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MYTH vs. FACT: Security Triggers
MYTH: There are no real security triggers in the legislation. Illegal immigrants will ultimately get access to green cards regardless of border security and enforcement.
FACT: After 10 years, there are six security trigger steps that must be met before any currently illegal immigrant is given access to a green card. If any of these triggers are not achieved, no person currently here without documentation will be granted a green card. For example: If e-verify is not implemented for 20 years, then it will be 20 years before any current illegal immigrant could have access to a green card.
The six steps are as follows:
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must create, fund, and begin a border security plan within six months.
- DHS must create, fund, and begin a border fence plan within six months.
- DHS must achieve 100% awareness and 90% success in apprehending those trying to cross the border in high-risk sectors of Mexican border within 5 years.
- If DHS fails to achieve step three, a Border Commission made up of border-state governors and officials is created and charged with implementing a plan to successfully achieve 100% awareness and 90% success in apprehending those trying to cross the border in high-risk sectors of Mexican border.
- A universal E-Verify system must be implemented within 10 years.
- A visa-exit system must be implemented for all international airports and seaports within 10 years.
Reporting on the six security trigger steps:
- “[The bill contains the] toughest immigration enforcement measures in the history of the United States. … But according to the details of the proposal, they would not be able to apply for green cards and start the citizenship process until several border security and enforcement conditions are in place. Those include finishing most of the border security fence, implementing a mandatory worker verification system and developing a process that identifies each time an immigrant enters and exits the country. Once those parameters are met, immigrants who had been in the country for at least 10 years would be able to apply for green cards provided they paid all their back taxes, held steady employment and demonstrated a working knowledge of English.” (Franco Ordonez, “Details of immigration bill: more focus on workers, less on families,” McClatchy, 4/16/13)
- “At Republicans’ insistence, the proposal mandates that border security must be improved before undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. can start down a citizenship path. Before immigrants can obtain provisional status, the Department of Homeland Security must submit to Congress a plan for securing high-risk sectors along the U.S.-Mexico border as well as a separate plan for improving fencing and other infrastructure. Those plans must be implemented, an electronic verification system for employers to determine whether a prospective employee is authorized to work in the U.S. must be deployed and an electronic entry-exit system must be established at U.S. ports of entry before any undocumented person can apply for a green card.” (Kathleen Hunter, “Senate Immigration Bill Pairs Security with Visas,” Bloomberg, 4/16/13)
- “According to a policy backgrounder distributed to members of the media last night (regarding the imminent immigration reform legislation), six security triggers would have to be achieved before any green cards could be awarded. … None of these triggers, in and of themselves, will solve the problem. Collectively, though — over the course of ten years — this is a huge step toward fixing immigration reform concerns.” (Matt Lewis, “Immigration Reform Outline: Six Security Triggers Required Before Green Cards Issued,” Daily Caller, 4/16/13)
- “Maybe Republican senators are better negotiators than their Democratic counterparts … the bipartisan immigration reform tips rather significantly in favor of conservatives — at least those who aren’t opposed to any legislation. … Critics of any immigration reform may argue that the pre-green card legalization (‘registered provisional’ status) doesn’t require all that, ‘only’ a criminal background check, fine and payment of back taxes. But understand these people are here now, with no real threat (or ability on the U.S. government’s part) of sending them ‘home.’ … In essence, if you accept that you have to start somewhere and we have no capability to uproot 11 million people, this is a very conservative-friendly plan. No wonder immigrant-advocacy groups are complaining that the path is too difficult.” (Jennifer Rubin, “Immigration Goodies for Conservatives,” WaPo, 4/16/13)
- “[The bill] also mandates a series of rigorous enforcement measures, including at least $3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to fortify border surveillance and apprehensions. The department will have six months to present a plan to begin securing the border and identify where more border fencing might be required. No immigrants would be allowed to apply for ‘registered provisional immigrant’ legal status — which would allow them to live and work here legally, as well as travel outside the country — until both plans are complete.” (Ashley Parker, “Immigration Overhaul Proposal Is Likely to Ignite Fierce Debate,” The New York Times, 4/16/13)
- “In addition, billions of dollars would be invested in new border-control measures, including surveillance drones, security fencing and 3,500 additional federal agents charged with apprehending people attempting to enter illegally from Mexico. … The senators say the bill will require the government to implement strict new border-control measures — including up to $7 billion in new surveillance drones, fencing, border guards and workplace tracking systems — before the undocumented immigrants are granted green cards. The bill stipulates that the government must surveil 100 percent of the border and apprehend 90 percent of the people trying to enter illegally in high-risk sectors.” (David Nakamura, “Senators To Release Immigration Plan, Including a Path to Citizenship,” WaPo, 4/16/13)
- “Homeland Security would then face a big test five years after starting its border security program. The agency will have to prove that it is monitoring 100% of the border, and intercepting 90% of people trying to illegally cross it in ‘high-risk’ areas. If Homeland Security doesn’t reach those goals, the job would be handed over to a newly-created “Southern Border Security Commission” made up of governors from the four border states – California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas – and other border experts appointed by the president and leaders of both parties of Congress. The commission would receive an additional $2 billion to develop and implement a strategy to reach those goals.” (Alan Gomez, “Senate Immigration Bill Offers Status, Boosts Borders,” USA Today, 4/16/13)
- “The pathway to legalization and citizenship hinges on the government achieving a series of border-security benchmarks. Within six months of the bill’s passage, the Homeland Security secretary would need to submit two separate plans to Congress — one to achieve and maintain effective control of all high-risk areas along the southern border, and another for additional border fencing. The bill would appropriate $4.5 billion for these efforts, including additional border patrol and customs agents, surveillance systems and unmanned aerial systems. Immigrants wouldn’t be able to seek permanent legal residence until the Homeland Security secretary submits the plans to Congress and both are substantially completed, and the implementation of a mandatory verification system for employers to check their workers’ immigration status and an electronic exit system at air and sea ports of entry to track visa holders. If border agents aren’t reaching a 90 percent apprehension rate in high-risk areas by the fifth year, the bill calls for the establishment of a commission composed of four border state governors and an additional $2 billion in appropriations.” (Manu Raju, Carrie Budoff Brown and Anna Palmer, “Immigration Ready for Debut,” Politico, 4/15/13)