those children all of
their lives because we have disconnected them from their
families. So I think it is an important issue that we factor in
when we do comprehensive immigration reform.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
Mr. Teitelbaum, I wanted to ask you a question because you
made reference to--one of the previous Members had asked you
about the agricultural industry, and coming from California,
clearly, that is a major industry. And you said something about
how if unskilled workers were not allowed in the country or
were removed, that maybe growers would make different decisions
about what they would grow?
And I was wondering if you could give a couple of examples,
because I can't think of--I can't think of crops that would not
require farm workers, and how would a State like California,
that feeds a good percentage of the country, then make
decisions about certain crops?
Mr. Teitelbaum. I can give you a very memorable example
visiting a farm or ranch that had a very large number of
apricot trees that had to be hand picked. And I was talking
with the farmer and asking him what his situation was on labor.
He said, well, all of these people are undocumented, and I
don't pay them very much so I can afford to hand pick these
apricots. You have to hand pick apricots. They are a very
So I said, well, what would you do if you didn't have that
labor force or the price went up substantially? He said, well,
we are already losing money on our apricots to apricots coming
into the port of San Francisco from Turkey that are
undercutting what we can sell them for. I am probably going to
do this anyway, but if it happened the way you describe, I
would certainly do it. I would cut down all of these apricot
trees, and I would plant walnuts, walnut trees. They would grow
great on this land, and with the walnut tree, you put a tarp
under the tree, you bring up a mechanical shaker, you shake the
tree, all of the walnuts fall on the tarp and you have
harvested the tree in about 10 minutes. You still need some
labor, but a lot less labor. That is typical, I think.
Ms. Bass. Okay, so I would just suggest that you would
devastate the economy of California if California then only
switched over to crops that did not require the labor of farm
Mr. Teitelbaum. Well, they will require some farm workers
always, but the question is, how intensive is the labor needed
for a given crop?
Ms. Bass. So walnuts, do you have any other examples of
crops that do not require farm workers?
Mr. Teitelbaum. There are many crops that are labor
intensive and many crops that are not. I mean, wheat is not
Ms. Bass. Okay, well, thank you. I yield back the balance
of my time.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentlewoman.
And the Chair is pleased to recognize the Chairman of the
Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, the gentleman
from South Carolina, Mr. Gowdy.
Mr. Gowdy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Mayor, I want to make sure I understand you correctly
and fully. Can you support a path to legal status that does not
end in citizenship?
Mr. Castro. No, I support a pathway to citizenship. I
believe that is----
Mr. Gowdy. So there is no form of legal status that you
would support short of full-fledged citizenship?
Mr. Castro. I just don't believe that is in the Nation's
Mr. Gowdy. So the answer is no.
Mr. Castro. I believe that a pathway to full citizenship is
what the Congress ought to enact, so sure.
Mr. Gowdy. And I think you earlier referenced that as a
compromise, and I am curious. A compromise between what?
Because I don't hear anyone advocating for full-fledged
citizenship without background checks or full-fledged
citizenship without back taxes or full-fledged citizenship
without fines. So it is a compromise between what?
Mr. Castro. Well, I think you would agree with me, Mr.
Chairman, that this point that you are at right now that you
are talking about, these, you know, the fact that they would
have to pay a fine, that they would go to the back of the line,
that they would have to learn English, that has been worked up
as a compromise between Senators from different parties, and
perhaps House Members.
Mr. Gowdy. But my question to you is, that represents a
compromise between what? Because I don't know anyone who is
advocating against that. So you represent that as being a
compromise. A compromise strikes me as a balance between two
competing principles. I don't hear anyone advocating for full-
fledged citizenship with no conditions precedent at all. So how
is that a compromise?
Mr. Castro. It is a compromise in my mind because Senators
from different parties, as Americans want folks to do from
different parties, came together, and put together a framework.
I am sure they had their divergent views, so if we went to the
beginning of the process, then I am sure there was more
divergence in their views. What was put on the table, including
the planks that you just stated, represents a compromise
Mr. Gowdy. What about those who are currently here who do
not desire citizenship? Would it be forced upon them or could
they opt out?
Mr. Castro. Well, I believe that throughout our history, it
you know, has been left up to the individual.
Mr. Gowdy. So you don't have----
Mr. Castro. Nobody is talking about forcing folks to become
Mr. Gowdy. So you do not. Because the polls I have seen,
there is a large percentage that just want to work legally.
They don't desire to be full-fledged citizens. So you would not
force that upon them.
Mr. Castro. What I hear are an enormous number of people
who want to be full American citizens. They are patriotic
people. They want to serve in the military. They want to be
productive for the country. They want to be full-fledged
citizens, and I believe that that is in the best interest of
the Nation. I don't believe that we should--I guess the
alternative would be that we----
Mr. Gowdy. And there is not a legal status short of
citizenship that you could accept under any compromise. Because
the compromise you made reference to is a Senate compromise.
There is no compromise short of full-fledged citizenship that
you could endorse.
Mr. Castro. Well, of course, at the end of the day, this is
in your hands, but----
Mr. Gowdy. But I am asking you.
Mr. Castro. I know, and I believe that the compromise that
has been worked out by the Senators, and maybe worked on by the
House Members, that represents a great compromise and that
Americans can support that.
Mr. Gowdy. What are some of the elements of the background
check that you would be most interested in? Because the word
background check means different things to different people. I
assume it is more than just an NCIC check to see whether or not
someone suffered a felony conviction. What do you mean by
Mr. Castro. Well, and I readily acknowledge, you know, I am
not a technical expert, not in law enforcement, and so I
understand you all are going to have a panel that is going to
deal with enforcement.
Mr. Gowdy. But you are an attorney. You are an attorney,
very well-trained attorney, so----
Mr. Castro. Not very good at law school, though.
Mr. Gowdy. Better than most of the Members of Judiciary, I
suspect your grades were. So what would you include in that
background check? Because Mr. Forbes asked you, I thought it
was a very good question. If you set the bar at felony
convictions, that is a pretty high standard. For those who are
under investigation by the bureau, or someone else, and you
could maybe meet the level of probable cause, but not beyond a
reasonable doubt, would you be willing to exclude them from
Mr. Castro. Well, I think that what has been discussed does
go beyond just folks who have been convicted of a felony. I
understand that there may be some instances, but that is going
to be case specific. I think that kind of thing needs to be
adjudicated. You know, it is, you know, somewhere between
assuming that somebody has committed a crime and recognizing
that there are circumstances where someone does present a
danger to the United States and should not be in the country. I
do think that there is leeway there. I would grant you that.
And these are the kinds of things that--I don't disagree with
the general point that, you know, this is not easy. This is
detailed. It is important work, but I believe, at the end of
the day, that the compromise, the general principles of the
compromise that have been worked out in the Senate are the ones
that are the best option for the United States.
Mr. Gowdy. My very last question to you because I am out of
time is this: This is not our country's first foray into
amnesty. And you talked about citizenship and all of the
benefits that that confers on folks. One of the benefits it
confers is that you have the protection of the law. So how
would you explain to folks, in my district or Congressman
Labrador's, who really do place a high value on respect for the
rule of law, why we are doing this again if it hasn't worked in
Mr. Castro. Well, I think you and I would agree that, as
many folks have said, we are a Nation of laws. We draw our
strength from the fact that we are a Nation of laws. At the
same time, we are also a Nation of immigrants, and we have
progressed as a Nation because we are pragmatic, and we
understand that these 11 million folks that are here, that this
has to be addressed. It is in our national security interest.
It is in our national economic interest. So I do think that we
can find a way to punish these folks for not coming in here
legally but, at the same time, address the pragmatic issue that
is in front of us.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Louisiana, Mr.
Richmond, for 5 minutes.
Mr. Richmond. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Earlier the question was posed to each of you, and you all
were given the ability to just say yes or no, and I thought it
was unfair. But the question was, should America do what is in
America's best interest when talking about immigration. And I
guess the question that, the part that was left out is, do you
consider a cost-benefit analysis on each person as the only
factor in what is in America's best interest?
So if they are only going to come and be very successful
business owners and create jobs, is that the only factor we
should look at when determining what is in America's best
interest? And we can start with you, Mr. Wadhwa.
Mr. Wadhwa. There needs to be a balance over here because
if we just bring people in and there are no jobs for them, we
are going to create a complete mess. They lose and we lose.
What I have been arguing for is bringing in a crop of
highly-skilled immigrants who can help this country become
competitive, who can create new technologies, who can create
jobs, make the pie bigger so we can bring the other people in.
Mr. Richmond. But that shouldn't be the only factor, is my
Mr. Wadhwa. That should not be the only thing because they
are going to bring their families in as well.
Mr. Richmond. And I will have a follow-up for you, Mr.
Teitelbaum. Should it be the only factor?
Mr. Teitelbaum. No, it shouldn't be. Can I say more than
Mr. Richmond. If it is quick.
Mr. Teitelbaum. The family category doesn't have that
criteria, and it is the dominant category in legal immigration.
So if you focus in on the skills-based or the employment-based,
that is a different, that is a small category.
Mr. Richmond. No, and I agree with that.
Mr. Arora. No, I agree with what both of them said. The
balance is important. The balance has always been true in this
Mr. Richmond. And Mr. Mayor?
Mr. Castro. We need a balanced approach.
Mr. Richmond. And the reason why I posed the question was
because, and Mr. Wadhwa, you brought it up first, why don't we
just get the skilled labor part done first? Well, politically,
and just being very practical about it, if we got the skilled
labor part done first, do you think we would ever come behind
it and finish the job?
I think it has to be a comprehensive approach, or we will
never get to the hard part. So that was probably my biggest
concern, especially when I hear the conversation about the
category for diversity being maybe reduced or eliminated
completely, when diversity adds something to this country, and
we should never forget it. And if we go back to the Declaration
of Independence, you know, one of the facts that was used to
talk about the king was the fact that he was preventing people
from coming to the country and being able to migrate here. And
then if we look at the Statue of Liberty, when it says, give me
your tired, and your poor. What I don't want people to take
away from this hearing is that all of a sudden we forgot about
the tired and the poor and the people who are striving for a
So those are probably my biggest concerns when we look at
just the precedent we are setting. And we have economic
problems, and we are getting out of them like we always do. And
we will always prosper because we are resilient. But the
question becomes, what about the moral ground that we would see
if we just say we are going to forget about 11 million people?
We are only going to focus on skilled workers. We are not going
to take care of spouses and equal protection under the laws,
and all those things. Do you worry about that?
Mr. Wadhwa. I do, and the thing is, right now, the country
is in a mess. Our economy is in horrible shape. We have a brain
drain going on for the first time in its history. This has
never, ever happened before. We have never, America has always
been a land of immigrants, not emigrants. It is happening right
now. If we wait 3 years to fix the skill problem, we lose a
couple of hundred thousand more great people who could be
healing our economy. And unless and until the economy heals,
the American public will not be receptive to the unskilled
So it is a mess right now, and all I am talking about is
let's agree on what we agree on, get that over and done with.
Let's agree on the skill. Let's agree on the DREAM Act. Let's
give some kind of a green card to the undocumented workers
while we decide on the citizenship. That is so toxic right now
that I am not optimistic we can solve that problem. Maybe we
will. Maybe I will be wrong, but in the meantime, let's agree
on what we agree on and make things easier for everyone.
I am saying give these undocumented workers green cards. My
father has a green card, for example. He hasn't gotten his
citizenship. He has lived here for 30 years happily without
having that problem. You don't have to have citizenship to, you
know, do what is right for people. Let's solve the problem
where it can be solved.
Mr. Richmond. Mr. Teitelbaum?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes, my wife lived here for 25 years on a
green card until she decided to naturalize. And the only
difference was she couldn't vote in the school board elections,
which annoyed her. The Statue of Liberty is on the cover of all
of the Commission on Immigration Reform reports, and on the
diversity visas, I think if you look at the composition the
national origin and other composition of current legal
immigration to the U.S., it is very diverse. When that
provision was passed, there was concern it was not diverse
Since then, it has become very diverse. And these are
adding 55,000 visas that are getting 8 million applications
each year, randomly allocated by computerized lottery. That is
a somewhat odd way to set priorities. The commission said we
should set priorities, and we should deliver on them. And the
diversity visa program, it felt then, and I think would say
now, it does not rise to that level of priority compared to the
Mr. Goodlatte. The time of the gentleman has expired.
And the Chair recognizes the gentleman from Idaho Mr.
Labrador for 5 minutes.
Mr. Labrador. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am excited that we are having this hearing. I think it is
important that we modernize our immigration system. I think we
all agree that we have a broken immigration system, but we need
to find a solution to the problems that we have by being fair.
We need to be fair to the millions of Americans that want to
follow the rule of law. We need to be fair to the millions of
people that are waiting in line to come legally to the United
States. And I do think we do have to be fair to the 11 million
people or so that are here in the United States illegally.
So I have a few questions about this, but first, I want to
go to Mr. Teitelbaum. You spoke about the sibling category in
your report. Can you explain? I actually agree with your
conclusion in the report. I think we should get rid of the
sibling category. Can you just explain a little bit and just
short, why you think that is important?
Mr. Teitelbaum. There aren't enough visas allocated for the
huge volume of applications. You have got a 2.5 million person
waiting list. And one of the Members has already mentioned what
the wait times are, which vary from 12 to 20 years, depending
on the country. So if you are not going to manage by backlog,
which is what the commission said we should not be doing, that
is a category that is being managed by unconscionable backlogs.
Mr. Labrador. And we could actually use those visas and
allocate them to spouses and----
Mr. Teitelbaum. To the higher priorities.
Mr. Labrador [continuing]. To the higher priorities.
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes, indeed.
Mr. Labrador. But something that I disagree with you on the
report is the guest worker issue. And I am a little bit
dumbfounded by it, and I know this report came out a few years
Mr. Teitelbaum. Fifteen years ago.
Mr. Labrador. Yes. You know, in my State, in Idaho, we have
a large dairy industry, and at least two Idaho dairy farmers
have experienced I-9 audits in the last couple of years. In
one, 32 out of the 40 employees didn't qualify to work in the
United States; and the other one, 47 out of 57 did not qualify.
They went ahead, fired all of those employees, and they
went ahead and asked for people to come work at the dairy. They
couldn't find a single person who applied for that position who
spoke English. Now, they don't know if the people are legal or
illegal, because the people they hired have legal documents,
and they haven't done another I-9 audit. But how can you say we
don't have a need? I mean, that is a large number of employees
that needed to be hired, and not a single person who spoke
English applied for the position.
Mr. Teitelbaum. I don't know the circumstances in Idaho,
Congressman. I am sorry, but I would say that it is true that
in some agricultural areas, employers, typically in rural
areas, which is where agriculture normally is anyway----
Mr. Labrador. Typically.
Mr. Teitelbaum. Well, not always--but have become dependent
on the assumption they can recruit from this undocumented
workforce, and nobody----
Mr. Labrador. But this is different. This is somebody who
had to fire everybody who was working at their dairy, and they
couldn't find anybody who could be, you know, who could speak
English. I don't know what their status was.
I was an immigration lawyer for 15 years and I found the
same experience in some of the agricultural areas, in the dairy
industry, agricultural industries. It is hard to find American
workers who want to do the job. And then your solution is just
they should do something else. They should pick almonds instead
of something else. But the reality is that we should let the
market decide that, shouldn't we?
You know, it seems to me that even in the example that you
gave us, the owner of the farm had already decided that he
wasn't going to pick the apricots anymore because the market
was not working. And I think we need to do something about our
guest workers, so I disagree with you there.
Mr. Teitelbaum. It is the commission.
Mr. Labrador. With the commission, I apologize.
Mayor Castro, I believe--I liked your words that we
progress because we are pragmatic. But yet, it seems to me that
your solution is not pragmatic. You say that it has to be a
pathway to citizenship or nothing else. Also, in my 15 years of
experience as an immigration lawyer, I talked with thousands
and thousands of people who are here illegally. And what they
want is, they want to come out of the shadows. They want to be
able to be legal. They want to be able to work. They want to be
able to travel. They want to feel like they are treated with
dignity. Not many people told me I want to be a citizen. I have
to be a citizen in order to feel like I am a dignified person.
So if we can find a solution that is a short of pathway to
citizenship, short of pathway to citizenship, but better than
just kicking 12 million people out, why is that not a good
Mr. Castro. Well, I would say that that is not the solution
that is in the Nation's best interest. I think that is what I
said, and I think that would be the most pragmatic solution.
And one of the reasons that I believe that, is that if we don't
go down that route, then I am convinced that we are more likely
to find ourselves here again in 10 years, 15 years, 20 years.
So, you know, if you asked me, would that be better than zero,
I wouldn't necessarily disagree with that. But is that
sufficient? Does that actually address the issues that we have
in front of us? No. It is not a sufficient solution.
Mr. Labrador. And my time has run out, but the question
that I have for you and for all advocates of immigration reform
is whether you want a political solution or a policy solution?
If we want to political solution, you guys are going to insist
on pathway to citizenship. You are going to beat Republicans
over the head on this issue. But if we want a policy solution,
I think there is goodwill here in the House of Representatives
for us to come together, actually have a pragmatic solution to
the current problem that we have, and solve and modernize the
immigration system for years to come. But thank you very much.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Gutierrez, is recognized
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Gutierrez. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. First, I
would like to say that while we have been here, every minute,
someone has been deported. Most of those deported have
committed really no crime other than working in the United
States, which is a misdemeanor the last time I checked. They
are raising their families. They are contributing. There is
always the question about paying taxes. Well, they pay taxes.
You can check with the Social Security department. There is
this large fund that goes unaccounted for. That means they
really don't know who to attribute that money to because people
have contributed. I think we need to do comprehensive
immigration reform so when they pay taxes, it goes into the
right account. And it helps fund and fuel our economy.
I want the mayor and the States and the Federal Government
to garner all of those tax dollars and not for it to be in the
pocket of some unscrupulous employer that is taxing them, but
then not sending the money on.
Plus, given the 1986 legislation, we all know that there
was an increase in the earning ability of the undocumented once
they became. I mean, everybody keeps talking about, you know,
innovation. Let me give you a little innovation. We talk a lot
about the uncertainty of the market and what we do as a
Congress. The uncertainty about what we do and what that causes
for our financial markets.
I just want everybody to think one moment. What do you
think about the uncertainty in the life of 11 million
undocumented workers when you give them certainty? I will tell
you what I believe they are going to do. They are going to go
buy that house that they have always been thinking about buying
but, since they were undocumented, didn't. They are going to
buy that car. We know that 75 percent of our economic activity
in the United States is what, somebody going and purchasing
something. I want you to think. I want you to think about
people going to insurance agencies and to banks and opening
accounts and to invest and to save. And most importantly, as I
and other baby boomers, yes, I am 59 years old, and I am part
of that group of people that is going to be hopefully soon
going into the sunset.
Mr. Issa. How soon? How soon?
Mr. Gutierrez. And while we have a lot of people, we have
the largest percentage of people ever before in the history of
our Nation that are leaving our workforce in the next 15 years.
We need to replace them, and we need to replace these assets.
Let me take a moment to say the following: There are
undocumented people in this room. There are dreamers in this
room. I am happy that the President used his executive
authority. Five hundred thousand of them are now safe from
deportation; 150,000 of them. One of them is in my office. And
I have got to tell you something. He is not a burden. He got
legalized. He came to my office. We hired him. He is working.
He is paying taxes. He has got health care. How did he get
health care; the way most of us get health care. I don't think
we should look at immigrants and say, how are they going to get
Well, the same way that Members of Congress get health
care. We get health care at our place of employment. That is
the same place they are probably going to get health care, and
if not. So I want to say to everybody that is here. I want to
quickly say to those that have come here, and I am sorry, I am
going to butcher your name, Dr. Wadhwa.
Mr. Wadhwa. Good enough.
Mr. Gutierrez. Good enough. And I want to say to Mr. Arora,
to both of you. We have a bill. It was introduced by the
gentlelady from California. For 10 years, I insisted that
nothing happen on STEM or any other particular part of
comprehensive immigration reform unless we did it all. But last
year, I think in good faith and to show that we wanted to work
with everybody, we said 50,000, I will not object, but they
needed to be clean.
We didn't want you to get something while someone else lost
something. We wanted to give it to you. And in our bill,
50,000, you get to come from the very first day with your wife.
You get to come from the very first day with your children.
Because we believe we should welcome you and your talent and at
the same time, not have to make a distinction between serving
this country and bringing your talent and sacrificing the love
and cherishing the fact that your family might not be there
So we think that that is important so I am going to
continue to work. And I say to my colleagues on the other side
of the aisle, we can resolve this and many other issues.
Lastly, I want to say a special thank you to Mayor Castro.
You just lit up our house. My wife, and my daughters, and my
grandson, Luisito. You lit us up with your speech at the
Democratic Convention, with your leadership as mayor, with your
poise, with the way it is you just make us all so proud, and
with your story. And I would like to say to you that I am so
thankful that America gave your grandparents a chance and that
you are here with us today, because I know that not only San
Antonio, but Texas, the Nation is better because of your
service. Thank you so much for your testimony here today.
And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from California, Mr. Issa, is recognized for
The Committee will have order. This is not the way--this is
not the way to make your point. All of those must leave. Just
so you are not in doubt about the rules of the Committee.
I want to make sure everybody knows that the House Rules
provide that the Chairman of the Committee may punish breaches
of order and decorum by censure and exclusion from the hearing.
We just a moment ago did not have order in the hearing
room. Members of the audience must behave in an orderly fashion
or else they will be removed from the hearing room. And let me
just say as an aside, that was not a good accent point to the
excellent points made by the gentleman from Illinois.
The way we resolve this is through discussion and careful
deliberation about the issues, not by disrupting efforts to
educate the Members of this Committee and the public.
And we will resume the hearing. And the gentleman from
California is recognized, without penalty to the loss of any of
his 5 minutes for that disruption.
Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman, can I get an extra minute for this
Mr. Goodlatte. Maybe.
Mr. Issa. Well, first of all, in several ways I want to
associate myself with my good friend from Illinois.
Luis, I am 1 month, 9 days older than you, but that doesn't
mean that there is any real difference in us as Baby Boomers.
We are going to exit the scene, and I don't want to exit the
scene without resolving an immigration problem that predated my
entrance and the gentleman's entrance into Congress.
That group of disruptions really didn't understand my
politics. I do believe we can get to a substantial, if not
complete, immigration reform bill, and I hope, after 12 years
on this Committee of trying to get there, it is my fervent hope
that this is that window of opportunity.
I do have some concerns from earlier.
Mr. Teitelbaum, I want to associate myself with Ms.
Lofgren. I heard you say basically that we should grow
different crops in California as a resolution to needing labor
that we can't seem to find. Is that pretty well correct?
Mr. Teitelbaum. No. What I am saying is that farmers and
employers in general make decisions incrementally over time
based upon the availability of labor at what price.
Mr. Issa. Absolutely.
Mr. Teitelbaum. And so we have allowed, we have allowed a
system to evolve in which those farmers who have made those
decisions based on that assumption are dependent on that
continuing flow of labor. That is the nature of both temporary
worker programs and undocumented.
Mr. Issa. I want to challenge that for a moment. As a
Californian, I was there in 1986 when the law changed. And I
have seen my farmers, some that I represented in the past, some
that I still represent, flowers, tomatoes, strawberries, and
then my wife's home up in Salinas County, Monterey County,
literally, the lettuce, the majority of all lettuce comes from
that one county. The majority of all lettuce in America comes
from that one county. If we simply say that we can't have labor
to pick that and that we need to make other decisions, it is
fertile land. You are absolutely right. We will grow something
else, and we will import our lettuce from another country.
If the real question is do we have an effective program
that gives opportunity to people outside the U.S. to come to
the United States, work for a period of time, and periodically
return home in a nonimmigrant, in a migrant way, if we have an
ineffective program and we could have an effective program, and
I think that is the real question.
In the 1990's, when you were studying this, you were
studying it at a time in which the problem had been fixed, and
it was getting rebroken as we spoke. You had migrant labor who
had become under the 1986 law permanent, and they were
beginning to either be in the management ranks of agriculture,
or they were leaving agriculture, and that is pretty
understandable. But isn't it true--true in the 1990's, true
today--that there are tens of millions of people outside the
U.S. who would stand in line to get good-paying--by their
standards--migrant jobs here in America and would do so under a
set of rules that were fair to them and fair to us?
Mr. Teitelbaum. If they were fair, that is a big ``if,'' of
course, because temporary worker programs generally have not
had that character. And then I would suggest----
Mr. Issa. Well, let me challenge that, because, you know, I
want a successful resolution, and I believe a successful
resolution is, one, deal with people already here and in an
appropriate and comprehensive way; two, obviously empower us to
bring in the people who add to our economy; and three, deal
with low-skill jobs that in many cases if people come to this
country, they do them for a short period of time.
Is our standard today supposed to be an American wage for
an American job--and I want to go to Mr. Wadhwa--or should it
be a wage which is completely fair and greater than the wage
someone would find in their home country for coming here, and
sufficient for them to not only earn a living, but also go home
with more money? And if that is the standard, then isn't that
an achievable standard where it is a win-win? We can get our
crops dealt with in a decent way; they can be better off for
it; and we can have a flow of labor for that one portion that,
in fact, would not be subject to chain migration.
Mr. Teitelbaum. The Commission recommendation said that
that was an attractive goal, but not possible to achieve,
number one. Number two----
Mr. Issa. Not possible to achieve. I will go back to my
premise, and I want to be quick. My premise was that we pay
more than they would find in their home country, but not
necessarily what we are paying today with all the rules under
the AG program of H-2A.
Mr. Teitelbaum. The other thing, Congressman, you might
want to look at is the backlogs that have been generated that
have lots of people who are not particularly skilled waiting.
They are entitled in some sense to a visa, but they are in the
Mr. Issa. Okay. Well, I hear that you say it couldn't be
done then, and it wasn't going to work. But I have worked with
Mr. Berman on this Committee believing that it could. Is anyone
that has a different opinion there that would like to comment
on the ability to take care of that one portion in a way in
which Ms. Lofgren and I could see crops that, in fact, people
want to eat be grown?
Mr. Wadhwa. If you look at Canada, Canada has made their
guest worker program work very well. For low-skilled labor,
that is not a bad solution. It is actually a good solution. For
high-skilled labor, you can't do that because you want the
Mr. Issa. We want them here permanently. Absolutely. Thank
you. Anyone else?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your indulgence.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
The gentlewoman from Washington Ms. DelBene is recognized
for 5 minutes.
Ms. DelBene. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I come from a district that has lots of technology in the
southern part of the district, home of Microsoft and many other
technology companies, a lot of biomedical device companies, and
also a very rich agricultural industry of dairies and berries
and specialty crops. So immigration is very, very important
from many different aspects.
I wanted to start with you, Mr. Wadhwa. And we talked a lot
about H-1B, but you also talk about a startup visa program, and
I wondered if you could elaborate what you think needs to be in
such a program and how that would work in conjunction with the
Mr. Wadhwa. A startup visa would do wonders for Seattle. It
would do wonders for New York and even more for Silicon Valley.
There are literally tens of thousands of companies that would
be started almost overnight if we gave these entrepreneurs or
would-be entrepreneurs the ability to do that. Right now they
can start companies. If you are on an H-1B visa, you can start
a company, but you can't work for it. It is brain dead. Right?
So we would suddenly have a boom in entrepreneurship like we
haven't conceived before.
There is no reason not to do it. It should be done
independently of everything else we are doing. Just get that
done so we can fix the immediate problem.
Then there is the issue of H-1Bs. The big companies are
lobbying very hard for it. They need it. I mean, there are
debates about whether they take jobs away. In some parts of
America, you don't need H-1Bs; in parts where the skilled
immigrants are, you do need H-1Bs. The Brookings Institution
did a great study on that, so we need those also.
But the more urgent thing there is to give green cards to
the million already here on H-1B visas who are stuck in limbo.
Let them start their companies. Let them buy houses. Let them
enjoy the rights that Americans enjoy.
Ms. DelBene. We talk a lot about starting up companies, but
also a lot of research and a lot of startups and entrepreneurs
come from great basic research that is happening at our
universities. And so how do you think the relationship of our
immigration program has an impact on the education we are able
to deliver both in the medical area as well as in the
Mr. Wadhwa. I think we are completely in sync on that. We
need these researchers coming in and doing great research at
our universities, and then we need people leaving universities
and starting companies. That is the one thing we need to fix in
the United States system is to commercialize more research
because that would, again, lead to a big boom in startups.
Right now the system doesn't work because the researchers
can't get permanent resident visas. It is the same problem that
everyone has, that we have basically slowed down American
innovations for no reason whatsoever.
Ms. DelBene. Dr. Arora, we are talking about health care.
And obviously we talk a lot about kind of technology, and we
forget that there are many needs not just in research and
health care, but across the healthcare system. I wondered if
you wanted to elaborate on that a little bit.
Dr. Arora. Yes. It is clear from a number of workforce
reports that with the baby boomer generation retiring and with
a new healthcare environment, there is a serious shortage of
healthcare workers at various levels, physicians, and certainly
there is a mal-distribution--aside from everything else, there
are a number of areas that are simply not medically served
appropriately. There are certain specialties that are
underserved. There are issues for getting nurses to the right
hospitals. So there are a number of issues.
It is also hard when you come in from a pathway like mine--
I was on a J-1 exchange visitor visa--to go into a research
field, if that is your desire. And it took me several years to
make my way out to that because of the kinds of restrictions
that I have faced. So we have always advocated that when you go
through the immigration pathways, especially the skilled
immigration pathways, there should be a great deal of
portability and market-based characteristics to this so that
people gravitate--people with skills gravitate toward where the
demands are, and where their skills are appropriately needed,
and where they can contribute best. And health care is no
exception to that.
I have had the privilege of working with Senator Conrad's
office in the past on his Conrad 30 program, of which I am a
graduate, I should say, and they are looking for permanent
authorizations. They are looking for physicians who go to
underserved areas and provide service not to have to stand in
these backlogs at the end of service. And those are all great
ideas, and they should be a part of----
Ms. DelBene. Thank you.
And then we talk about agriculture. We have been talking a
lot about seasonal workers. But I know in the example that my
colleague from Idaho brought up earlier in the dairy world--and
we have many dairy farmers in my district. These aren't
seasonal workers, these are year-round workers--that folks are
struggling to make sure they have a strong workforce.
So do you feel differently about the ability to address
those issues, Mr. Teitelbaum, versus the seasonal workers? I
mean, there is an economic driver to this, too.
Mr. Teitelbaum. If they are year-round, then they are not
really temporary workers. Seasonal is more temporary. So I
think, again, it is----
Ms. DelBene. But there is still a gap. There is still an
Mr. Teitelbaum. Yes. And you have got to consider whether
the jobs are attractive enough for the underemployed U.S.
workforce, who could be attracted if they were attractive. But
I don't know what the conditions are in the farms and dairies
that you are describing, so I can't comment on that.
Ms. DelBene. But you think it is merely a financial issue
in terms of how much folks are paid versus the types of jobs
and the skill involved in those jobs? As Mayor Castro said,
these aren't necessarily low-skilled, they are different-
Mr. Teitelbaum. Congresswoman, I did pick strawberries in
the summer in Oregon not so far from your district.
Ms. DelBene. I think we went to the same school, actually.
Mr. Teitelbaum. Did we? I didn't know that.
It was an interesting, difficult, well-paid job for a
college student in the summer. I don't think there are any jobs
like that anymore. It is a different workforce that does the
strawberry picking in Oregon now. So I think you can see that
there has been a kind of shift in the origin of the workforce.
Did we really go to the same college?
Ms. DelBene. We did, in Portland.
But I think I have used all my time. Thank you.
Mr. Teitelbaum. Thank you.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentlewoman.
And the gentleman from Texas Mr. Farenthold is recognized
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Farenthold. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And it is good to have Mayor Castro here from San Antonio.
San Antonio is a lot like my hometown, Corpus Christi. They
just don't have the bay or the beach. But you do have a pretty
good basketball team.
And I wanted to visit with you a little bit because I
really do sympathize. We have got a big problem here, and I
think we all agree that our immigration system is broken. We
have done a lot of casework at our office, especially when we
still had Brownsville as part of the district that I represent,
and my heart is just broken by some of the family issues that I
And also my heart is broken by the fact that many people
who are in this country without proper documentation are
basically an underclass that aren't afforded the full
protection of the law. If you are here illegally, and you see a
crime on the street, you are afraid to call the police for fear
of you getting involved in it. And you are open to exploitation
by unscrupulous employers. And it is a real problem, and I
think it needs to be addressed.
I have spoken with a lot of my Republican colleagues, some
of my Democrat colleagues, and a lot of folks back home about
the issue, and it seems like the stumbling block for almost
everybody is the pathway to citizenship that you have been
talking about for such a long time. We look at the promises of
the 1986 immigration reform when it granted citizenship to so
many people, that we were going to seal the border and make
sure this--this was a one-time deal is the way. And we see that
that has failed.
My question to you is how do we not end up in the same
situation 10, 20 years down the road if we do this again? My
fear is that what we are saying by a pathway to citizenship is
that, all right, you come over here illegally. Let us say we
seal the borders 100 percent. Nobody can cross the border
illegally. You are still going to have people overstaying their
tourist visas. You will still have people overstaying their
student visas. And the natural belief is, all right, they have
done it twice. I will just wait them out, and they will do it
again. And we create this underclass of people who can't have a
real job that are selling bootleg DVDs in the flea markets or
are working whatever underground economy. How do we craft this
so we don't fall into this same trap?
Mr. Castro. Thank you very much for the question,
Representative Farenthold. It is good to see a fellow Texan
here, south Texas.
First, I believe that as a Nation we are stronger because
we ask folks to take an oath, take an allegiance to the United
States of America.
Mr. Farenthold. No question about it.
Mr. Castro. And that involves full participation in the
democracy and citizenship. I just cannot imagine an America
where we consign these folks to an underclass status. In other
words, we would be telling them, you will never, ever, ever
become a citizen of the United States.
Mr. Farenthold. So what do we put in the law to not invite
people to where we are back doing the same thing again? That is
Mr. Castro. Sure. First of all, I do think that the only
way you are going to accomplish that is with a comprehensive
approach. The one thing I know is that if you try and piecemeal
it, the chances are that you will find yourself here 10, 15, 20
years from now.
But more specifically, I believe that this legislation
should include enhanced border security, enhanced interior
security, the ability to----
Mr. Farenthold. Would you support the proposal for a
national biometric ID?
Mr. Castro. Sure, I would support using some technology to
help ensure that people are here who say they are going to--who
are here are here legally.
Mr. Farenthold. I am not sure I am there on that. But go
Mr. Castro. You know, whether it is that or something like
it, there are people more qualified to speak than me on that.
But I would say that including an ability for employers to
verify the legal status that is better, that is more
Mr. Farenthold. Again, we tried to do that and failed. And
you are still going to have the underground employers if you
have got people who are overstaying their student visas. And
you have answered different variations of this question time
and time again. How do, by granting a very generous pathway to
citizenship--and maybe we tighten it up; maybe we find the
compromise there--but how do we avoid creating an incentive for
people to continue to come here? That is what my constituents
and most of the people that I am talking about, that is the big
stumbling point here.
Mr. Castro. I think what you do is that you solve the issue
that you have in front of you, that you improve the ability to
keep folks out who shouldn't be here, and to--you know, to
ensure that people don't overstay their visas. There are ways
to work on that.
Mr. Farenthold. I see I am out of time. I just don't see
how do you that without chipping everybody who comes over here
to see the Statue of Liberty to track them. I am really
concerned about this.
Mr. Castro. Throwing our hands up is not an option.
Mr. Farenthold. All right. Thank you very much. I yield
Mr. Goodlatte. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from
Florida Mr. Garcia for 5 minutes.
Mr. Garcia. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mayor Castro, I wanted to ask you, what type of computer
repair did your grandparents engage in?
Mr. Castro. My grandmother actually ended up working as a
maid, a cook, and babysitter.
Mr. Garcia. There we go. High skill then.
I wonder what this hearing would be like if we were like
Canadians, desperately seeking people to come to our country
because we simply have no one who wants to be there. It is not
like Texas where people just want to be in Texas, or Miami. I
worry about it.
You know, I have heard your testimony, Mr. Wadhwa, and I
worry about it, because you seem to create a crisis. After
saying that our country is a mess, I hope you were just talking
about our immigration system because what brings people to our
country is precisely that opportunity. You would agree with me,
Mr. Wadhwa. I agree. For the moment, we are the only----
Mr. Garcia. And you agreed with me that that suffering that
you are talking about is also being visited on immigrants that
are already in this country that don't have documentation,
families being separated, people being deported. You would
agree that that is a bad situation?
Mr. Wadhwa. Agreed.
Mr. Garcia. Why do you think we should make that decision?
Why should we decide on highly technical people which are
boring down the door to come into our country and not decide
for those who have invested and been here for such a long time?
Mr. Wadhwa. We should decide both, but right now the issue
of undocumented is toxic. America is divided.
Mr. Garcia. It is toxic because we give up on it; don't you
think? I mean, if you had been given the choice to be fortunate
enough to pick strawberries in the paradise of Oregon, would
you have taken that choice?
Mr. Wadhwa. I might have, depending on my circumstances.
Mr. Garcia. No, but under your circumstances would you have
taken that choice? And the answer is no, correct?
Mr. Wadhwa. What I am saying is give them green cards.
Legalize them. The green card is a wonderful way of being here.
The only difference between the green card and citizenship is
the right to vote.
Mr. Garcia. It is called taxation without representation.
It was an essential element of our country's founding.
Mr. Wadhwa. That is why this battle is being fought,
because the Republicans know that they are going to lose that
battle if we legalize another 11 million people. Let us call a
spade a spade over here.
Mr. Garcia. The problem, Mr. Wadhwa, I think, is that you
make a choice----
Mr. Wadhwa [continuing]. Choice of a green card now or
citizenship 5 years from now, everyone would accept a green
Mr. Garcia. Absolutely, people would choose that, just like
people would choose every day.
The other question I would ask for you, do you think there
is some kind of paradise about the folks who have been here 10,
15 years picking strawberries, or potatoes, or corn or
apricots, that heavenly paradise of being an illegal worker? Do
you think that is a particularly good circumstance for the last
10 or 15 years that people do this?
I will ask you, Mr. Teitelbaum. Do you think that that is a
good thing? I mean, are they happy to do this? They want to be
in this permanent underclass?
Mr. Teitelbaum. I do not think they----
Mr. Garcia. Right. And is there a history of any great
country in the world that didn't have immigration headed toward
Mr. Teitelbaum. Say it again, sir.
Mr. Garcia. Is there a history ever in human history of a
country that was successful and didn't have immigration? I
mean, I believe that from the Babylonian empire through the
Roman, through the British, and to today, every nation that is
a winner nation has immigration, correct?
Mr. Teitelbaum. The Commission was a strong supporter of a
substantial legal immigration system.
Mr. Garcia. Do you remember what the Statue of Liberty,
which is on the cover of your report, says?
Mr. Teitelbaum. Well, the statue doesn't say it. It is on
the pediment. I know the poem by Emma Lazarus. And my first
daughter's name is Emma.
Mr. Garcia. I think we make a mistake here if we engage in
this debate and think that there is some paradise.
Mr. Arora, you have spent how many years trying to make
your status permanent?
Dr. Arora. More than 15.
Mr. Garcia. And you would agree that that is not a
particularly favorable place to be.
Dr. Arora. Right.
Mr. Garcia. And you would agree that those, even like
yourself, who are highly technical, making a good salary, but
finding all these impediments is not a good thing for America's
Dr. Arora. No, it is not.
Mr. Garcia. And I would assume that because you want this
status for yourself, you would want it for all others who find
themselves in a similar situation?
Dr. Arora. Yes.
Mr. Garcia. Look, I think that the issue here is that we
have mistaken--and the folks on the other side might be
missing--is that this is no paradise, that people work awfully
hard on the American dream, and all they want is an
opportunity. And I want to be clear here: A pathway to
citizenship doesn't mean that we are going to sign these guys
up to be citizens. That is a choice that is made. I am sure in
your city, Mayor, you would love more people to be registered
to vote, but yet they are not. And that is a choice people
make, just like citizenship, correct?
Mr. Castro. Sure. That is correct.
Mr. Garcia. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back the
remainder of my time.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman.
And the gentleman from North Carolina Mr. Holding is
recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Holding. Mr. Castro, I recognize your resistance to
finding a middle ground or something short of full citizenship.
But I would ask you, if you were an illegal immigrant, and the
United States was actually in the business of enforcing our
immigration laws, and your choice was convicted criminal or
almost citizen, you would choose almost citizen, wouldn't you?
Mr. Castro. As I said before, do I believe that something
is better than zero? Sure. I don't believe it is sufficient. I
also don't believe that that addresses the entirety of the
Mr. Holding. Redirecting your attention back to Mr. Forbes'
question, which you thought was hypothetical in that if you
were given the opportunity to write the law and ensure that it
passed, and we found ourselves 10 years later with a large
population of illegal immigrants in the country, would you
enforce the law, or would you come back and find another
pathway to citizenship? I would suggest to you that it is not a
hypothetical question, because it is precisely the question
that we are dealing with right now.
Twenty-five years ago we passed a comprehensive bill, and
here we have a low estimate of 11 million illegals in the
country. Some estimates are many millions more.
What is the mistake that we made in 1986 that we do not
need to make this time around to ensure that we don't have to
do this again?
Mr. Castro. Well, I think one of the things that we can do,
as was mentioned earlier, is to continue to enhance border
security and also to work on interior security. Technology has
benefited us during that time. So we have an opportunity here,
you have an opportunity here, the Congress has an opportunity
to pass a comprehensive, very well-thought-out bill. And, of
course, nobody can guarantee, and you are right, there probably
will be some folks who fall into that category in the years to
Mr. Holding. So the mistake that we made was that we didn't
enforce the law.
Mr. Castro. Well, I think somebody else will have to speak
to that. We can't just throw up our hands because we think we
are going to have some challenges later. That is not an option.
Doing nothing is not an option.
Mr. Holding. I agree doing nothing is not an option, but I
also think enforcing the law should have been done and has to
be part of the future.
Mr. Wadhwa, my father-in-law is British. He is an engineer,
and in the course of his career, he has managed worldwide
construction for two pharmaceutical companies, one based in the
United Kingdom and one based in Switzerland. And through all
the years that I have known him, he has complained the most
about the immigration laws in the United States and the
difficulty it has been not only for him at times to work in the
United States, but for getting team members in from other
countries to work on large construction projects,
pharmaceutical manufacturing and research facilities here.
You have experience in Australia. Give us just a little
snapshot of if one was a U.S. citizen, engineer, and wanted to
go to Australia and manage a billion-dollar construction
project, how much of a hassle would it be?
Mr. Wadhwa. Australia right now makes it very easy to come
there. Canada is doing the same. If you are a skilled
immigrant, they are welcoming, you know, people as immigrants
to come over there. It is harder to get green cards in many
But the Australia I knew is different than the Australia
today. I had to fight to get an Australian permanent residence
because there is a White Australia policy. Today they welcome
anyone who graduates from their universities. They welcome
foreigners to come and start companies.
Your father-in-law is like everyone else in Silicon Valley.
They are starved for talent. The companies are starved for
talent. They want to hire the best and brightest from all over
the world, but we won't let them.
My colleague at Stanford, Dan Siciliano, talks about if the
country was a game, if you are playing football in a country,
we said, the only people you can hire are people from within
the company. We are basically locking out the world's best
Mr. Holding. My district borders on the Research Triangle
Park in North Carolina. And there are numerous high-tech
companies there, and a number of very large software companies.
And I have heard from them that when they have difficulty
getting someone in the United States, often what they are able
to do is just have them located in Canada and Skype in their
input. And they pay the taxes in Canada. They don't pay the
taxes in the United States.
Mr. Wadhwa. In Silicon Valley that is commonly happening.
They are setting up offshoring centers in India, China, in
Vancouver, everywhere else in the world except Silicon Valley.
We want those people here so they can pay taxes here, they can
interact, and they can start more companies after they have
finished their projects.
Mr. Holding. Thank you very much. I yield back.
Mr. Goodlatte. The gentleman from New York Mr. Jeffries is
recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Jeffries. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Dr. Wadhwa, you have indicated throughout your testimony
the need, perhaps for reasons of policy or for practical
reasons, to emphasize as we tackle this immigration issue
highly skilled visas.
Certainly you have distinguished yourself during your time
here in America. You have founded a company, 1,000-plus
employees. You have contributed to the academy. You have
written a book. You have taught at some of our most significant
and distinguished universities. You have contributed much to
Now, as it relates to our immigration policy, of course,
there is an appropriate place to deal with the highly skilled
immigrant issue. We also have a history of dealing with
refugees with compassion that makes sense for who we are and
what we represent, our democratic values. We have a history of
making sure we grant visas in recognition of the fact that we
need to draw from people from all across the world. That is the
premise of the diversity visa program, that that makes us
stronger. And, of course, inherently the need to emphasize and
promote family unification for reasons of fairness, for reasons
of efficiency, for reasons that clearly make sense for the
integrity of our democracy as well as the well-being of our
The gentlelady from California already has made the point
that some of the most significant startup companies, the
Silicon Valley success stories, were started by immigrants--
whether that is Yahoo! or whether that is Google, whether that
is eBay, Intel--who did not come into this country through the
highly skilled immigrant visa program, but through other means
Now, I think you gave an interview on November 20, 2012, to
a publication at the Wharton School of Business, a very
distinguished school in Pennsylvania, where you stated, ``I was
in New York in the 1960's as a child, and being in America is
quite an experience. I left in the late '60's, but I had always
wanted to come back. The first chance I got was in 1980, when
my father got transferred to the consulate in New York City.''
Would you agree, based on your own experiences here in
America, that the notion of family unification, of the unit
being together has been and should continue to be an integral
part of what we do as it relates to comprehensive immigration
Mr. Wadhwa. Without a doubt I agree with that. There is no
dispute on that. The only thing I have been arguing is that
rather than 120,000, 140,000 visas for skilled immigrants,
double it or even triple it for a few years, because we want to
bring in an additional pool of skilled talent that can heal the
economy and help us take advantage of all these technology
advances I talked about.
Mr. Jeffries. Am I correct that your own experiences
demonstrate the importance of family unification as an
Mr. Wadhwa. And you are absolutely right that the children
of immigrants go much further than their parents do. All of
this is absolutely correct. A little bit of balance.
Mr. Jeffries. Thank you.
There has been this dichotomy that has been presented as to
how we find common ground in terms of the immigration reform
debate. On the one hand you have got mass deportation that was
presented as an alternative; on the other you have got a
pathway to citizenship. But I believe, Mayor Castro, you have
indicated you agree that that seems to be a false dichotomy;
that the most appropriate construct is, on the one hand, mass
deportation; on the other hand, open and unsecured borders. And
I believe that on both extremes, the overwhelming majority of
Americans believe that neither is appropriate for reasons of
humanity or practicality.
And so if that really is the appropriate construct--mass
deportation on one hand and, on the other, open, unsecured
borders--then the question is how do we find common ground? How
do we compromise based on those two wide-ranging extreme
alternatives? And would you agree that in that scenario that a
pathway to citizenship is one alternative, compromise, tough
but possible and ultimately obtainable, firm but humane, and
that the only other possible compromise, which was raised by
others on this panel, is permanent second-class status,
notwithstanding the fact that those permanent second-class
residents would have passed a background check, paid back
taxes, paid a fine, perhaps gotten an education, perhaps served
in the military and gotten to the back of a very long line?
Could you just comment, Mayor Castro, on those possible
compromise alternatives and what seems to be most consistent
with who we are as Americans?
Mr. Castro. I believe that you have laid it out well that
on the extremes you have mass deportation of 11 million people.
That is not going to happen. We are not going to, on the other
end, open up our borders. That is not in the national interest
by any means. That the bipartisan proposal and the President's
proposal represents an effective compromise, remembering that
this is earned citizenship, the alternative truly is a recipe
for creating a class of second-class noncitizens in the United
Mr. Jeffries. Thank you.
Mr. Goodlatte. And last but not least, we have the
gentleman from Georgia Mr. Collins recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Collins. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think one of the good things about being last is that you
get to listen. You get to hear a lot of questions. And in this
case you get to hear a lot of hyperbole on both ends. And
really, that is the question that I am sitting here with right
now. I have heard a lot of discussion and a lot of, well, if we
don't do this, you know, if we don't pass this, it is horrific,
and these kinds of questions.
But just for a brief moment, I come from northeast Georgia,
a very agricultural district, but it is also on the border of
Atlanta, so we get a lot of what I call the mixed blessing of
both the need of immigration, the need for workers, and the
need for those industries, dairy, poultry, other things. But we
also deal with those of the hard-working taxpayers who have
been there--it is a transitional area--who are concerned about
their way of life and are also concerned about being fair and
honest and open with them. They have a deep faith. I believe
contrary to some that have said that the only way you can show
your true faith--I am a pastor--is by just opening up your arms
and forgiving and not having any rule. I believe you can hold
both. I am a lawyer as well. I hold both grace and law. I think
we have got to look at that.
The question that comes to mind here is I come from also a
State of Georgia who has dealt with this issue. For some in
this room, it may not have been a very good way, but we have
dealt with it, and we have dealt with it in a way that is still
in progress. And I think it took a step from a State
perspective to say, what can we do because the Federal
Government has not?
Now, what concerns me here is is I keep hearing, it is
definitional. And I am a little bit retentive on some things,
and I am the last one, so I will just make these points.
Comprehensive immigration reform, what I have become concerned
about--and I will start with you, Mayor--is when I hear
``comprehensive'' in this hearing today, what I hear is is it
is comprehensive if it has a specific outcome I like. It is not
comprehensive if it doesn't lead to a specific end. And I just
have heard, and just in recent testimony, in questions here,
really that compromise between two untenable paths is not
compromise. Compromise between two things that would never take
place is not compromise. You are taking two extremes and
basically saying there is a compromise in the middle, and the
reality is you are not compromising because those two would
never exist. It is a fantasy.
You also have stated in this that you felt it was in the
Nation's best interests for a pathway to citizenship; that is
Mr. Castro. Sure.
Mr. Collins. Okay. The question I have here is do you
believe that all immigrants come to America across the border
legally or illegally for the same reason? Yes or no.
Mr. Castro. I believe that the vast majority of them come
for the same reason, but I can't say that every single one of
them comes here for the same reason, no.
Mr. Collins. Okay. So at least in the process of what we
are looking at here, is there at least room for discussion?
And, look, even in the diversity of my district, which is very
conservative, there is a need for us to deal with all aspects
of this, okay, from the security aspect to the legal aspect
that we have talked about and where our needs are, but also for
the ones who are already here.
The question is, though, if we only insist on
comprehensive, and we sort of--I won't say demonize the process
or say that we are not accomplishing what we are here for, if
the only way is to have a citizenship ending, then are we not
doing a disservice for those who have come here to work and our
liberty and have a deep love for the country they came for, but
they come here for economic reasons. And to give them something
that has been said here, they have lived here for 30 years on a
green card. They lived here in a different way. My concern is
is compromise, in your mind only, or comprehensive, is the
definitional we are using here is comprehensive will only take
place with a desired outcome at the end?
Mr. Castro. And I use the word ``sufficient'' or
``effective.'' I think the only ``effective'' way to address
this is to make it create a pathway to citizenship. Remember
also, you are talking about 8 to 10 years before any one of
Mr. Collins. That was not my question, Mayor. I am dealing
with definitional, because this is what is going to get
interesting over the next few months and even as we go forward.
If we only view comprehensive immigration reform under the
guise of an outstanding outcome or an intended outcome, then I
have trouble with that, because what we are setting ourselves
up for here is one side may be coming to the table with honest,
open ideas for reform, but if in the end all we are hit with
is, you didn't do comprehensive because we didn't get a desired
Mr. Castro. I would disagree with the characterization.
Mr. Collins. Well, I think that is what has been testified
here to, and especially when you basically state that you
believe in this Nation's best interest there is only one path
that that should be, and that should be citizenship, when
really there are also other alternatives that are out there. It
is a best interest, but I don't think from a comprehensive
standpoint you can tag the two. And that is what I have heard.
Look, I do not believe circumstances are easy here, as was
testified to earlier, for anyone who is here in a status that
is not legal or a status in where they are hiding, as has been
said, in the shadows. And I think this is whether it is from
the high-tech industry or not. But also, the one thing I never
want to lose sight of is there are hard-working taxpayers who
have been here, who are also having--they do hard work as well.
They get up and go to work every day. We have got to find a
balance for the two, never forgetting what we are looking at.
And that is my concern.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Wadhwa. You know, I believe that if we provided green
cards to all the undocumented workers immediately, if we gave
their children citizenship, and if we fixed the skilled
immigrant problem, there would be consensus nationwide. And we
don't have to get into these toxic battles about citizenship or
not citizenship. That can be decided a decade from now when the
economy has healed, things are different, and America has
evolved. It doesn't have to be all or none immediately. It can
be done over time.
Right now, these people just want to be legalized. They
just want the right to be able to live here with dignity. Let
us give it to them immediately without wasting time. We are
making this country suffer through needless debates when it can
be resolved right now.
Mr. Collins. I think we are definitely looking at it from a
perspective of overall look, and I appreciate you coming here
and testifying from your different point of views. I think,
like I said, the main concern we have got to have here is let
us not trap ourselves into definitional reasons of
comprehensive or other things that exclude or include, and then
in the end we say, well, we didn't get it because it didn't fit
my definition of what ``comprehensive'' means.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentleman for his questions. And
I thank all the Members of the Committee for the questions to
this first panel. And I especially thank the members of the
panel. You have endured more than 3 hours of questions, and it
has been a very enlightening discussion. So thank you for
making the trip to Washington to participate, and we will
excuse you now and turn to our second panel.
And now if the first panel would make their way to the
hallway, they can speak with folks out there. And that way our
second panel can take their seats.
Mr. Goodlatte. Now I will turn to our second group of
witnesses. The hearing room will be in order.
Our first witness is Julie Myers Wood, President of
Guidepost Solutions LLC, an immigration investigation and
compliance firm. Prior to her tenure at Guidepost, she served
as the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland
Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, for
nearly 3 years. Under her leadership, the agency set new
enforcement records with respect to immigration enforcement,
export enforcement, and intellectual property rights.
Ms. Wood earned a Bachelor's degree at Baylor University
and a J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School. She is a native
of Shawnee, Kansas.
Thank you, Ms. Wood, for taking the time to be with us
Our next witness is Mr. Chris Crane, who currently serves
as the President of the National Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Council 118, American Federation of Government
Employees. He has worked as an Immigration Enforcement Agent
for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security since 2003. Prior to his
service at ICE, Mr. Crane served for 11 years in the United
States Marine Corps.
Chris, we thank you for your service and being with us
Our third witness of this second panel is Jessica M.
Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for
Immigration Studies. She has been with the Center since 1992,
where her expertise is in immigration policy and operations
topics such as visa programs, immigration benefits, and
immigration law enforcement. In addition, Ms. Vaughan is an
instructor for senior law enforcement officer training seminars
at Northwestern University's Center for Public Safety in
Ms. Vaughan has a Master's degree from Georgetown
University and earned her Bachelor's degree in international
studies at Washington College in Maryland.
Ms. Vaughan, thank you for your participation today.
And our fourth and final witness of this second panel is
Muzaffar Chishti, Director of the Migration Policy Institute's
office at the New York University School of Law. His work
focuses on U.S. immigration policy, the intersection of labor
and immigration law, civil liberties, and immigration
integration. Prior to joining MPI, Mr. Chishti was Director of
the Immigration Project of the Union of Needletrades,
Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE). Mr. Chishti has
served on the Board of Directors of the National Immigration
Law Center, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Asian
American Federation of New York. He has served as Chair of the
Board of Directors of the National Immigration Forum and as a
member of the American Bar Association's Coordinating Committee
He holds degrees from St. Stephen's College in Delhi,
India, the University of Delhi, Cornell Law School, and the
Columbia School of International Affairs. And we are grateful
that he has come to testify before the Committee today. All of
you are welcome.
We now have votes, and I think rather than start in the
midst of a relatively empty hearing room, we are going to
recess the Committee. I will encourage Members on both sides of
the aisle to come back to hear your wise testimony. And the
Committee will stand in recess until the conclusion of those
The Committee will reconvene. We are working on encouraging
other Members to return for the second panel, but since the day
is moving on, we think the hearing needs to move on as well. So
having introduced all the members of this panel, we will start
with Ms. Wood. Welcome.
TESTIMONY OF JULIE MYERS WOOD, PRESIDENT,
GUIDEPOST SOLUTIONS LLC
Ms. Wood. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman and Members of
the Committee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify before
you today about the enforcement of laws against illegal
Like many Americans, I believe that our immigration system
is broken and needs reform. But like others, I served as the
former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the
principal agency charged to enforce immigration laws, and so I
have an insider's perspective of the challenges that face us
and what we must do to make sure that we are not in the same
position 20 years from now that we are right now, looking at a
broken system put together with Band-Aids and trying to make
Since the 1986 amnesty, inconsistent enforcement coupled
with an inefficient and restrictive pathway for legal access to
the country have left us with this broken system. Many people
concluded that it was just far simpler to come here illegally,
get a job, and hope that the law would change to let them stay,
rather than wait in unreasonably long lines to come here
legally. And, of course, for some there was no option to come
Many employers grew very frustrated with the nearly decade-
long wait for some petitions for workers with essential skills
and just took their chances that enforcement would not target
When considering legislative reform, we must consider how
to avoid the mistakes of previous efforts. And these are not
new problems. When I first arrived at ICE in 2006, it was
apparent to me that there were many areas where the promise of
IRCA was not being realized, including managing illegal border
crossings, identifying and deporting the illegal criminal alien
population, reducing illegal employment, enforcing immigration
court orders, and effectively conducting national security
And I want to take illegal employment as an example. I know
the Chairman talked about this in his opening remarks, and I
think this is an area where law enforcement has not effectively
addressed the problem. And, you know, when I first started at
ICE in 2006, there was virtually no workplace enforcement,
although it was common knowledge, everyone knew, that the big
magnet to come into the United States was jobs. INS was not
focusing on that issue, and ICE also had not focused on it.
Fines, if any, were assessed under an outdated structure. They
were subject to substantial legal wrangling and ended up being
nothing more than just a slap on the wrist. For example, in
2002, the INS' last full year, it brought only 25 criminal
cases in worksite investigations and only collected about
$72,000 through the administrative fine process.
So we tried to look at things differently. And we thought,
how can we focus renewed effort on it? And we focused on
employers, looking at could we bring criminal cases against
employers? We also worked to revise the criminal fine structure
and requested funding for civil auditors. And so for several
years we pursued a path of criminal cases, which led to civil
forfeitures in excess of $30 million each year and prison terms
for some egregious employers.
While these investigations were complex and time-intensive,
the approach resulted in renewed awareness and cooperation from
some high-risk industries. However, many companies in low-risk
industries didn't think it was necessary to focus on I-9 or
immigration compliance with this targeted approach.
This approach also included the apprehensions and removals
of unauthorized workers, who in many cases were using the names
and Social Security numbers of U.S. citizens.
The arrest and deportation of unauthorized workers consumed
a lot of our time in trying to target employers and pursue this
approach. The current Administration has shifted gears. They
have focused on a civil fined approach, really kind of adopting
an IRS-type model. Under this approach more companies are
subject to audits, about 4,000, and the general awareness of
immigration compliance has increased significantly.
But this approach is also imperfect. The median cost of a
penalty against a business is very small, under $11,000 per
company in fiscal year 2012, and the total civil fines for
fiscal year 2011 were about $10 million.
On occasion, the focus on civil audits has led to some
perverse consequences. Some employers with no unauthorized
workers at all were fined, while others that had a very high
percentage of unauthorized workers didn't even receive a
warning notice. Under this new approach the government
essentially ignored the illegal workers, allowing them to stay
and work in the United States.
While some employers take the civil fine system very
seriously, for others it is just a rounding error in their
To address the problem of unauthorized workers more
successfully, new legislation shouldn't rely on what we have
just done in the past. We have got to look anew at how we can
stop illegal employment, and legislation should shift the
burden from employers to the government and provide employers
with clear guidance on who is work-authorized and who is not.
Of course, E-Verify should be made mandatory for all
employees, but we shouldn't stop there. Although E-Verify has
improved significantly in the past few years, gaps in the
current program have still shifted much of the burden to
employers. They have become de facto document detectives. And
conscientious employers are effectively faced with a silent tax
to pay for immigration compliance services, diverting money
that would be far better spent hiring new employees.
More generally, successful reform must also think about the
systemic problems that got us into this situation. For too long
our agencies have been underequipped to fight the challenge. We
haven't had enough people, resources, or technology. We have
also had inefficiencies in the removal system. An average case
takes over 2 years to get through the courts in California. And
we also have not addressed things regarding fundamental
fairness, including protecting the rights of unaccompanied
aliens and those with mental competency issues that may need
counsel in order to pursue a fair treatment in immigration
I appreciate the Committee's interest in these issues and
look forward to working with you.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Ms. Wood.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Wood follows:]
Mr. Goodlatte. Mr. Crane, welcome.
TESTIMONY OF CHRIS CRANE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION AND
CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT COUNCIL 118, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
Mr. Crane. Thank you, sir. Good afternoon, Chairman, and
Members of the Committee.
In 2009, I reported supervisor misconduct directly to DHS
Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton. Almost
immediately after I filed that report, I applied for a
promotion. ICE managers retaliated for my earlier reports to
Napolitano by claiming that I had lied about my military
training on my resume. The investigation that followed required
that I provide military documents to prove that I had not lied
on my resume. I provided the documents, and I was cleared of
all charges. So as an officer who had already been through
stringent background investigations, ICE and DHS still
investigated me and still made me provide documentation to
substantiate claims I had made on my resume.
But as ICE agents go into jails every day and encounter
illegal aliens arrested by local police, agents are under
orders from DHS and ICE--the same DHS and ICE that investigated
me--to simply take the word of the illegal alien that he
graduated from college or high school, or that he has a GED.
And without investigation, without requiring the alien to
provide a diploma or a transcript, the alien will simply be
released under DACA without first proving he even qualifies for
Since ICE doesn't investigate these claims or require proof
from the alien, is it any big surprise that many ICE agents
report that everyone they encounter in jails claims they are
somehow qualified under DACA, and that most are released
because ICE agents are powerless to make the aliens prove they
actually qualify? One agent recently told me a story of how he
overheard one alien coaching another on how to get released by
lying to ICE agents about having status under DACA.
Is this our answer, our big immigration reform, to make law
enforcement a joke and let everyone lie to us and then release
them? ICE Director John Morton, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano,
as leaders of law enforcement agencies, should be demanding
that this stop and that the agency get back to sound law
enforcement principles, but they won't because this is not
about effective law enforcement, it is not about fixing our
immigration system. Clearly letting people lie to us and then
allowing them to remain in the U.S. based on those lies doesn't
fix the system. This is about politics.
We currently have 11- to 20 million illegal aliens in the
United States. They got here one of two ways: They entered the
United States illegally, or they came here legally with a visa
and never left.
So what is ICE doing about visa overstays and illegal entry
as both lie at the very heart of our broken immigration system?
ICE has essentially prohibited its agents from enforcing these
laws. ICE agents can't arrest aliens solely because they
entered the United States illegally or because they overstayed
their visa. It is basically not illegal anymore, generally
speaking, not unless the alien has been convicted of a criminal
Messaging is critical to any effort aimed at curbing
illegal immigration. So what message do ICE practices send to
the world? The message is, we don't enforce our laws. Come on
over, and if you do get caught, just lie to us. Lie about the
day and year you entered. Lie about going to high school. You
won't be required to prove anything.
While there is certainly much more to be said on these and
other issues, in closing I would like to provide a few bullet
points on the state of ICE as an agency. Internally the agency,
in my opinion, is falling apart. Morale is at an all-time low
according to recent Federal surveys. The agency refuses to
train our officers on these new policies, resulting in mass
confusion and frustration. Everybody is doing something
different. Nobody really knows what is going on. As our
officers are investigated by ICE for enforcing U.S. immigration
law, as they see other officers threatened with suspensions for
making lawful arrests, increasingly officers feel that they
have become the enemy of this Administration, which certainly
is not a healthy sign for any law enforcement organization.
That concludes my testimony. Thank you.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Mr. Crane, for that compelling
[The prepared statement of Mr. Crane follows:]
Prepared Statement of Chris Crane, President, National Immigration and
Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government
The results from the most recent morale survey for Federal agencies
were released in December 2012. ICE dropped in the rankings to 279 out
of 291 Federal agencies surveyed leaving only 12 agencies that ranked
lower in employee morale and job satisfaction than ICE. By comparison,
the U.S. Marshals Service was ranked 82 in the survey, and the FBI
ranked 107. The ICE employee morale survey included ICE managers as
well as officers, agents and administrative personnel.
As agency morale falls each year, each year ICE leadership finds
new excuses to justify the low morale, never taking responsibility and
never making reasonable efforts to identify and address causative
issues. This, even after the tragic shooting in a Los Angeles ICE
office last year, in which an ICE Agent shot his own supervisor and was
himself shot and killed by another ICE employee.
To prevent incidents like the one in Los Angeles, ICE must begin
efforts to address problems within the agency. While both internal and
external factors contribute to the morale problems within ICE, proper
leadership from ICE headquarters could make sweeping and effective
changes throughout the agency. It is the responsibility of ICE
leadership to maintain the highest possible morale within the agency
regardless of the situation and regardless of the factors involved;
whether it is addressing gross mismanagement and overall corruption
within the agency, or addressing the impact of internal or external
While ICE employees are frequently demonized by special interest
groups and media outlets, it should be known that many ICE employees
are themselves the sons and daughters of immigrants, or grandsons and
granddaughters of immigrants; or are married to immigrants, or are the
proud parents of adopted babies born outside the U.S. For many of our
officers and agents, English was not their first language, or they grew
up in a bilingual household. ICE employees represent the full spectrum
of races and religions that make up our great country. They are moms
and dads, public servants, and many are veterans of the United States
Armed Forces. ICE agents are not monsters as some would portray them.
However, ICE agents do believe in law enforcement and the rule of
law. Most Americans going about their daily lives believe that ICE
agents and officers are permitted to enforce the laws of the United
States. However, ICE agents and officers would tell America a much
The day-to-day duties of ICE agents and officers often seem in
conflict with the law as ICE officers are prohibited from enforcing
many laws enacted by Congress; laws they took an oath to enforce. ICE
is now guided in large part by the influences of powerful special
interest groups that advocate on behalf of illegal aliens. These
influences have in large part eroded the order, stability and
effectiveness of the agency, creating confusion among all ICE
employees. For the last four years it has been a roller coaster for ICE
officers with regard to who they can or cannot arrest, and which
Federal laws they will be permitted to enforce. Most of these
directives restricting enforcement are given only verbally to prevent
written evidence from reaching the public.
Most Americans would be surprised to know that immigration agents
are regularly prohibited from enforcing the two most fundamental
sections of United States immigration law. According to ICE policy, in
most cases immigration agents can no longer arrest persons solely for
entering the United States illegally. Additionally, in most cases
immigration agents cannot arrest persons solely because they have
entered the United States with a visa and then overstayed that visa and
failed to return to their country. Essentially, only individuals
charged or convicted of very serious criminal offenses by other law
enforcement agencies may be arrested or charged by ICE agents and
officers for illegal entry or overstay.
In fact, under current policy individuals illegally in the United
States must now be convicted of three or more criminal misdemeanors
before ICE agents are permitted to charge or arrest the illegal alien
for illegal entry or overstaying a visa, unless the misdemeanors
involve the most serious types of offenses such as assault, sexual
abuse or drug trafficking. With regard to traffic violations, other
than DUI and fleeing the scene of an accident, ICE agents are also
prohibited from making an immigration arrest of illegal aliens who have
multiple convictions for traffic related misdemeanors.
Thus far, ICE's new arrest methodology of prohibiting the arrest of
illegal aliens convicted of certain unspecified misdemeanors has simply
created more confusion among those tasked with enforcing immigration
law. During conversations with ICE officers, agents and prosecuting
attorneys, none were able to identify the criminal misdemeanor offenses
that ICE leadership has identified as ``insignificant.'' Important to
note, no training or list of ``insignificant'' misdemeanor offenses was
ever provided to ICE employees.
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which prevents the
deportation of many aliens brought to the U.S. as children, is for the
most part applied by ICE immigration agents to adults held in state
correctional facilities and jails pending criminal charges. News has
spread quickly through illegal alien populations within jails and
communities that immigration agents have been instructed by the agency
not to investigate illegal aliens who claim protections from
immigration arrest under DACA. ICE immigration agents have been
instructed to accept the illegal alien's claim as to whether he or she
graduated or is attending high school or college or otherwise qualifies
under DACA. Illegal aliens are not required to provide officers with
any type of proof such as a diploma or transcripts to prove that they
qualify before being released. Even though the immigration officer
generally has no proof that the alien qualifies under DACA, officers
may not arrest these aliens unless a qualifying criminal conviction or
other disqualifier exists. As one immigration agent stated last week,
``every person we encounter in the jails now claims to qualify for
release under DACA.''
With all of the restrictions placed on ICE immigration agents in
enforcing U.S. immigration laws, it is also important to understand the
broader law enforcement practices of the Agency and the associated
impact on immigration enforcement. With approximately 20,000 employees
at ICE, approximately 5,000 officers and agents handle the majority of
immigration work within the agency, to include the arrests, case
processing, detention, and removal of approximately 400,000 aliens each
year. Within this group of 5,000 officers, two separate officer
positions exist. While all officers have exactly the same training, the
two officer positions have different arrest authorities, one position
with a more limited arrest authority than the other. For obvious
reasons, this antiquated separation of arrest authorities among
officers is unnecessary, especially as no additional training is
necessary, and clearly prevents the best use of the limited resources
available for immigration enforcement. Requests for ICE Director John
Morton to issue a memorandum providing full arrest authority to all
officers as a force multiplier within the agency have been refused by
the Director without explanation. As the Administration states publicly
that it is pushing for stronger enforcement and optimal utilization of
limited enforcement resources, these actions appear to indicate
Also important to understand, pressures from special interest
groups have resulted in the majority of ICE agents and officers being
prohibited from making street arrests. Most officers are only allowed
to work inside of jails hidden from public view, and may only arrest
certain individuals who have already been arrested by police
departments and other Federal agencies. As a general rule, if ICE
agents or officers are on duty in a public place and witness a
violation of immigration law, they are prohibited from making arrests
and from asking questions under threat of disciplinary action.
Several hundred officers and agents assigned to special teams
across the nation do have a limited ability on a day-to-day basis to
make public arrests outside of jails. For the most part, these officers
and agents are restricted to arresting specific targets only after each
case goes through a lengthy authorization process that must eventually
be approved by a supervisor in writing.
As stated previously, new ICE arrest policies clearly appear to
conflict with not only the law but also with the legal training
provided new officers and agents in the academy and on the job at their
offices in the field. Years of training and experience are not easily
undone, especially as ICE refuses to provide training to officers
regarding its new enforcement policies. As a result, officers are
confused and unsure about the new policies, and often find themselves
facing disciplinary action for following the law and their academy
training instead of the confusing and highly misunderstood and ever
changing new policies.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, three ICE agents witnessed an individual
admit in open court to a Federal Immigration Judge that he was in the
United States illegally. ICE agents waited until the alien left the
hearing and then politely asked him to accompany them, never using
handcuffs in the course of the arrest. An immigration attorney and
activist called the ICE Field Office Director in Salt Lake City
verbally complaining that ICE officers had arrested an illegal alien.
The ICE Field Office Director responded by ordering that all charges
against the illegal alien be dropped and that the alien be released
immediately. While the ICE Director ordered the immigration violator be
set free, the Director also ordered that all three ICE agents be placed
under investigation for no other reason than arresting an illegal
In Dover, Delaware, ICE agents conducted surveillance of a vehicle
registered to an ICE criminal fugitive. When a man attempted to enter
the vehicle and depart, ICE agents discovered that while not their
arrest target, the man was an illegal alien with multiple convictions
for driving without a license. Still without a license and attempting
to drive, ICE agents considered the man a threat to public safety and
arrested him. ICE supervisors ordered that the illegal alien be
released without charges. When one agent attempted to bring immigration
charges against the alien as the law and his oath requires, the agent's
managers released the illegal alien and instead brought formal charges
against the agent proposing the agent be suspended for 3 days. If the
suspension was sustained, a second ``offense'' by the agent would
likely result in the agent losing his job. The officer has been an
immigration agent for 18 years and is a 5 year military veteran.
In El Paso, TX, ICE agents arrested an illegal alien at a local
jail who was arrested by sheriff's deputies earlier that same morning
and charged with assault causing bodily injury to a family member and
interfering with a person attempting to make an emergency phone call
for assistance. When ICE agents attempted to transport the 245 lbs.
subject he resisted and attempted escape, injuring one agent before
being taken back into custody. When agents returned to their office in
El Paso they were ordered by ICE managers to release the alien as a
``Dreamer.'' ICE managers did not question the criminal alien and
conducted no investigation to ensure that charges for assaulting an
officer were not warranted. Instead ICE managers ordered that the
illegal alien immediately be released without investigation in
accordance with the President's new immigration policies, reportedly
stating to employees that ``ICE's mission now is to identify aliens and
With regard to assaults in general, assaults against ICE officers
and agents continue to rise as ICE arrestees become increasing more
violent and criminal in nature. Of the approximately 400,000 aliens
removed by ICE each year, over 90% come from jails and prisons
according to agency officials at ICE Headquarters. However, unlike
almost every state and Federal law enforcement agency in the nation,
ICE agents and officers are prohibited from carrying life saving
protective equipment such as tasers. ICE will not approve this
equipment for its agents and officers for political reasons. Death or
serious injury to ICE officers and agents appears more acceptable to
ICE, DHS and Administration leadership, than the public complaints that
would be lodged by special interest groups representing illegal aliens.
While unthinkable for most American's that the Federal government would
approve the use of tasers on criminals who are U.S citizens, but deny
tasers to law enforcement officers who arrest criminal aliens, it
appears to be the case. As we have reported in the past, ICE, DHS and
the Administration work exclusively with special interest groups to
establish security and arrest protocols throughout the agency while
excluding input from employees and operational managers in the field.
As a result, many special considerations exist exclusively for criminal
aliens in ICE custody compromising operations and costing the agency
millions each year.
In closing, while deeply concerned by the actions of our agency, as
well as the current state and future of immigration enforcement, we are
optimistic and confident that all of these matters can be successfully
resolved with the assistance of members of Congress. Please do not
hesitate to contact us at any time with any request as we are always
ready and willing to assist you.
Mr. Goodlatte. Ms. Vaughan, we are glad to have your
TESTIMONY OF JESSICA M. VAUGHAN, DIRECTOR OF
POLICY STUDIES, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES
Ms. Vaughan. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today
on the enforcement of laws against illegal immigration. My
remarks are going to focus on the extent of illegal immigration
law enforcement today and also on enforcement at the workplace.
There is no more important responsibility of our Federal
Government than to secure our borders, and this includes
enforcing laws against illegal immigration, which imposes
enormous economic, fiscal, and security burdens on American
communities. In addition to displacing American and legal
immigrants from jobs and depressing their wages, illegal
immigration costs taxpayers about $10 billion a year at the
Federal level and even more at the State and local level. So
every dollar invested in border security and immigration
enforcement has both a public safety benefit and a fiscal
We don't know exactly how much the Federal Government
spends on immigration enforcement. DHS and its predecessor,
INS, have never tracked immigration enforcement separately from
the other responsibilities. We do know that in 2012, DHS
received about $20 million to fund CBP, ICE and US-VISIT. This
allocation is about half of the amount that is spent on all
other nonmilitary Federal law enforcement activities. But only
a small share of the $20 million was spent on immigration law
enforcement. Much of what CBP and ICE do is customs
enforcement. At many of the ports and field offices, most of
what they do is customs-related, whether it is cargo
inspections or admission of visitors. So it is difficult to
analyze how much immigration law enforcement is occurring
simply by looking at what we spend on the agencies that perform
And I would like to just touch on some of the other
metrics. The Border Patrol has traditionally used the volume of
Southwest border apprehensions as a key indicator. It is
interesting. For a while we did see a sustained decline in the
number of Southwest border apprehensions, which some have held
as a proxy for the number of illegal crossing attempts. But if
that is the case, then we have reason for concern again.
According to statistics just released by CBP, last year
Southwest border apprehensions went up by 9 percent.
For ICE, we can look at prosecutions to gauge the volume of
their work. Here again, according to various Federal sources,
after years of increases the numbers of immigration court
filings have declined 25 percent since last year and 30 percent
The main metric used by the Obama administration to measure
enforcement activities is the number of deportations, but as
the President has said, these numbers are deceptive. First of
all, it is not clear that 400,000 is actually a record since
the methodology has changed so much over the years. And it must
be noted that the truly dramatic recent increases actually
occurred between 2005 and 2009. Since then the numbers have
flattened out noticeably; and ICE arrests, as opposed to
deportations, have been declining since 2008.
When it comes right down to it, though, the only metric
that really counts is not how many are coming and going, but
how many are actually staying. And according to our research,
that number has remained stubbornly high. In my view, one
reason for that is because one key type of immigration law
enforcement has been conspicuously lacking, and that is
In 1986, workplace enforcement was a key part of the grand
bargain of IRCA. The American people were promised that after
the amnesty, future illegal flows would be prevented by the
implementation of employer sanctions. As we know, the Federal
Government was quick to implement the amnesty program, but
never followed through with enforcement. Instead it
deliberately created a system that was built to fail.
Many blamed Congress, but executive branch officials were
equally complicit. The regulations and policies they
established essentially sandbagged the enforcement process from
the beginning in favor of the unscrupulous employers who hired
the illegal aliens. The result was that employers failed to
take the sanctions seriously and were able to absorb any meager
penalties as a cost of doing business.
Under the Clinton administration, it got worse. The number
of special agents in the Investigations Division was cut from
750 to about 500. By 2004, worksite enforcement actions dropped
from few to almost none. That year only three employers were
fined over the entire year in the entire country.
Finally, Congress stepped in to provide an infusion of
funding to revive the program, and activity gradually increased
over the next several years, peaking in 2008. It didn't last
long. Soon after President Obama took office, new policies were
adopted, and worksite enforcement went the way of fugitive
operations and local partnerships. New policies focused on
conducting paperwork audits at more companies, while
deliberately avoiding contact with the illegal workers.
By almost every measure, arrests, indictments, convictions,
and investigative hours, worksite enforcement for substantive
violations of the law have dropped dramatically. The number of
audits and fines have gone up a lot, but most of these
sanctions are for paperwork violations to the extent we can
tell because little information is actually released by ICE.
By failing to rigorously enforce the laws against hiring
illegal aliens, the Obama administration, like others before
it, is tacitly encouraging more illegal immigration that
displaces U.S. workers, causes their wages to decline, and
erodes their quality of life. Judging by their record, we can
expect a similar result if lawmakers sign on to another so-
called comprehensive immigration reform plan that gives amnesty
first in exchange for promises of enforcement that will not be
Mr. Bachus. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Vaughan follows:]
Prepared Statement of Jessica M. Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies,
Center for Immigration Studies
Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, I thank you for the
opportunity to testify today on the enforcement of laws against illegal
There is no more important responsibility of our federal government
than to secure our borders. It is critical that we provide the agencies
that are tasked with this mission with the resources they need to keep
us safe, to prevent the entry of terrorists and criminals, to manage
the entry of legitimate trade and travel, and to keep illegal
immigration in check.
Illegal immigration imposes enormous economic, fiscal and security
burdens on American communities. In addition to displacing American and
legal immigrants from jobs and depressing their wages, illegal
immigration costs taxpayers about $10 billion a year at the federal
level \1\, and even more at the state and local level. For this reason,
every dollar invested in border security and immigration enforcement
has a public safety benefit and a fiscal benefit.
\1\ Steven A. Camarota, The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal
Immigration and the Federal Budget, Center for Immigration Studies,
August, 2004, http://www.cis.org/High-Cost-of-Cheap-Labor.
immigration agencies' footprint in federal law enforcement
The federal government, appropriately, allocates a significant
share of taxpayer dollars to the immigration agencies that carry out
this important work. It is impossible to determine exactly how much the
federal government has spent on immigration enforcement over the years,
because the Department of Homeland Security and its predecessor, INS,
have never tracked these activities. In 2012, the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) received about $20 million to fund Customs and
Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and
US-VISIT for the missions of immigration and customs enforcement and
foreign visitor data collection and analysis. This represents about
half of overall federal law enforcement expenditures (not counting most
military and intelligence service law enforcement nor Coast Guard),
which totaled about $39 billion in 2012.\2\
\2\ Figures are taken from official agency budget summaries from
the last two years. Other federal law enforcement agency budgets
tallied include: FBI, DEA, ATF, US Marshals, Secret Service, Bureau of
Prisons, US Attorneys Offices, Transportation Security Administration,
Diplomatic Security Service, IRS Criminal Investigation Division,
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, US Mint Police,
Pentagon Force Protection, DoD OIG, Bureau of Indian Affairs Police,
Bureau of Land Management Office of Enforcement and Security, National
Park Service Police, Fish & Wildlife Office of Law Enforcement, Forest
Service Law Enforcement and Investigations, USDA OIG, NOAA Fisheries
Office of Law Enforcement, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations,
Education OIG, Veterans Affairs Police, US Capitol Police.
That might sound like we are spending an enormous sum on
immigration law enforcement. But the immigration agencies' work
encompasses far more than immigration law enforcement. Customs
enforcement represents a huge share of these agencies' budgets,
especially at the ports of entry, along with intellectual property
enforcement; transnational gang suppression; child pornography
investigations; fighting human trafficking; returning stolen
antiquities; doing cargo inspections; and interdicting drugs, weapons,
bulk cash, and other contraband that is smuggled across our borders.
Immigration and customs enforcement overlaps with the mission of
many other federal law enforcement agencies, and sometimes even
surpasses them in productivity. For example, in 2012, CBP agents seized
4.2 million pounds of illegal drugs--more than three times the amount
seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration in the previous year. In
the last eight years, under the auspices of Operation Community Shield,
ICE has arrested 27,600 gang members; no comparable statistics could be
found for the FBI, but there is no doubt that ICE plays a leading role
in addressing this serious public safety problem. In addition, both ICE
and CBP routinely make significant seizures of illegal weapons and
currency from criminal organizations trying to enter or already
operating in the United States.\3\
\3\ All data is available on these agencies' web sites.
In addition, a major part of CBP's effort and resources are used to
facilitate the entry of legitimate visitors and goods, for example,
through routine inspections of people and goods and through trusted
While outlays for border security and immigration enforcement have
reached historic highs, it is important to remember that the
immigration enforcement mission was woefully underfunded for decades;
meanwhile, the threat from international terrorism and transnational
criminal organizations is also greater than ever before. Illegal
immigration has risen steadily since the 1980s. While our research
shows that new illegal entries have slackened somewhat since 2007,
there are signs that the tide could be shifting again. According to
numbers just released by CBP, in 2012 southwest border apprehensions,
which the agency has used as an indicator of the number of illegal
crossings, went up by nine percent.
Transactional data collected by a project at Syracuse University
reportedly shows that CBP and ICE together refer more cases for
prosecution than other federal law enforcement agencies, which some
have interpreted to mean that these agencies have been hyperactive and
overzealous in their work. But another reliable source, the U.S.
Sentencing Commission, reports that immigration cases represent a much
smaller share of the federal criminal justice docket. The Commission's
2011 annual report says that immigration offenders were 35% of all
those sentenced in federal court that year, meaning there were twice as
many sentenced offenders from non-immigration agency prosecutions than
from CBP and ICE.\4\ However, this same report notes that 10% of
murderers, 31% of drug traffickers, 34% of money launderers, 64% of
kidnappers, and 28% of food and drug offenders sentenced that year were
non-citizens, so it's easy to see why immigration enforcement should be
such a high priority in federal law enforcement. Obviously these two
sets of data are measuring different things--referrals for prosecution
and sentenced offenders--but they are equally valid measures of the
immigration agencies' footprint in the federal criminal justice system.
\4\ U.S. Sentencing Commission, 2011 Sourcebook of Federal
Sentencing Statistics, http://www.ussc.gov/Data_and_Statistics/
Annual_Reports_and_Sourcebooks/2. . . .
Some observers also have raised concerns about the number of
individuals in immigration detention (429,000 in 2011). However,
immigration detention is of relatively short duration (average 29 days)
compared to the federal prison system, where only two percent stay less
than one year. There are far fewer immigration detainees than federal
prisoners at any one time; the average daily immigration detainee
population is about 33,000, compared to about 218,000 inmates in the
Bureau of Prisons system.\5\ Immigration offenders make up only 12
percent of the federal prison population, although 26.5 percent of
federal prisoners are non-citizens. But the immigration detention
system is not at all like the federal prison system in purpose or
nature. Immigration detention is more comparable to the local jail
system, which has an average daily population of about 750,000 inmates.
\5\ The total federal prisoner population is comparable to an
average daily population, because nearly all of the federal prisoners
are serving long sentences of more than one year.
Obama administration officials have pointed to what they claim is a
record number of removals and returns--409,000 in 2012, out of more
than 11 million illegal residents--as evidence that the government is
doing as much as it can, perhaps even more than enough, immigration
enforcement. But as the president has said, these numbers are
``actually a little deceptive:''
The 2012 deportation numbers are not a record, using the
current methodology of counting both removals and returns. According to
the annual yearbook of immigration statistics, in 1996 removals and
returns numbered more than 1.6 million, up from more than 1.3 million
The ``dramatic'' recent increases in deportations,
removals and returns actually occurred between 2005 and 2009; since
then, the numbers have flattened out noticeably.\6\
\6\ DHS Immigration Enforcement Actions, 201, http://www.dhs.gov/
It has been established that recent deportation
statistics are heavily padded with cases that were not previously
counted as such.\7\
\7\ Rep. Lamar Smith, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/
26/obama-puts-illegals-ahea. . . .
ICE arrests have been trending downward since 2008, after
a sharp rise that year. It's hard to understand how deportations can be
rising when apprehensions are falling.\8\
\8\ DHS Immigration Enforcement Actions, 2011.
the meager history of enforcement at the workplace
But the most conspicuous void in immigration law enforcement has
been in the area of workplace enforcement. Enforcement of immigration
laws at the workplace is essential to gaining control of illegal
immigration and to addressing the most significant negative effects of
immigration, namely the displacement of legal workers and the
deterioration in wages for those U.S. workers who must compete with
Workplace enforcement is as important as securing the border
itself, for several reasons. Illegal immigration occurs in many ways,
including illicit border crossing, overstaying a legal visa, and using
false documents. Any strategy that relies solely on securing the border
is doomed to fail, because it will miss as many as half the illegal
entrants. Secondly, border security is limited by the physical
challenges of the terrain and by the government's financial resources.
And, as long as there are employers willing and able to hire illegal
workers, the workers will try to come.
An effective workplace strategy provides employers with the tools
to enable them to comply voluntarily and also holds them accountable
for their violations and their role in sending the message that illegal
workers are welcome. Routine, frequent and thorough enforcement
discourages illegal workers by creating an expectation that they could
be subject to arrest and removal at any time. Such policies of strict
enforcement of the laws against illegal employment have been shown to
be effective, both in reducing the flow of new illegal immigrants and
in reducing the size of the settled illegal immigrant population.
In 1986, Congress attempted to address the illegal immigration
problem with a grand bargain: a large share of the resident illegal
population would receive amnesty, and future illegal flows would be
prevented by the implementation of employer sanctions, to be enforced
by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). For the first
time, it became expressly illegal to knowingly hire, recruit, or refer
for a fee someone who was not authorized to work in the United States.
Employers were required to check documents presented by new hires to
establish that they were authorized to work, and record the information
on form now known as the I-9. The sanctions included fines and possible
prison time for the act of illegal hiring and for not properly checking
the status of new employees.
The federal government was quick to implement the amnesty program,
but never followed through with the enforcement of employer sanctions.
In fact, it seems that they were never intended to be allowed to work
Many have blamed Congressional drafters for deliberately creating a
clumsy system in which employers were required to ask new hires for
documentation, but not expected or required to verify the information
(and there was no easy way for them to do so anyway). The law allowed
for more than a dozen different forms of identification to establish
work authorization. As a result, many workers simply began providing
false documents, and a booming trade in false identification for
employment purposes was born.
But executive branch officials, under the influence of political
appointees with ties to major business, agricultural, and industrial
special interests, were equally complicit in creating a workplace
enforcement system that was built to fail.
First, it was decided that a significant share of the INS
enforcement resources would be directed toward an ``employer sanctions
education mandate.'' It was essentially an outreach program to inform
the nation's employers of the new law and their new responsibilities.
This outreach was to be performed primarily by the agency's corps of
special agents--and had the effect of taking the sworn law enforcement
officers who were trained and empowered to investigate violations off
Next, the agency leadership crafted the regulations in such a way
as to ensure that very few employers would actually be subjected to
sanctions that were painful enough to deter illegal hiring. The
regulations included the following provisions:
Employers were to be notified three days in advance of
agents arriving to audit the personnel forms (I-9s), providing
employers with a chance to create the appearance of compliance;
Before sanctioning an employer, whether for knowingly
hiring illegal workers or for improper paperwork, agents had to obtain
advance clearance from both the operational supervisors and the general
counsel's office in headquarters. These two offices put every single
notice of intent to fine through a such a wringer of review that very
few sanctions were ever approved;
In the event that an employer fine was approved, the case
was handed off to the agency lawyers in the field, who typically
preferred to negotiate settlements with the employers that knocked down
the fines to literally pennies on the dollar. Agents were not allowed
to participate in the settlement negotiations to provide input on the
seriousness of the illegal hiring practices, or make the case for tough
The result was that employers failed to take the sanctions
seriously and were able to absorb any meager penalties as a cost of
doing business. Nevertheless, each year the INS completed thousands of
employer investigations. According to the agency's statistical
yearbooks, each year between 1992 and 1998, agents completed 5,000 to
7,000 employer investigations resulting in between 7,500 and 17,500
arrests. But even these efforts were a drop in the bucket relative to
the scale of illegal hiring at the time.
These policies remained in place until the demise of the INS. Under
the Clinton administration, the situation worsened. During the tenure
of Commissioner Doris Meissner, the size of the corps of special agents
in the Investigations division (comparable to today's Homeland Security
Investigations division, without the customs, intellectual property,
and counterfeit goods responsibilities) shrank to about 500 (compared
to about 7,000 today). Worksite enforcement and employer sanctions
ranked as no more than a footnote in the agency's priorities, and most
agent productive hours were directed toward casework such as drugs,
gangs, and alien smuggling.\9\
\9\ Andorra Bruno, ``Immigration-Related Worksite Enforcement:
Performance Measures,'' Congressional Research Service, 7-5700, June
Under the Bush administration, initially, INS priorities were
focused on primarily on streamlining the processing of immigration
benefits applications, until the events of 9/11, when the focus became
national security, and the agency was dismantled and its enforcement
functions assigned to CBP and ICE. Given the national security focus
that pre-occupied the agency at that time, in the early years of ICE,
worksite investigations were at first focused mainly on critical
infrastructure work places such as airports.
In 2005, the GAO issued a report noting that competing priorities
at ICE had brought worksite enforcement to a near stand-still.\10\ The
auditors found that between 1999 and 2004, the number of employers
fined either for substantive or paperwork violations had declined from
417 to 3.
\10\ Government Accountability Office, ``Immigration Enforcement:
Weaknesses Hinder Employment Verification and Worksite Enforcement
Efforts,'' GAO-08-813, August, 2005.
Following this report, ICE received an infusion of funding to hire
additional compliance officers, agents, and managers to devote to this
program. Activity gradually increased over the next several years.
Field offices planned and carried out carefully-executed raids and made
a record number of arrests of illegal workers at meatpacking plants,
factories, and even smaller employers such as restaurants and retail
establishments. The number of administrative and criminal arrests in
worksite operations seems to have peaked in 2008, when there were more
than 5,000 administrative arrests and more than 1,000 criminal
In early 2009, the Obama administration adopted new policies on
worksite enforcement, placing the focus on conducting paperwork audits
of more companies while deliberately avoiding contact with illegal
workers. It is difficult to evaluate the productivity of this new
approach, because ICE no longer publishes detailed worksite enforcement
statistics, and the few statistics that are released are not comparable
with earlier years. But judging from various limited records I have
reviewed that were released through the FOIA process, there is a great
deal of inconsistency among ICE investigative field offices in how they
go about worksite enforcement. Some offices target employers that are
suspected of egregiously hiring large numbers of workers; others tend
to select employers where few suspected illegal workers are found in
the paperwork, but they can still claim to have completed many audits.
Some offices push hard to impose large fines, others prefer to issue
mainly warnings, even in cases where large numbers of suspected illegal
workers were found on the payroll.
In addition, I have found some inconsistencies in the way ICE
apparently is classifying its investigations, which leads me to wonder
if they might be manipulating case reporting statistics in order to
give an inflated impression of the level of worksite enforcement.
Listed under the ``Worksite'' section of the ICE Newsroom page, I found
several press releases about investigations that were clearly criminal
in nature, and could not reasonably be classified as ``worksite
enforcement.'' So-called ``worksite'' cases I found included
prosecutions of the leaders of a prostitution ring in Florida and the
owner of a motel in El Paso used as a drophouse for 5,000 smuggled
On the other hand, some of my sources report of another multi-state
prostitution ring investigation (reportedly involving underage girls)
that was initiated by the Border Patrol and later turned over to ICE
was reportedly dropped because it would have led to discoveries of
widespread illegal hiring practices at dairy farms in northern Vermont.
The one consistent theme of worksite investigations in recent years
seems to be that arrests of workers are to be avoided at all costs.
This raises legitimate questions as to the value of an audits-only
Our research shows that there are advantages, disadvantages and
trade-offs to raids and audits, and the most effective approach is
probably a blend of both. Raids are very effective for the purposes of
penalizing both workers and employers. Both employers and workers can
be caught red-handed, making it easier both to apprehend and remove the
workers and to prosecute the employers, in large part because the
workers can testify against the employer. In addition, the negative
publicity associated with a raid can be a deterrent to illegal hiring.
On the other hand, some consider the raids to be excessively
intimidating to both workers and employers, as ICE agents will use
customary law enforcement procedures in order to maintain order and
prevent escape or violence. The raids are costly to the U.S. government
as, depending on the size of the operation, they may require hundreds
of agents, months of preparation, and complex logistics.
Audits, on the other hand, are largely a paperwork exercise and
enable ICE to examine the practices of a much larger number of
employers than is possible through raids. Audits might be part of a
full investigation that culminates in a raid, but it is also possible
to perform an audit without the business disruption of a raid. The
auditors can, for the most part, easily determine which employees lack
authorization using the standard verification tools. On the other hand,
the audits may not detect employees working under the table. The audits
offer no opportunity for ICE to apprehend the illegal workers. The
employer is required to terminate an unauthorized worker discovered by
the audit, but the worker is free to find employment elsewhere. In
general, the audits result in lesser sanctions on employers who are
found to be violating the law. Without the testimony of the workers, it
can be very difficult for ICE to make a case or press charges on an
employer for knowingly hiring illegal workers.
Conclusion. Enforcement of immigration laws at the workplace is not
a substitute for border enforcement, but is ultimately a more effective
approach. Since a significant number of illegal aliens enter legally on
visas as well as illegally over the land borders, any strategy to
control illegal immigration must operate beyond the border and disrupt
the magnet of employment, which is what causes most illegal immigrants
to settle here. Workplace enforcement accomplishes that by targeting
and deterring the employers of illegal workers and by penalizing the
workers who are apprehended at the workplace. Workplace enforcement is
flexible, with a variety of layers including both voluntary compliance
on the part of employers and sanctions against egregious or knowing
violators. Finally workplace enforcement provides a direct benefit to
U.S. workers by opening up job opportunities and improving wages and
working conditions as a direct result of the enforcement action.
Mr. Bachus [presiding]. Mr. Chishti.
TESTIMONY OF MUZAFFAR A. CHISHTI, DIRECTOR, MIGRATION POLICY
INSTITUTE'S OFFICE AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL
Mr. Chishti. Thank you, very much, Mr. Chairman and other
Members of the Committee who are here this afternoon. I will do
my testimony in two parts, first about immigration enforcement.
We at the Migration Policy Institute recently issue a
comprehensive report on immigration enforcement in the United
States. I would urge that this be admitted into the record.
Mr. Bachus. Without objection.*
*The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report submitted by Mr.
Chishti titled Immigration Enforcement in the United States, the Rise
of a Formidable Machinery, by Dorris Meissner, Donald M. Kerwin,
Muzaffar Chishti, and Claire Bergeron, is not reprinted in this hearing
record but is on file with the Committee. The report can also be
Mr. Chishti. Based on that report, by almost any metric
that is publicly available, from staffing all the way to
apprehensions and worksite enforcement, the level of
immigration enforcement in the United States now stands at a
record high. Nearly $18 billion was spent in fiscal 2012 in the
Federal Government's two main immigration enforcement agencies,
ICE and CBP, and the US-VISIT program. It is exactly $17.9
billion, i.e. 24 percent greater than the combined fiscal 2012
budgets for all other principal criminal Federal law
enforcement agencies--from the FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service
and U.S. Marshals. These major resource enforcements have lead
to notable results.
Perhaps, most significantly, Mr. Chairman, Border Patrol
apprehensions fell by 78 percent between fiscal 2000 and 2012.
That is from about 1.6 million to 365,000 people.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of non-
citizens deported from the United States. The DHS removed just
under 392,000 people in 2011, more than double the number
carried out by the INS in fiscal 2002.
Since 1990, more than 4.4 million non-citizens have been
deported from the United States; 42 percent of which, i.e. 1.9
million, have occurred since 2008. Increased deportation has
been accompanied by a paralleled trend in increased
prosecutions for criminal immigration offenses, and these are
mostly illegal entries and illegal reentries.
Today, immigration prosecutions make up more than half of
all the Federal criminal prosecutions initiated. CBP alone
refers today more cases for prosecution than the FBI, and CBP
and ICE together refer more cases for prosecution than all the
Department of Justice's law enforcement agencies combined.
The number of employers enrolled in the E-Verify program
has gone up from 6,000 in 2005 to more than 353,000 today.
Finally, and equally important, yet less visible change has
been the development of new technology and databases that link
immigration enforcement agencies' programs and systems. The
system, called IDENT, administered by US-VISIT, has now become
the world's largest biometric law enforcement database.
It contains more than 148 million individual fingerprint
records, grows at 10 million new entries per year and reflects
more than 2 billion individual entry events. The new databases
and their interoperability have been critical in the
government's enforcement mission.
Quickly let me turn to three key weaknesses associated with
the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the last time
Congress dealt with a comprehensive immigration reform.
A key drawback of IRCA'slegalization component was the law
disqualified those who had arrived in the U.S. after January 1,
1982, and did not provide an opportunity for immediate family
members of newly legalized population to obtain status. This
combination left a large number of people in mixed-status
families and created the nucleus of the sizeable post-1986
For any new legalization program to be successful, Mr.
Chairman, it should be as inclusive as possible. The law should
not disqualify large sections of unauthorized population, as
doing so both invites fraud and fails to address the full scope
of the problem.
IRCA's ultimate failure was its narrow focus. The law did
not anticipate or make provisions for future labor needs,
especially in the low-skilled labor markets. A mechanism for
including flexibility and establishing the types and numbers of
admission for future flaws does not exist.
To meet that need, we have recommended the creation of a
provisional worker program which sort of bridges temporary and
permanent immigration, and the creation of an independent
commission on immigration, which would set the level of people
we need on a regular basis.
Lastly, IRCA failed to have a good defensible
implementation program for the worksite. In the absence of a
reliable mechanism, employers honored verification documents as
presented, but those were frequently fraudulent. The
development of E-Verify, along with declines in the system's
error rate, I think provides us today a real opportunity of
improving E-Verify. But for us to make it mandatory, I think is
a big step. Today only 350,000 employers are currently enrolled
in E-Verify. That covers only a small percentage of the
Nation's 7 million employers and more than 140 million workers.
Extending it to all workplaces should be done in stages to show
that it is not unduly burdensome to employers and provides
protection to lawful workers.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the Nation has built a
formidable immigration enforcement machinery in recent years.
The enforcement-first policy that has been advanced by many
inside and outside the Congress as a condition for looking at
larger reform has de facto become the Nation's dominant
Important as this enforcement is, enforcement alone is not
sufficient to answer the broad challenges that both legal and
illegal immigration pose for our society, our economy, and for
America's future. Looking forward, answering these challenges
depends not only on effective enforcement but also on enforcing
the laws that address both inherent weaknesses in the
immigration system and better align our immigration policy with
the Nation's economic and labor market needs and future growth.
Thank you for allowing me to testify. I will be willing to
answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Chishti follows:]
Mr. Bachus. Thank you.
Ms. Wood, I think your testimony, could I summarize part of
it, is that our enforcement mechanism is failing?
Ms. Wood. Yes, I think that--I think that we have not done
all we need to do, and I think the long period of inconsistent
enforcement has caused people to build up, who are here
illegally, to build up very sympathetic equities and put us in
a bad position. So if we are going to do this again, we have
got to get enforcement right and get it right from the get go;
otherwise, we will be in the same position.
Mr. Bachus. You know,I have talked to people in the
construction industry that have bid against companies that were
using or companies that were hiring large numbers of illegal
workers, and sometimes bidding jobs for half million dollars
less because of their savings on their wages alone. And of
course, that undermines what our own citizens who work in the
trades can make.
And you mentioned $10,000 as a fine, and I can tell you
that I actually saw that about 2 years ago, in Alabama, a firm
that had a several million dollar construction contract was,
about a third of their employees were illegal, and they were
fined $10,000; although the profit from that job was probably
close to a million dollars. So that, obviously, so many of the
fines are sort of a slap on the wrist and just a part of doing
business. Would that be correct?
Ms. Wood. Yeah, I think that is the case. I think what the
civil fines have done is broaden awareness, and so I think
early on, in the Administration, you know, we did see increased
awareness from companies across a broad spectrum of industries.
And construction, you know, historically, has had a lot of
problems in this area, but I think now, as a number of
employers have gone through the audit process and end up with
very low fines, they think, well gee, it is just easier to keep
going as is versus getting on to E-Verify, paying attention,
fully training our workers and so on.
You know, but I do think shifting the burden back to the
government would make a big difference because you are asking
these, your document clerks, who are often earning $10, or $11
an hour to, you know, look at, does this driver's license and
Social Security card look good? It went through E-Verify okay,
but do I think it is good? You know, that is a lot to ask, and
the government should be doing this versus the employers.
Mr. Bachus. I see where it says, one of the reasons that
ICE increased worksite enforcement efforts under your
leadership to give the American people the confidence that
enforcement component of any proposed comprehensive immigration
reform would in fact be implemented. What can Congress do to
best assure that that continues, or that that is the case?
Ms. Wood. It is so that we have confidence in our
Mr. Bachus. Uh-huh.
Ms. Wood. I think to look at our system overall and see
kind of, how is it funded? Is it funded appropriately? Do we
have the tools and technology we need, not only at the border
but in the interior? You know, do things like an exit system,
you know, things like that. What are we doing to make sure that
we have the tools that we need?
ICE has about 7,000 agents. That is fewer than many city
police departments. And so with all respect to the great work
done with MPI, we have a huge, huge, ICE has a huge, huge task.
And so, you know, how can we give them the tools that they
And then I think looking at, are there inefficiencies in
the removal system? It shouldn't take 2 years to get, you know,
a hearing date in California to determine whether or not I am
in the country illegally. You know, the system should move more
There are things that we can do including, you know,
potentially expanding the use of voluntary returns. Expanding
the use of expedited removal in other cases, you know, I think
would also make a difference and, you know, build confidence.
Mr. Bachus. All right.
Mr. Crane, your testimony was fascinating, and part of it
was that you actually have been given instructions and you are
a member of--you are a representative of an enforcement
officers union, and is that a widespread practice for them to
verbally tell you just to assume that everyone has a high
school diploma or qualifies to be here?
Mr. Crane. Yes, sir, I mean, to some degree especially, and
I have testified about this before, over the last 4 years it
has been a day-to-day roller coaster for us about who we can
and cannot arrest. And for the most part, those instructions do
come verbally because they know that what they are doing isn't
right, and they don't want the American public to know what
they are doing.
Mr. Bachus. And those instructions are basically, don't
Mr. Crane. Absolutely. And you know, a lot of people don't
know this, but ICE agents, at least in the group that I work
with, that handle the immigration issues, we are not allowed to
go out and make arrests on the street. If I am on duty and I
walk into a restaurant or something and I see an immigration
violation in front of me, I can't do anything about that. If I
do, I will be disciplined for it, and I will be disciplined for
it again, until I lose my job. And that is how it works.
And people don't understand that if we are ever going to
fix this immigration problem, we have to empower these officers
to do their jobs. It is all about politics. They don't want
something to be in the newspapers.
Mr. Bachus. Tell me a little about your lawsuit again,
that--the basis of the lawsuit that you and other ICE agents
filed against Homeland Security in the Federal District Court
Mr. Crane. Well, just basically, it is a lawsuit that says
the Federal Government won't let us do our jobs. They won't let
us enforce the laws that are on the books, and they have put us
in this, you know, between a rock and a hard spot, basically,
to where we can either enforce the law and be disciplined and
lose our jobs, or we can ignore the law.
So we tried to work with the Administration on this. We
tried to work at the folks up at ICE and DHS, and they wouldn't
work with us, and we had no other choice but to file a lawsuit.
Mr. Bachus. Okay, thank you.
Ms. Lofgren. Thanks to this panel.
I agree that the workplace fines ought to be increased
after we reform the law, so it works. And I think it has been
stated that people who cheat, you know, end up getting an
advantage--excuse me--over people who don't cheat, and that is
not right. So--excuse me--I think that is something that we
ought to come together to solve on a bipartisan basis.
I would note, however, that the amount of fines are way up.
Ten million may not be a lot, but in 2006, the amount of fines
was zero. So it is better than it was and needs to be improved.
I am also interested, Mr. Chishti, on--your institute has
done scholarly work on that, on this whole issue.
Mr. Chishti. Thank you.
Ms. Lofgren. And that is hard to get information that isn't
politicized, in a way, because you just get the numbers. And
one of the questions that we have had here today, is why didn't
the IRCA work? And I think the assumption is that it was lack
of enforcement, and in fact, sometimes enforcement was lacking,
but that is not currently something we are seeing. And many of
us think part of the problem, just as Dr. Land said, was that
we didn't have any way for people who wanted to legitimately
work to come in. I mean, people say, get to the back of the
line. There is no line to get into. And so that I think is one
of the major defects.
Some say, however, that the H-2A program was in and of
itself sufficient to deal with all of the future flow issues.
Do you think that is correct?
Mr. Chishti. I mean, I cut my teeth in the 1986 law, and I
know for sure that no one that I know of talked that the H-2A
program or the replenishment agricultural worker program that
was going to follow it was supposed to be the comprehensive
response to our future labor market needs. That was confined to
the needs of the agricultural sector. And as you know full
well, Congresswoman, not a single person was admitted under the
The real weakness of IRCA was that it was too narrow. It
just focused on the issues of illegal immigration, and we were
in a bit of a recession at the time in 1986. But soon after
IRCA was signed by President Reagan, there was a post-recession
period, when there was significant demand for all sectors of
employment in the United States, and there were no legal
channels for people to come. But the supply and demand matched
post-1986, but instead of using legal channels, the workers
that we needed here were increasingly using illegal channels to
meet the demand, and that is precisely the nucleus of our
present 11 million unauthorized population.
Ms. Lofgren. So now we have a mess on our hands, and the
question is, I really think, how do we clean up the mess we
have found ourselves in and then create a system so no future
mess is created for some future Congress to have to deal with?
And I think that is the challenge that we face.
Part of that is how we treat employment-based immigration.
I think there is broad agreement that somebody that has just
gotten their Ph.D. in electrical engineering is going to go out
and create companies and the like, but there are plenty of
parts of the employment sector where we know, because there
have been tests, because of enforcement, that Americans are not
lining up to do the work. I mean, for example, the easiest
example is migrant farm work. I mean, when you do enforcement
actions, farmers end up plowing over their fields.
I think what we have learned is that after IRCA was
enacted, with its reliance on employer sanctions, there were
evasive tactics taken. For example, employers created so-called
contract employers, where they used labor contractors, or other
middle men. Do you have advice for us, as we craft future flow
requirements, to avoid, you know, tricks to avoid employers
going to those evasions so that we have a system that works for
America and that is enforceable and will not lead to evasion?
Mr. Chishti. Yeah, thank you so much. And I think it is
also the kind of question that we saw on the first panel today,
Congressman Labrador's point about what did we do wrong in 1986
and why can't we be in the same place? I mean, part of the
reason is exactly the response to your question, is that we
didn't have laws that matched reality. And we know one thing
about law making: If you have laws that do not correspond to
reality, they do not work. We enacted laws in 1986 to clean up
the slate. We thought about the people who wanted to be
legalized, but we created no mechanism for future flows. We
created an employment verification system but put huge amounts
of loopholes in it, including the loopholes that the
Congresswoman just talked about, where people, employers, were
able to circumvent the requirement of E-Verify by hiring
contractors, contract workers, by hiring, you know, people off
Now, if we are going to tackle the same problem this year,
we have to learn from 1986. First, we have to build robust new
streams of people to come exactly to meet the real labor market
needs of the United States, which I think, you know, is the
whole spectrum of our occupations, from high end to the low
end. And they should be measured on the basis of real labor
market needs and America's needs for economic growth.
On the E-Verify, clearly, there are good employers and bad
employers. The good employers are following E-Verify. The bad
employers, I would suggest to you, Congresswoman, are exactly
the same who violate the sanctions, but also those who violate
our tax laws, who violate the labor protection laws. The
important thing is to go after those employers, and one of the
things I would recommend is that you build certain amount of
labor protections in your next round of legislation.
It has sort of been the stepchild in this debate so far:
about labor protections. And I would suggest that the least we
have to do is that an employer should not be able to invoke the
defense of employer sanction when they are violating labor laws
of the country. We all know the Supreme Court issued a major
decision on that case in Sure-Tan, whereby undocumented workers
were not found eligible for back pay. All that does is provide
incentive for employers to hire undocumented workers. That kind
of incentive has to be taken away in our legal mechanism, and I
would say Congress should legislatively try to remedy Sure-
*Mr. Chisti revised his testimony as follows:
It has sort of been the stepchild in this debate so far:
about labor protections. And I would suggest that the least
we have to do is that an employer should not be able to
invoke the defense of employer sanction when they are
violating labor laws of the country. We all know the
Supreme Court issued a major decision on that case in
Hoffman Plastic, whereby undocumented workers were not
found eligible for back pay. All that does is provide
incentive for employers to hire undocumented workers. That
kind of incentive has to be taken away in our legal
mechanism, and I would say Congress should legislatively
try to remedy Hoffman Plastic.
Mr. Bachus. Thank you.
Mr. King. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the witnesses for your testimony. It raises a
series of questions for me, and listening to Mr. Chishti and
your testimony, I would be curious if you talked about the
violation of our tax laws and our labor laws. And I am curious
if you believe that employers should be able to deduct as a
business expense wages and benefits that they pay to people
that cannot lawfully work in the United States.
Mr. Chishti. Well, I think with respect to taxation, all
laws should be uniformly applied. If they are hiring people,
whether they are hiring unauthorized or whether they are hiring
people who are lawfully here, they should be subjected to the
same tax regime.
Mr. King. Okay, so the same tax regime?
Mr. Chishti. Otherwise, all you are doing, Congressman, is
creating incentives to hire unauthorized.
Mr. King. So, Congress should clarify current law that it
is unlawful to knowingly and willfully hire people that can't
lawfully work in the United States, and that those expenses
paid as wages and benefits would not be deductible. If we did
that and brought the IRS into this equation to help enforce the
rule of law, wouldn't that be constructive, even to your
Mr. Chishti. If it does not create a further incentive for
employers to hire unauthorized people, I think we should look
at those alternatives.
Mr. King. And if we gave the employers safe harbor if they
used E-Verify, then we wouldn't have it mandatory, as I think
you have suggested we should not, that would allow it to be
voluntary and the employer could determine whether he wanted to
take the IRS risk, could he not?
Mr. Chishti. Congressman, I am sorry.
Mr. King. I wanted to give you an opportunity to examine
this more thoroughly, but I imagine you will now at this point.
And I wanted to point out, or ask the question of Mr.
Crane, and that being, I just listened to the gentlelady from
California. She said, after we reform the law so it that it
works. That causes me to ask you this question: If we had
enforced the laws that exist, would it work?
Mr. Crane. You are actually kind reading my mind right now.
I was sitting here pondering that idea that I don't think we
really even know that the laws that we have on the books right
now weren't good laws. We just never enforce them. Until we
decide that we are going to enforce whatever laws we have or
make in the future, it is never going to work.
Mr. King. Thank you.
And Ms. Wood, welcome back. I appreciate your testimony.
And I heard Mr. Chishti talk about accumulated data of millions
of people who were deported. When you hear that testimony, do
you think of people that were--that left the United States and
actually left the United States, or are they just adjudicated
for deportation? Did you break down that data in your own mind
as to what really happens with the population that he
references in his testimony?
Ms. Wood. Well, I can't speak specifically to the numbers
he provided in his testimony, but a big problem is, a lot of
times people are deported, and they don't go home and so the
number of absconders, you know, as you know, went up to over
500,000 in 2006. And, you know, the question is, are we then
looking for those individuals? Are we arresting them, and are
we ordering them to leave the country?
And in some cases, they may have very substantial equity so
there may be very sad stories, or are we telling those people
now they have a pass? And that is where I can't break down his
numbers to address which situations are involved there.
Mr. King. But we might hear the term ``deportation'' and
think of it in terms of it is always something that is
physically forced, when actually, it is an adjudication process
that might not cause a person to go anywhere except outside the
courtroom. Is that true?
Ms. Wood. Yeah, and someone can be ordered deported and
then stay in the United States, yes. And I don't know from his
statistics which he is talking about.
Mr. King. I just remembered. I hate to go back on this, but
I got my curiosity answered on that, and I just recall some
data at one of the ports of entry where they asked them to go
back and run the fingerprint data to see, and there was one
individual that had reentered--or had reentered 27 times back
into the United States. So it isn't always a situation that
something gets solved here either.
Ms. Wood. That is exactly right. And you know, sometimes
the Border Patrol would deport, you know, somebody or apprehend
somebody 10 or 11 times in one night. It would all count toward
apprehensions. So a lot of the numbers and statistics that the
agencies use, you have to take that into account.
Mr. King. It might be more frustrating to be a Border
Patrol agent than an ICE agent then, rhetorically.
Ms. Wood. I don't know about that. I think ICE agents have
an incredibly hard job.
Mr. King. I agree. And I appreciate the work of all of our
agents. But I wanted to turn in the seconds I have to Ms.
Vaughn and ask you that, we have an E-Verify program now and a
proposal to make it permanent that would not allow an employer
to use E-Verify to check their current or legacy employees. And
would you care to comment on that philosophy? And mine is, I
think an employer should be able to at least voluntarily use E-
Verify to verify their current employees as well as new hires.
And I believe they also should be able to use E-Verify on
prospective hires with a legitimate job offer.
Ms. Vaughn. From what I have heard about from a number of
employers who are interested in using E-Verify, they would very
much like--especially staffing agencies. They say that it, you
know, it creates some difficulties for them to not be able to
be sure if they can send someone out to a workplace while
waiting for the E-Verify process to play out. So they would
like to be able to use it prospectively.
And I think, yes, ultimately, we should build a system that
it is phased in so that, at some point, employers are able to
go through their entire payroll and vet all of their existing
But there is already a system in place that allows them to
do that, and that is SSNVS. A number of government agencies
around the country have mandated use of that program, and they
have, frankly, been quite surprised at what they have found of
the number of people already on the payroll who shouldn't be.
Mr. King. I appreciate you putting that into the record,
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Bachus. Thank you, Mr. King.
Ms. Jackson. Sheila Jackson Lee.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I want to thank Mr. Crane for his service,
and I want to thank also all of you for being here today. And I
want to again ask the Chairman if I might put into the record
the entire article, ``Janet Napolitano, DHS Secretary, Touts
Immigration Enforcement at Mexican Border.''
Mr. Bachus. Without objection.
[The information referred to follows:]
Ms. Jackson Lee. And again, those numbers indicate 356,873
apprehensions on the Mexican border in 2012, up almost 9
percent. And I thank the Chairman for that.
I just wanted to hear from Mr. Crane. I did not hear, you
said you had to sue the Federal Government for what reason?
Mr. Crane. I am sorry, ma'am, I didn't hear what you said.
Ms. Jackson Lee. You had to sue the Federal Government for
what reason, I am sorry?
Mr. Crane. Essentially because the agency has told us that
you can't enforce U.S. immigration law, and if you attempt to
enforce that law, we will discipline you, basically repeatedly,
until you lose your job, until you are terminated.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And is that dealing with the deferred
adjudication for DREAM Act children, that order that came out?
Mr. Crane. Adjudication for what, ma'am?
Ms. Jackson Lee. Did that deal specifically with the
deferred adjudication for the DREAM Act children? Is that the
particular order you are speaking of.
Mr. Crane. We are speaking in the lawsuit about the
prosecutorial discretion memorandum as well as DACA.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And that is a prioritization that you
focus more on those who would do us harm in deportation as
opposed to separating families. That was the intent of that
order, as I recollect, but that is the order that you speak of,
where you were asked to prioritize the deportations?
Mr. Crane. I guess if you want to put it that way, like I
gave in my testimony earlier, we are actually going into jails
and applying it to adult males. We don't go to schools. ICE
agents can't go to schools. We don't mess with kids. We are
going into jails, and we are applying this rule, or this new
policy to criminals, and we are taking their word for it and
not even requiring them to provide proof that they even qualify
for the policy itself.
Ms. Jackson Lee. If we pass comprehensive immigration
reform and we established once and for all the parameters of
the law, and it was the law, that would be more helpful to law
enforcement such as yourself, is that not correct?
Mr. Crane. I guess in theory it would be, ma'am. I guess it
would, again, like everyone has testified today, what does
comprehensive immigration reform really mean?
Ms. Jackson Lee. It means that you would know the
distinction between those who were here in the country legally,
and those who were not. Those who complied had green cards, had
status, and so you would know the difference and you wouldn't
have to speculate.
Mr. Crane. Well, I don't speculate, ma'am. I am trained. I
know who is here legally and who isn't here legally.
Ms. Jackson Lee. But you know that, sir, by the laws that
the Congress of the United States passed.
Mr. Crane. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. Jackson Lee. So if we were to pass a comprehensive
immigration reform that included border security, had
enforcement aspects delineated, so that as a trained ICE
officer, you would know the distinction, that would be better
Mr. Crane. The more distinction that we have under the law
is always going to be better for us. But at the same time, we
have to have political leaders stay out of our business,
essentially, and let us enforce the laws that are on the books,
which is what is not happening right now.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Well, political leaders dictate what the
laws are on the books, and I appreciate that. As I said, I am
grateful for your service, work very well with ICE officers and
CBP. I am Ranking Member on the Border Security Committee and
Homeland Security and look forward to working with you
extensively. But my question again, and I just need a yes or
no, if we have laws on the books that are clear to you as a law
enforcement officer and help distinguish between those who were
here not to do us harm, families that need to be reunited, and
make it clear so you understand the distinction of enforcement
and what your laws are, that would help you do your job, is
that not correct?
Mr. Crane. If I understand the question correctly, yes, it
Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you.
Mr. Chishti, let me pose a question to you very quickly. I
have legislation that introduces something called the visa
family visa appeals board. As you well know, on the enforcement
end, when we separate families, we don't give any option other
than possibly through the court system, as opposed to giving an
option for an appeal where they can actually deliberate and not
be deported, provide the facts before they get into court. You
have already mentioned that our courts are literally at a
stranglehold. Would an interim visa appeal board on family
reunification be a helpful process?
Mr. Chishti. Well, you know, I think some review of
decisions made by administrative agencies is always important.
I think, right now, I think most of those cases actually do not
go to immigration courts. I don't think that is where the
backlog is. I think we probably would do well with a review at
an interim level within the agency, which would look at denials
of that kind. I think more important probably, and this is
actually the decisions that are made by counselor posts abroad
because we don't right now have any counselor review which is
meaningful. I think those changes of the law also need to take
Ms. Jackson Lee. And then the thrust of the board of these
appeals would relate to that process as well because that is
where they are denied.
Mr. Chishti. I think that would be helpful.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you very much.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I would just like to put these
facts into the record, please, if I might. Just want to
indicate from Texas, there are 1,022,000 undocumented workers;
7.2 percent of the workforce of Texas, which is 24 million.
They generate 14.5 billion in tax revenue from undocumented
workers and 77.7 billion gross State product of undocumented
workers. It indicates that if we work with enforcement and work
with a comprehensive approach, we can find ways for these
individuals to invest in America and to add to America's
growing economy. I think we cannot separate one from the other,
and we cannot suggest that we must do one or the other. I thank
Mr. Bachus. All right, without objection.
Ms. Jackson Lee. I yield back.
Mr. Bachus. And I think you want to introduce into the
record the testimony that 7 percent of the workforce in Texas
Ms. Jackson Lee. Yes, sir. The document is the effects of
mass deportation versus legalization, and it is produced by
Mr. Bachus. Thank you.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Bachus. Mr. Labrador.
Ms. Jackson Lee [continuing]. Immigration development
center, UCLA. I ask unanimous consent, thank you.
Mr. Bachus. Thank you. Mr. Labrador.
Mr. Labrador. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you panel for being here today. I want to see some
immigration reform happen, but I want to make sure that we
prevent having the problems that we had with the last
immigration reform, and that is my main concern. You know, we
spent a lot of time here talking about the 12 million and that
is not the only issue that we are facing. We need to have a
robust, modern immigration system that works and speaking
especially to the people working in the law enforcement.
As I have spoken to the ICE agents in my district, they are
concerned that any kind of immigration reform will actually
lead to more fraud, lead to more document fraud, all of those
different things. So I am a big supporter of E-Verify. I am a
big supporter of making sure that we have a robust, you know,
How can we prevent the fraud in the future if we are going
to allow some immigration reform to happen here in Congress?
What steps can we take to make sure that we don't have the
problems? And I will ask all of the panelists: What do you
think we can do to make sure that we don't have the document
fraud that we had in the past? I still dealt, as an immigration
lawyer--for the 15 years I was an immigration lawyer, I was
dealing with cases that were 20 years old, 25 years old. They
were still dealing with the documents that they submitted when
they initially applied for, you know, for the initial amnesty
in 1986. So could you all address that?
Ms. Wood. Well, I think a couple of things could make a big
difference. First, you know, a biometric identification, you
know, considering that for all individuals certainly could help
reduce, you know, the fraud. Even without that, you could
improve E-Verify and really, again, put the burden on the
government and not on the employer to wait out and review the
driver's license and the Social Security card. That could also
Mr. Labrador. Can you stop there? How do you put the burden
on the government more than----
Ms. Wood. Right now the burden is on the employer to do the
Mr. Labrador. Correct.
Ms. Wood. And so they submit the documents through E-
Verify. E-Verify can come back. If I submit my driver's license
from Kansas and my Social Security number, it can come back and
say I am work authorized, even if I am using Chris Crane's, you
know, driver's license information, and Social Security. So, in
certain States, E-Verify now has that information, not in every
State, and so a big problem for employers with high-risk
workforces is that people pretend to be other people. And so
the burden is on the document clerk----
Mr. Labrador. Correct.
Ms. Wood. So then when it comes back employment authorized,
it doesn't really mean that. It means maybe. The government
thinks that, but you, document clerk, you need to look and see,
what does the font look like on the Social Security number? You
know, on the card, does that card look bad? Should I, you know,
so that is a lot of burden that is unfair to do. And so I think
improving E-Verify and some of the proposals in Congressman
Smith's and other bills, it really makes a difference, getting
rid of the I-9 system and moving to where the government
provides the verification.
A second I think really critical thing would be, when we
move to a mass adjustment or legalization, is making sure for
people who commit fraud in the system, that ICE has access to
that information. One of the big problems in the prior amnesty
is that, as you know, is that the enforcement agents didn't
have access to that information. That is a big, big problem.
And you want to make sure, as Agent Crane has noted, that also
that people have to prove things up, too. So you are not kind
of enabling fraud. So you want to make sure that the
verification for people who go through the legalization process
is legitimate verification.
And then finally, resources. You know, you probably know
better than I do how many ICE agents are in Iowa. I used to
know Kansas because it was my home State, and it is two major
alien smuggling routes are in Kansas, I-70 and I-35, and we had
less than, you know, 20 ICE agents in the whole state. That is
a problem. You know, that means they are not going to be
effective. So I think looking at, do we have resources we need
to prevent fraud, to go out and enforce the law? So those are
the four core things I would focus on.
Mr. Labrador. Thank you. And it is Idaho, but that is okay.
I am from Idaho.
Ms. Wood. I don't know. I am sorry, I don't know your
number, but thank you, Congressman.
Mr. Labrador. Mr. Crane.
Mr. Crane. Yes, sir. Well, the first thing I would say is
that, you know, virtually, almost probably 90 percent of the
illegal aliens that we apprehend actually have fraudulent
documents with them, Social Security cards----
Mr. Labrador. You might want to turn on your microphone.
Mr. Crane. Phony Social Security cards, phony lawful
permanent residence cards, et cetera. They are oftentimes
engaged in some type of identity theft to some degree, and we
do nothing about it. We stack them up like they are decks of
cards. We get so many fraud docs, and we do absolutely nothing
about it, and the agency won't let us prosecute it 99.9 percent
of the time.
I think that one of the things that is absolutely within
our power to do here, is take something like fraud and identify
it as being a lifetime bar, you know, and removal so that
everybody knows that if I get caught doing this, if I get
caught with fraud docs, I am going to be removed from the
United States. There is no two ways about it, and I have a
And as you know as a former immigration attorney, we
already have laws like that, and I think it would be extremely
effective in our struggle to stop immigration fraud.
Mr. Labrador. Mr. Chairman, my time has expired. Could the
two other witnesses answer the question?
Mr. Bachus. Yes.
Mr. Labrador. Ms. Vaughn.
Ms. Vaughn. Thank you for addressing this problem. IRCA was
called one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the United
States Government. And I know they are still cleaning up a lot
of the fraud from some of the other amnesty-like programs that
were passed in the 1990's. We actually know a fair amount about
the benefits fraud that occurs from programs that were built
into USCIS, quality control programs, site verification
programs, benefits fraud assessments, they call it. And they
found--there is double-digit fraud in some of our legal
immigration programs now.
And we have to have a system that has integrity to have the
confidence to go forward. And I agree with a lot of what my
colleagues on the panel said. I would just also add that there
needs to be an interview process at a certain point in the
system. We can talk about where that best fits in, but we can't
have a system that is an honor system where people are just
taken at their word.
We can--and putting the burden of proof on the applicants
is important; using technology to verify claims that people
make. I agree wholeheartedly that there cannot be a strict
confidentiality provision in this. That is a deal breaker.
And we can't prosecute all benefits fraud, so we have to
have the ability to let an administrative process play out with
those cases that are not going to go to a U.S. attorney or be
prosecuted by ICE. We have to let USCIS use its authority and
tools like administrative removal to make sure that the people
who are denied are not allowed to stay here anyway.
That is a huge weakness in our benefits programs right now.
And these are not small numbers of people that are benefiting
from the fact that we tolerate so much fraud in this process.
Mr. Labrador. Thank you, Mr. Chishti.
Mr. Chishti. In deference to the little time you have, let
me just be very brief. I mean, in the report that we published
about immigration enforcement, we did identify big gaps. And
one of the biggest gaps, I think, is frankly in the E-Verify
program about the fraudulent identity issue; that we do not
have a mechanism where we can say to the employer the person
who is in front of him or her is the person that the
identification document says it is. We need to drastically
improve that identification variable. It can be done by
biometric scanning. It can be done by doing better and more
secure documents. And that is high on the agenda.
Let me--a lesson from IRCA about fraud was that when you
provide incentive for people to commit fraud, they commit
fraud. And when you remove the incentive, people behave. As I
said in my earlier statement, that one of the drawbacks about
IRCA was that we had left the eligibility date about 5 years
earlier than the date of enactment. Now, what is that? That
creates incentive for people to say they were here 3 years
If we had just made it very inclusive and drawn the line at
the date of enactment, that incentive would have gone down.
Those are the kind of realities I think we need to leave in
mind as we write the next generation of legalization.
Mr. Goodlatte [presiding]. The time of the gentleman has
The gentlewoman from California, Ms. Chu, is recognized for
Ms. Chu. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
First, I would like to recognize that there are quite a few
groups that are very interested in making sure that
comprehensive immigration reform happens, and they would like
to have their positions submitted into the record. So I ask
unanimous consent to submit for the record the position papers
of the Asian American Justice Center, the Coalition for Humane
Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, and the Congressional Asian
Pacific American Caucus.
Mr. Goodlatte. Without objection, they will be made a part
[The information referred to follows:]
Ms. Chu. Thank you very much.
I would like to address a couple of questions to Mr.
Chishti, one is on border security, and the other is on the
exploitation of workers. First, on border security, I took a
congressional bipartisan trip to the border because I wanted to
see for myself what was going on down there, and we actually
traveled along miles of the border. We looked at tunnels. We
looked at the Coast Guard boats. We talked to border security,
and we looked at the detention centers.
And to my stunned amazement, there was capacity for
hundreds, but there were only maybe five or six people there
that were being detained. And the border security agent said
that this had been going on for months. And it became apparent
to me from that trip that we have poured billions of dollars
into immigration enforcement along the border. We spend more
money per year on immigration enforcement than all other
Federal law enforcement agencies combined. The Border Patrol
has nearly doubled the number of its agents from 2004 to 2012,
and apprehensions at the border at 2012 were at the lowest in
40 years, yet many lawmakers continue to call for achieving
operational control of the border, which would mean effectively
sealing the border.
The GAO and CBP have said that such a standard is
unrealistic and outdated. So, at this point, is there even more
to do to make the border more secure, or are we really just
talking about keeping it secure?
Mr. Chishti. Again, reflecting on the findings that we made
in our report, I think we have done a lot and much better at
the border than we have done in a long time. I think most
people recognize that. And the level of staffing, the
technology that is being employed and the declined
apprehensions all speak to that.
We did note that in our findings, that there is one area in
the border enforcement that still is a weakness, and that is
ports of entry. That the ports of entry actually have not kept
up in the infrastructure development at par with the needs of
the ports of entry. And I think if you were to focus on
improving anything on the border security, then obviously, that
is one place to look at.
And did you have--was there a follow-up question?
Ms. Chu. Yes, I--well, is that--another topic, but is that
it on border security?
Mr. Chishti. Yes.
Ms. Chu. Okay, so I also wanted to ask you about the
exploitation of workers. Immigrant workers in my district
regularly face exploitation at the hands of their employers.
They are threatened with deportation when they stand up for
their labor rights. For example, day laborers, like Jose Diaz,
who worked to rebuild our Nation after a hurricane and when
asked about--when he asked for proper safety equipment, he
faced deportation. Or Abi Raju, who was a guest worker under
the H-2B program, who bravely exposed the labor trafficking
occurring at his workplace, and when he asserted his rights, he
was experiencing intimidation, surveillance, and monitoring.
And when their employers make them work overtime without
pay or save money by not buying them needed safety equipment,
this undercuts American workers by driving down wages and
allowing firms to break the law by outbidding their
competitors. If unscrupulous employers are getting away with
this, then this can of course undermine our whole system here.
How can we protect workers so that they don't fear standing up
against such exploitation?
Mr. Chishti. Well, as I said, I think earlier, the issues
of labor protection are one of the less looked at provisions
with respect to the immigration debate. I think whatever new
regime of labor flows we are going to have, labor protection
has to be central to that, both with respect to the protection
of U.S. workers and the protection of foreign workers.
In many of our temporary worker programs today, which is
why they have gotten the bad name they have, they are lacking
in very basic fundamental protections. Like, in the H-2B
program, you cannot sue an employer. The worse you can do is go
to the Department of Labor, which is already highly
understaffed, to deal with those kind of complaints. So I would
recommend strongly that when you look at any regime of future
flows, that labor protections have to be at par with U.S.
And the important elements of that, A, is that no matter
what kind of program we pick, workers should have the right to
move from one employer to the other, what some people in the
parlance call portability, because then you are not tied to an
abusive employer. Two, is that you should get exactly the same
wages, same projections under the labor law that a U.S. worker
does. You should have the same access to courts as U.S. workers
do. And ultimately, you should have the right to become
permanent resident, because otherwise you will constantly be in
an exploitable situation.
Ms. Chu. Thank you, I yield back.
Mr. Goodlatte. I thank the gentlewoman.
I am going to recognize myself for a few questions.
I apologize to the panel for not being here the entire
time, but I have a number of questions that I want to ask you.
And as I do that, I would ask that you be brief, so I can get
all of them in.
First of all, to you, Ms. Wood, former Immigration and
Naturalization Service Commissioner Meissner has stated that
prosecutorial discretion should be exercised on a case-by-case
basis and should not be used to immunize entire categories of
non-citizens from immigration enforcement, which appears to be
what is being done with the discretion that the President has
given under current circumstances.
Do you believe that prosecutorial discretion is properly
utilized when it exempts entire classes of individuals from
enforcement of the immigration laws, and how did you exercise
that discretion when you were director of ICE?
Ms. Wood. Yeah, I think it is really tough to say that you
are exercising true prosecutorial discretion when you exempt
whole classes and categories of people. I certainly understand
the frustration. A lot of people have been waiting for the
immigration laws to change. You know, a lot of equities, a lot
of care, but it is not really prosecutorial discretion if you
exempt whole classes out without going through a case-by-case
You know, when I was at ICE, we did use prosecutorial
discretion, and we did it on a case-by-case basis. It is
important in my view, institutionally, that ICE retain that
ability to have prosecutorial discretion because there are some
cases that you can't legislate for ahead of time. And so ICE
has to have the ability to exercise discretion in appropriate
Mr. Goodlatte. In your testimony, you state that a number
of ICE officers have been put under investigation or are
subject to formal charges for enforcing the immigration laws as
written but apparently in a manner inconsistent with current
Administration policy. In fact, the Federal judge in your
lawsuit, Mr. Crane, has concluded that the plaintiffs' face the
threat of disciplinary action if they violate the commands of
the directive from Secretary Napolitano regarding deferred
action by arresting or issuing a notice to appear to a
directive eligible alien.
Could you first explain that, and then ask what has been
the department's stated basis for these investigations and
Mr. Crane. Well, first of all, I am not certain what you
are asking me to explain, sir, I apologize, as far as the NTA
Mr. Goodlatte. Yeah, the basis of the lawsuit that is
pending against you.
Mr. Crane. Well, I think you pretty accurately stated the
basis of the lawsuit, Mr. Chairman. Our officers are prohibited
from enforcing U.S. immigration law under threat of repeated
disciplinary actions up and to including removal. If we don't
enforce those laws--I want to be very clear in saying that it
is definitely not prosecutorial discretion, most importantly,
because we are under orders not to enforce certain laws.
Prosecutorial discretion is something completely different, and
what is happening right now are clear orders not to enforce the
Mr. Goodlatte. And Ms. Vaughn, do you believe that the
resources Congress currently gives ICE are sufficient to
control the illegal immigration into the interior of the United
States, if those funds were used with the maximum
Ms. Vaughn. That is a hard question because so much of it
depends on the second part of your question, which is the
caveat, which is, if they were used as efficiently as possible.
Yeah, I think that the agency could use some more funding for
some specific purposes. For example, funding for detention
space seems to be an issue, although I would also argue that we
could do a better job at streamlining the removal process so
people don't need to be in detention as long or perhaps not at
all if we make more use of things like expedited removal,
stipulated removal, judicial orders of removal.
I mean, many of these cases simply shouldn't be in
immigration court at all. But yes, I think even if--they could
use an infusion of resources if Congress could be certain that
they would be used effectively.
Mr. Goodlatte. And Mr. Chishti, you state in your testimony
that the combined budgets of the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and US-VISIT
exceed by about one quarter the combined budgets of all other
principal law enforcement agencies, Federal law enforcement
agencies, and that most of the increased immigration funding
has gone to the Border Patrol.
Assuming that these figures are fair comparisons, do you
believe that Border Patrol manpower should be cut, if so, by
Mr. Chishti. Mr. Chairman, we don't make any
recommendations for cutting anything. We don't make a case that
there is too much spending done on border. We don't make a case
that too much stopping is done on border. All we present is how
much we have done, a good part by congressional appropriations.
And that may reflect why enforcement has been so effective.
I think all we just want to point out is that, given the
budgetary realities that at some point, there is not going to
be an unlimited expansion of these programs; that Congress and
you all will have to make a decision that it is a straight-line
cutting on these things, where those cuts will have to take
place. And we would suggest that if they have to take place,
they take place in a very strategic way. That you don't cut
things where people--where things are working very well, and
really look at things where they are not working as well.
Mr. Goodlatte. Well, let me do that with one last question
here before we turn to our next Member for questioning.
And that is this: I don't believe we should cut the funding
for border enforcement at all. But I very much believe that we
are not doing enough to address the enforcement of the law in
the interior of the country. Forty percent, some say, maybe a
little less, but whatever, of the people unlawfully here
entered legally, and so the border is irrelevant to their
status. They came in, probably mostly on airplanes, and they
overstayed their student visas, or visitor visas, or business
visas, and there is not, in my opinion, very much enforcement
going on at all in the interior of the country. And I will ask
each of you to tell me how you would solve that, but do it
Mr. Chishti. Exactly. In our report, we actually did
identify three areas where there is a gap in enforcement, and
there is need for tremendous amount of improvement. Two of
those do relate to interior enforcement. One is the E-Verify
program. It has been improving, but it has a big drawback about
identification issues. That has to be better because otherwise,
there will always be a loophole in that system. We have to do
better in terms of biometric scanning or secure documents to
improve that identification.
Second is that I think the US-VISIT program, which was
given the mandate of both looking at people who enter but also
who exit, which is how you would control the presence of
overstay. That part has been lacking. That hasn't happened. So,
clearly, there has to be much more effort on the overstays in
In fact, I think you are right. We may reach a situation
where the number of overstays actually is larger than the
number of people who cross illegally, which would be a reversal
of the historical trend. And one of the ways to control that is
to improve our exit-entry system in the US-VISIT program.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you.
Ms. Vaughn. Yes, I would definitely agree. We need to move
forward in finishing the entry-exit system that Congress asked
for back in 1996. One key part of that that many don't talk
about is the lack of adequate entry screening at the land ports
which, after all, is where the largest number of visitors
enter. We need to make sure that land visitors get the same
level of screening that visitors who are coming in on airplanes
and on boats do.
I think more attention to workplace enforcement would also
help address the overstay problem. Because after all, if there
is no incentive to stay over your visa, we are not going to
have as large of a problem.
Another cost-effective way to get more bang for our
immigration enforcement buck is to increase the number of
partnerships that ICE has with local law enforcement agencies,
because there are many communities, law enforcement agencies
and local and State governments that would like to assist ICE
in its mission and need the opportunity to do so. And they are
willing to put their own resources toward that. And we should
be encouraging those partnerships, instead of shutting them
down, as has been the case recently.
Mr. Goodlatte. Mr. Crane, I know you are focused at the
border, but what is your perspective on the interior of the
Mr. Crane. I am not, sir. You are right in my ballpark
here. I am an ICE agent on the interior. I work out of Salt
Lake City, Utah. This is something very near and dear to my
heart, so just two comments on Ms. Vaughn's comments. I
strongly agree with her comments on the worksite enforcement.
With regard to the partnerships, we have to be careful
about those partnerships because what has happened in some
situations is those partnerships result in sheriff's department
not wanting to fulfill all of their obligations. And those
things fall back on our folks, and that force multiplier
quickly dissipates when things like that happen. So this has to
be very carefully structured, and they have to be carefully
monitored and managed.
Mr. Goodlatte. But you don't object to the concept?
Mr. Crane. No, sir, not at all. I think it is great. In
fact, what we tried to do in Utah at one point was see if the
agency would do the task force type situation, to where they
would have people working directly with our officers and agents
as a force multiplier, so we strongly support that.
However, with regard to ICE, we have approximately 20,000
employees at ICE. Of those 20,000, approximately 5,000 are the
immigration agents that do the lion's share of the immigration
work within 50 States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, I mean, it is
a tremendous workload for those 5,000 people to be, you know,
arresting, taking these folks through proceedings in the
immigration courts, and actually removing them each year. So we
definitely need more resources on the interior enforcement
And when you compare us to the Border Patrol, we really
haven't grown since 9/11; whereas the border patrol has
basically almost tripled since 9/11.
Another interesting fact about those 5,000 ICE agents that
do the immigration work, they are actually split into two job
positions. Both of them don't have the same arrest authority.
We all have the same training, but we don't have the same
arrest authority. So there is a quick force multiplier right
there, and even that, you know, if we could make something like
that happen even would be a great start to getting more
increased interior enforcement.
In addition to that, with those 5,000 people spread out all
over the Nation, this handful of officers, we have got people
working in facilities that have this full immigration arrest
authority, and they are not doing immigration enforcement work.
Why? You know, when we only have so many of those resources,
and they are limited, and we desperately need them, why aren't
we using them to be out on the streets or be inside of jails,
making immigration arrests?
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you.
Ms. Wood. I would second the points raised by my colleagues
on an entry-exit, a more effective entry-exit program and
enhancing worksite enforcement. But there are two other things
I would do with overstays.
First, I would increase the number of fugitive operation
teams and have them target, kind of, recent overstays. And so
really target those individuals to go out and find them.
And the second thing I would do is to make sure that people
who enter from visa waiver countries and non-visa waiver
countries are treated the same. So if, you know, I come in on
vacation from a visa waiver country, I have waived some of my
rights for review. If I come in from a non-visa waiver country,
I don't. And I can tie up the immigration court for years
fighting my deportation when I stayed over on my vacation. And
that makes no sense. So I would really move to kind of
streamline and have that be the same in both instances, which I
think would be helpful.
Mr. Goodlatte. That is a very good suggestion. Thank you.
The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina,
Mr. Holding, for 5 minutes.
Mr. Holding. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I had the very good fortune of being the United States
Attorney for eastern North Carolina for a number of years.
Ms. Wood, you were in the Department when I was in the
Department as well.
Eastern North Carolina has one of the fastest growing
illegal immigrant populations in the country. Along with that
comes the ever increasing gang violence, drug crimes, and
violent crimes that you have when you have a community of
people who are under the radar, so to speak. It is very easy
for criminals to hide within that community, gang members to
hide within that community, because no one is going to call the
local sheriff and say, ``Hey, there is something suspicious
going on next door,'' because they are illegal.
We had a zero tolerance policy. We would prosecute every
immigration crime that was brought to us. For the most part,
those immigration crimes arose in the context of a drug crime
or a violent crime, and they just happened to be illegals. We
had very little enforcement of overstays, because, as you know,
when you are the prosecutor, you can only prosecute the cases
that are brought to you. And the problem we ran into is the ICE
agents that we had, who were all very dedicated, did not have
time to do the internal enforcement, because they were too
busy. They were participating in task forces. They were
cracking down on drug crimes or, as you say, ferrying people
back and forth between our five different courthouses in
eastern North Carolina.
At the end of the day, if we are going to enforce our laws,
how much of a magnitude increase of resources do you really
think it would take to enforce the laws that are on the books
Ms. Wood. Are you saying that first we would address the 11
million or so that are already here and we would start out with
kind of zero individual----
Mr. Holding. Well, that is the second part of the question,
but if we didn't address the 11 million, we just addressed them
with the laws that we have on the books now, I mean, how much
resources do you think that would take?
Ms. Wood. Well, you know, there are people who have done
the math probably sitting on this panel who can--you know, if
you look at kind of our current number of deportations and then
the stream, obviously you have to look at the stream of kind of
individuals coming in, but it would take a lot of years.
And I think one of the things--one of the reasons that I
support reforming the system is I have not seen commitment to
really fund the agency like it needs to. And because there was
not enforcement over such a long period of time, people do have
these equities and very kind of sad stories, and it is not a
So I think, you know, if you could start out being
somewhere where people who were able to legalize legalized, and
then you would say, now it is zero tolerance, now we really are
sending everyone home, now we have enough resources, now we can
streamline, that would make a lot of sense. But I don't know if
someone on the panel may have, you know, the math that has been
done a bunch of times on how many additional resources you
would need, but it is a lot. And I think you could make some
tweaks to the immigration laws that would help, even if you are
dealing with the population that is currently here.
Mr. Holding. But to your point of if we did do something
about the 11 million illegals that are in the country now and
started from zero, do we even have enough resources in place as
is to enforce the laws going forward if we started from zero?
Ms. Wood. I don't believe we do. I think that ICE and the
Border Patrol are under-equipped and that we need to kind of
look at resources. They may be more temporary resources,
because you know there is going to be a large migration of
people coming in, I mean, illegally trying to get kind of in
right under the radar so they can adjust. And maybe that would
change over time if we had like a strong verification, employer
verification system, things would change over time, but I think
immediately you would need to build up the agencies, build up
the support at the agencies, all of the resources, the court
resources. The fact that you have to wait for 2 years to get
your case heard in some parts of the country is ridiculous to
decide whether or not you are in the country legally.
So I think we are under-equipped, and then there are too
many inefficiencies. And I think legislation could fix a lot of
them, expanding--mandating expanded expedite removal, maybe
expanding the use of voluntary returns would also be helpful,
and reducing the number of cases that kind of come into the
system. I think those could all make a big difference.
Mr. Holding. Thank you very much.
I yield back.
Mr. Bachus [presiding]. Mr. DeSantis.
Mr. DeSantis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank you witnesses for your testimony.
My first question is for Mr. Crane and Ms. Wood. A lot of
this debate is centered around the idea of obviously focusing
on 11 million people who are not legal and then legalizing
them, and then we will provide these enforcement measures. Some
people say we should have a trigger before the legality.
And I guess just, based on your experience, I mean a guy
like me who is considering this stuff, how much confidence
should I have, based on your experience, that the enforcement
mechanisms that are promised by people advocating this
legislation and by Congress will actually end up coming to
fruition? Because it just seems like, you know, we talk about
certain enforcement since 1986, and now we are promising
certain things. Obviously, the executive has a certain amount
of discretion whether they can enforce the law. So what advice
would you give me about whether I should believe that we are
going to finally start enforcing the law?
Ms. Wood. Well, I wouldn't be surprised if your confidence
level is low, given kind of, you know, the history of problems.
But I would say that the opposite of doing something is not
that we will be in a perfect system. The opposite, you know,
waiting around here, it is, you know, we are not fixing this
problem magically now. And so I think that is the compelling
reason to look, can we get a meaningful trigger? Can we do
something? Can we try to create a better system.
But what we have is I think everybody on both sides of the
aisle agree the system is broken, and so we have to see, can we
do something that is meaningful?
And I think, you know, Congress can make a big difference
by having a trigger that is as meaningful as possible and then
by putting as much as we can in the law to make things for a
better day. But if a law doesn't change, if a law doesn't pass,
you know, the next head of ICE is going to come up here and
say, the system is broken; we don't have enough people; there
is still a lot--you know, problems will continue.
Mr. Crane. It is funny you ask me that question, sir,
because I am actually going to be up here next week, and I
intended to come up and ask you folks, how do you put something
into our legislation that, you know, will guarantee that we are
actually going to be able to enforce the laws, because, I mean,
you are talking to somebody right now that we filed a lawsuit
to try to be able to do our job. So my confidence level right
now, at least with the Administration, is zero that we are
going to be able do our jobs now or in the future. So I am very
interested in hearing what Congressmen have to say about how do
we--something has to change. Something different has to be done
Mr. DeSantis. Great.
Ms. Vaughn, I hear the term there is 11 million people who
are in the country illegally, without documents, depending on
which side of the aisle you are on, I guess you say. But where
does that figure come from? How much confidence do you have in
it? Is it possible that there are many million more? Is it
possible that there are some less? Just can you give me a
little bit of background on the number, because I have noticed
since I have been in Congress that people repeat things over
and over again, and it just kind of--you know, then you just
stop questioning it, oh, yeah, this or that. So can you speak
Ms. Vaughan. I think there actually is a fair amount of
consensus around the number. The number we are using now is
11.5 million. The way our staff demographer, our director of
research, Steven Camarota, calculates that is to use Census
Bureau data to count the number of people who are here and
subtract from that and adjust for mortality and return
migration, subtract the number of people that we know came here
legally, because we do have good information on that. And, you
know, it is basically a very complicated subtraction problem.
And actually, our figures are very close to what the
Department of Homeland Security has and also the Pew Hispanic
Center. So we feel very confident that that is a pretty
There is no exact count, because, you know, our--but we
have found that most people who are here illegally do fill out
a census form, and we do adjust for undercounts as well.
Mr. DeSantis. My final question is just I know in 2006 when
this was debated, I think the Congressional Budget Office came
out with an estimate that said, actually, it would be
beneficial for the economy to do some type of legalization.
Now, obviously, we have a different social welfare system,
because we have this new healthcare law that is going to be
kicking in. So what is your organization's position on the
costs that this would mean for taxpayers if you went forward
with a comprehensive plan that resulted in essentially instant
Ms. Vaughan. If we move forward with the kind of
comprehensive reform package that has been proposed, the two
different proposals this week, it would be enormously costly,
because the people who would be legalized are people who have
not had full access to our social welfare system, face pretty
modest chances of being able to improve their earnings because
of their education levels, and so they are not likely to be
able to contribute enough in taxes to cover what they would be
using in the way of social services. And we don't have--we are
thinking, you know, tens of billions of dollars a year
additional if we were to legalize the entire population, as has
Mr. DeSantis. Thank you.
Mr. Bachus. Thank you.
Ms. Vaughn, I was reading your testimony, and it says that
ICE, Mr. Crane's agency, had arrested 27,600 gang members in
the past 8 years.
Does that sound about right to you, Mr. Crane?
Mr. Crane. That might be what they have stats on, but I
would say that it is probably far higher than that. We have all
kinds of folks that we encounter in jails and prisons, and you
know, they don't make any admissions of gang affiliations.
Mr. Bachus. And these are illegal immigrants, I guess. Is
Mr. Crane. Yes, sir.
Mr. Bachus. So we have 11 million, 11 and a half million
immigrants, and more than 27,000 of them have been arrested for
being gang members?
Ms. Vaughan. Yes. Not all of them are illegal immigrants.
Some of them are people that we have given green cards to, but
they are still removable. Some of them are people who have
temporary protected status, for example. It is a serious----
Mr. Bachus. But non-citizens?
Ms. Vaughan. Yes.
Mr. Bachus. Okay. I noticed, and I was doing some
calculation, I bumped it up when you went from 11 million to
11.5 million, but taking 11.5 million, that is 3.4/3.5 percent
of our population, or maybe let's just round it up to 3.5
percent of our population, yet the U.S. Sentencing Commission,
this is on page 2 of your testimony, 64 percent of the
kidnappers convicted in Federal court were non-citizens. So you
are talking about--and let's just say that for every illegal
immigrant, there is a non-citizen that is here legally,
although we know that that figure is more somewhere closer to 5
or 6 million, I think. Right? Maybe 10?
Ms. Vaughan. The legal immigrant population is more like, I
Mr. Bachus. Okay. That is both, legal and illegal?
Ms. Vaughan. No. It is 30-some, about 35 million combined,
Mr. Bachus. And that--but that includes naturalized
citizens, does it not? I think that is foreign born.
Ms. Vaughan. That is foreign born.
Mr. Bachus. Yeah. So you have to take--you have to back out
a third of that, so just say 3.5 and 3.57 percent. Now, that
includes illegal and legal residents who have not been
naturalized citizens, yet 31 percent of drug traffickers in
Federal court are in that 6 percent or 7 percent, which is a
pretty high number; 34 percent of all money laundering cases.
You have 6 percent of the population, 7 percent, and yet 64
percent of the kidnappers, 34 percent of the money laundering,
31 percent of the drug traffickers prosecuted in Federal court
come from that population.
So, you know, when we talk about giving citizenship to 11
million non--illegal immigrants, we are talking about a lot of
people who have been convicted--I mean, not the majority, not
even a large percentage of the minority--but you are talking
about a good number of people that have committed felonies.
Now, Mr. Crane, is that correct? Am I correct there?
Ms. Vaughan. That is what the U.S. Sentencing Commission
has on its Web site, so I have pretty good confidence in that.
Mr. Bachus. So that is according to the U.S. Government
I noticed that, Mr. Crane--and this is really disturbing,
and I really empathize with you. I mean, I can't imagine what
it is like, but the two main laws that you are supposed to
enforce are people being here illegally or overstaying their
visa, but your testimony is that ICE policy is that you can't
arrest someone for being here illegally? Is that correct?
Mr. Crane. Yes, sir. And it is pretty clear, if you look at
the December 21st, 2012, detainer policy that ICE just put out,
it specifically says, you know, one, they are illegally in the
United States and, two, they did one of the following, and it
starts going through a laundry list of----
Mr. Bachus. Serious felonies?
Mr. Crane. Yeah. Felonies, serious misdemeanors. Excludes
many other insignificant misdemeanors, which none of us really
know what that means, but the bottom line is that, you know,
you cannot simply arrest someone, even in a jail, for being a
visa overstay or illegal entry, unless they have done
something, committed a felony.
Mr. Bachus. So the 3 percent that were actually deported,
according to the Administration, would have been those 3
percent who committed a felony or committed at least a DUI,
leaving the scene of an accident? Not just traffic--you know,
reckless driving doesn't--you can't convict them for that. You
can't convict them of being in an automobile accident causing
injury, unless they leave the scene. Is that correct?
Mr. Crane. Well, I would have to check on all the math,
sir, but one thing that I have been thinking about as you have
had this discussion is that I don't remember what exactly the
President put out this year in terms of number of convicted
criminals that were part of these numbers that we had this
year, but they are extremely high.
I am sorry.
Mr. Chishti. Close to 50 percent.
Mr. Crane. No. I mean an actual number, not a percentage.
Mr. Chishti. About 200,000, less than.
Ms. Vaughan. About 170,000-some.
Mr. Crane. About 170,000-some odd people. And with the
handful of folks, like Ms. Myers was testifying, we have States
where we have two ICE agents in the whole State. Do you think
we are getting all these jails covered? Absolutely we are not.
And, you know, so I think the numbers of criminals are far
higher in general probably than just the really bad offenders
that you are citing.
Mr. Bachus. And in your testimony, you cite several
examples of ICE agents who have arrested people for
misdemeanors or detained illegal immigrants as they came out of
a courtroom, and the ICE agent, the--it goes up to the office
or the higher-ups, and you get an order to dismiss that person
and release him, and also you are--they are disciplined. Right?
Mr. Crane. Yes, sir. I mean, obviously, in one of the cases
that we had in Delaware, that is exactly what happened. You
know, the officer encountered an individual that was driving
without a driver's license, had been convicted of that
repeatedly, was getting in a vehicle in their presence getting
ready to do it again. They said, hey, this guy is a public
threat. We are at least going to take him down to the office
and issue an NTA, at which time, you know, the officer was
told, no, you will not issue an NTA, you will just release him.
And when he attempted to issue the NTA, he was given a proposed
suspension of 3 days.
Mr. Bachus. And I noticed that he was also told that if he
received a second offense, he would lose his job.
Mr. Crane. Well, I don't know, sir, that he was told that.
Mr. Bachus. It would likely result.
Mr. Crane. Yeah. That is the standard procedure, that, you
know, once you commit an offense, and they basically, you know,
say that you did it and issue a suspension, the next time you
do it, you are going to have either, you know, a higher
suspension or removal. You are only going to get two or three
shots at that, and you are going to lose your job.
Mr. Bachus. And that agent had been with the ICE for 18
years and was a 5-year military veteran?
Mr. Crane. He was actually, I believe, 11 years at the U.S.
Border Patrol and came over to the ICE for his total of 18
years of Federal law enforcement experience. So he is
definitely a vet on the immigration side as well as the 5 years
of military service, yes.
Mr. Bachus. All right. Thank you.
I would ask every Member to please read this testimony
and--I am sorry. I am going to yield to the Chairman.
Mr. Goodlatte [presiding]. I thank the gentleman.
And I can work from here.
I want to ask all the panelists one last question. I want
to thank you for your great contribution. We have talked about
what happened in 1986. We have talked about the problems that
we are experiencing right now in getting clear guidance from
the Administration about enforcing the law or we are getting
clear guidance that, in many instances, we are not allowed to
enforce the existing laws, and I know that frustrates a great
many American people.
If we were to do so-called comprehensive immigration
reform, we are going to have to address this component of it.
We did it in 1986. It was not enforced, with regard to the
employer sanctions, at least not in a significant comprehensive
way, and so I think a lot of people would say, Fool me once,
shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Why should this Committee, why should this Congress pass
comprehensive immigration reform without having the assurance
that somehow these laws will be enforced? And what would that
assurance be that we could write into the law that we would
know that it wouldn't be in the hands of one individual to
decide to suspend an entire area of enforcement of the law, as
is being challenged by the lawsuit of Mr. Crane and his
associates? And I commend them for doing that. What could we
put into this law that would give comfort to American citizens
that if we attempt to solve this problem this time, it will
indeed be mostly, if not completely, solved? And we will start
with you, Ms. Wood.
Ms. Wood. I get the easy question at the end?
Mr. Goodlatte. All of you are going to get this question.
Ms. Wood. I mean, I think Congress should attempt this
because it is the right thing to do, because our system has
been broken for far too long, and we are not--we are kind of
not managing it, and I think we need a kind of reset where we
are to move forward in a productive enforcement manner.
What I would suggest is to look honestly at what the
agencies need to be equipped in terms to really enforce, so
that on day 1, when the first person comes in the country and
overstays a visa is 1 day late or is not eligible for
adjustment, day 1, we are able to identify that person and send
the person home.
And so I think that means resources in terms of manpower
for all the agencies. I think that means technology, a better
employer verification system, a better entry-exit, you know,
better technology. And then look and say, you know, can we do
it? With 17,000 kind of people at ICE and a problem of 11
million individuals illegally in the country, I will tell you,
we can't do it. Right? The numbers just don't stack up. So how
can we make the numbers actually work. And maybe that would
mean kind of, you know, an intensive surge, a border surge,
kind of for an initial time on the resources, and then it could
kind of peter out as we move forward.
And then I think we need to look at the inefficiencies in
our system. You know, it is ridiculous that people can tie up
court hearings for years and years and years just to determine
whether or not they are in the country illegally. Right? You
know, so we need to see can we make systems move through the
courts more quickly, expand expedited removal, voluntary
returns and things of that nature.
And then, finally, I think we should look at, you know, the
fundamental fairness of our system. I think part of the problem
we have now is that people feel, rightly or wrongly, that our
system is unfair to them, because they have built up equities,
or they came here when they were 2 or something else. And so
how is our system fair? Are we treating everyone fairly? And,
you know, I think that would be something that we could----
Mr. Goodlatte. Okay. But what I am really getting at is, I
don't like a system where one individual can say, the President
of the United States can say, we are not going to enforce this
law. And maybe we will win this lawsuit and make it clear that
the President doesn't have the authority to do that, but I am
looking for ideas that would go into a bill to do that.
Ms. Wood. Cut the funding. Say, if, you know, you could tie
the funding if certain things weren't done, then certain
funding streams are cut off. I will tell you that that has been
very effective for ICE, I know personally, you know, in a
certain number of areas including, you know, making sure that
they are filling the number of detention beds. So I think tying
certain things to funding streams, funding streams that the
Executive Office of the President or other places care about, I
think would be a way to make sure that you are actually meeting
some of the triggers, but it is very hard, so hopefully the
other panelists may have some other ideas on that front.
Mr. Goodlatte. Mr. Crane.
Mr. Crane. Well, I don't know how good my ideas are on
this, because I have always been baffled, quite frankly, just
as a U.S. citizen to see that the President of the United
States has the ability to control these agencies in this way. I
mean, once they appoint the director of the agency, they seem
like they have sole control, and when we come and we talk to
Members of Congress, you know, they seem like there is nothing
that they can do. And so, like I said, as just a citizen, it is
kind of baffling to me.
So if there is a way that Congress--like you said, that one
person doesn't have the sole power--I mean, ICE is getting a
budget of about $6 billion a year, and once that President gets
that appointee confirmed, then that agency and that $6 billion
and everything that goes with it seems to be under the control
of the President. And I just--to me, I just think that is
fundamentally wrong, and I don't think it matches up with our
So I don't know, sir. If there is a way that Congress,
Members of Congress could be more involved in it, we would
certainly welcome that, because there are a lot of problems
within these agencies, not just this immigration enforcement
Mr. Goodlatte. I think it is one of the keys, one of just a
very few central keys to figuring out how to do this
legislation. So if you have further ideas, please feel free to
share them with us.
Ms. Vaughan. I think it is critically important that
Congress reassert its authority, its constitutional authority
to make immigration laws. I don't think that there is one
single trigger that is possible to ask for that will set in
motion the kind of comprehensive immigration reform that has
been talked about.
I think that package, what is known as CIR, is a bad idea
for many reasons. Number one, it is going to inspire more
illegal immigration. It is costly. It is going to distort the
What we need to do first is establish a sustained period of
control and integrity in the systems that we have, including
our legal immigration system and also start consolidating some
of our legal immigration categories, so that, you know, we are
not offering more opportunities for legal immigration than we
can actually fulfill, all those backlogs that people have
talked about. But I don't think we--to repeat an expression
that came earlier today, we shouldn't just throw up our hands.
I think what is important is, you know, I see the vast
disparity of views on this issue that are represented on this
Committee, and I think what needs to happen is to take smaller
steps, at such point as we all have confidence in the system or
at least more confidence, start small, look for the areas of
consensus, like perhaps skilled immigration, looking at it in a
small way, the illegal aliens, younger illegal aliens, who were
brought here by their parents and have grown up here. Bite off
what Congress can chew, start with confidence-building
measures, and do it slowly and in a meaningful way. After all,
that is how it has happened over the last 20 years. I mean, I
cut my teeth on the Immigration Act of 1990, when the skills
issue was addressed. There were more reforms that came in 1996
and, you know, every few years. It doesn't have to be done all
at once. In fact, it is a mistake to do it that way.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you.
Mr. Chishti. Thank you very much for letting me be the last
speaker on this.
I mean, I think, first of all, you should congratulate
yourselves. I mean, I don't think Congress has reneged its
responsibility in this area. The fact that we have had this
robust enforcement machinery built has a lot to do with
congressional appropriations over the last many years,
especially since 9/11. That is the--I think the staffing and
the resources was critical to the development of this robust
machinery, which was lacking, I think, in the prior years. So
something really has worked here, and we should celebrate that.
I think we are a pragmatic people. A defining
characteristic of the country is a pragmatic country. We have
to accept reality. The reality is these are 11 million people
in our midst. Why we go here, we can all debate that, but that
is the reality today. It is not in our interests to keep
perpetuating that bad reality.
Mr. Goodlatte. Well, if we accept that premise, we also
have to address, do we want another 11 million.
Mr. Chishti. Exactly. I will get to that.
Mr. Goodlatte. Well, we only have another minute.
Mr. Chishti. That is right. So we want to make sure we
clean this slate, because having so many people in the
underclass does not help U.S. workers, does not help economic
interest, moral interest, all that.
Now, what we should not get here again is lessons from
1986. And this is where, unfortunately, the comprehensive
nature of this approach is important. Just look at the E-
Verify, which you are quite committed to. The E-Verify will
never be a successful program if there are 11 million people
who are unauthorized to work. E-Verify will never be a
successful program if we don't allow for future flows of lawful
workers. That is why I think exactly is the argument that it
only works when we do these things together, and that is the
lesson of IRCA and that is why we didn't do IRCA well.
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you very much.
I want to thank all of the panelists for their
contributions today. This has been a long day but a good day in
terms of gathering information that we will benefit from as the
Committee continues to address the issue of immigration reform
and fixing our broken immigration system.
This concludes today's hearing. And thanks to all of our
witnesses for attending.
Without objection, all Members will have 5 legislative days
to submit additional written questions for the witnesses or
additional materials for the record.
And this hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:40 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Supplemental Material submitted by Michael S. Teitelbaum, Senior
Advisor, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Wertheim Fellow, Harvard Law