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Richard Blumenthal on Immigration

 

 


Enact comprehensive solution; piecemeal approach fails

Q: What is your stand on the current debate surrounding the immigration issue?

BLUMENTHAL: We need to establish a comprehensive, federal solution to our ongoing immigration problem. We must secure our borders, and crack down on employers flouting the law by hiring undocumented immigrants. Piecemeal approaches to fixing this problem by various states are not the answer--Washington must fulfill its responsibility by enacting a comprehensive solution.

McMAHON: I oppose amnesty. I support legal immigration and I believe much of this country's strength and prosperity has come as a result of the immense contributions immigrants have made. We have historically welcomed the best workers and the best minds from every country, and I believe we should continue to do so provided it is done legally. We are a nation built on the rule of law, and immigration laws--like all laws--must be enforced.

Source: Connecticut Jewish Ledger coverage of 2010 CT Senate debate , Sep 29, 2010

Crack down on employers of illegal immigrants

Q: Do you think the state should be cracking down on companies that hire illegal aliens?

A: The federal government has the responsibility for immigration reform and the states have the responsibility for enforcing the labor laws. And both of them should crack down on exploitation of people and hiring of illegal immigrants.

Q: So a restaurant that hires illegal aliens, should the state go after them?

A: Well, the state doesn't have the enforcement responsibility at the present time. They would have to train the state police and divert them for that purpose. And that would be a decision made by the governor, not by me as a US Senator. But if there is any evidence that a business is hiring an illegal alien, there should be investigative steps, whether by state or federal authorities, and there should be a prosecution of the employers.

Source: Interview on WFSB TV-3 "Face the State" , Jul 21, 2010

Comprehensive reform, to avoid patchwork of state laws

The leading Democrat, Richard Blumenthal, carefully avoids the hot-button term "amnesty" in his campaign position, which calls for comprehensive reform and requiring illegal immigrants to jump through all kinds of hoops - including paying back taxes and fines - to gain citizenship. Blumenthal says federal reform is essential to avoid a "patchwork of individual state laws" like Arizona's.
Source: Gregory Hladky in the New Haven Advocate , May 4, 2010

Welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees now, and more later.

Blumenthal co-sponsored S.R.268

Senate Resolution 268 recognizes:

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Rep. Ross introductory remarks to opposing bill H.R.4025) "This legislation prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to admit Syrian refugees to the United States. ISIS carried out a series of violent attacks in Paris, and reports have indicated at least one of the terrorists who committed these atrocities entered Europe by posing as a refugee fleeing Syria. These horrific attacks provide a warning of what can happen on American soil if we do not take appropriate and immediate action. Reliable intelligence about refugees from countries like Syria attempting to enter the United States is clearly unavailable. More than half of our country's governors have taken immediate action to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in their states. Our own intelligence community has expressed concerns about our capabilities to identify threats. The federal government has no greater responsibility than keeping Americans safe."

Source: Senate Resolution proposed by 8 Senators 15-SR268 on Sep 24, 2015

Provide lawyers and evidence for children being deported.

Blumenthal co-sponsored S.2540/H.R.4646

This bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint or provide counsel at government expense to aliens in removal proceedings.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall provide an alien in removal proceedings with all relevant documents in its possession, unless the alien has knowingly waived the right to such documents.
  • DOJ may appoint or provide counsel to aliens in any INA proceeding.
  • DHS shall ensure that aliens have access to counsel inside all immigration detention and border facilities.
  • DOJ shall appoint counsel, at government expense if necessary, for an unaccompanied alien child or a particularly vulnerable individual.
  • DHS shall establish a pilot program to increase the court appearance rates of unaccompanied alien children and particularly vulnerable individuals by contracting with nongovernmental, community-based organizations to provide such aliens with case management services.
    Source: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act 16-S2540 on Feb 11, 2016

    Terminate national emergency at the Southern border.

    Blumenthal voted YEA Joint Resolution on Proclamation 9844

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 is hereby terminated.

    Proclamation 9844 issued by the president on Feb. 15, 2019: Declares a state of national emergency at the southern border to address the issues of illegal immigration and criminal trafficking into the US: "The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency. The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics. The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch's exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years. Because of the gravity of the current emergency situation, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis."

    Opposing the Proclamation (supporting the Resolution), ACLU press release, 2/15/2019 The ACLU issued the following statement upon filing a lawsuit: "By the president's very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall 'faster.' This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy."

    Legislative outcome Passed House 245-182-5 roll #94 on Feb. 26; pass Senate 59-41 roll #49 on March 14; Vetoed by Pres. Trump; veto override failed, 248-181-3 (2/3 required), roll #127 on March 26

    Source: Congressional vote 19-HJR46 on Feb 26, 2019

    Increase both high-skill and family-based visa caps.

    Blumenthal co-sponsored the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act

    Legislative Summary:This bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China. The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.

    Explanation from the Countable.US: Under the current immigration system, immigrants from any one country can claim no more than 7% of the 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually to foreign nationals working in the U.S. This significantly disadvantages immigrants from larger countries that more immigrants come from.

    For example, China (population 1.3 billion) and India have large backlogs of workers wishing to immigrate to and work in the U.S., but they have the name visa caps as countries such as Iceland or Estonia (population 1.3 million), which have both much smaller populations and far fewer citizens seeking to immigrate to the U.S.

    The net effect of this is that immigrants from India and China can face decades-long waits, averaging 2-3 times the wait times for immigrants from other countries, for green cards, and many have to return home because they can't get permanent residency; meanwhile, countries such as Iceland and Estonia never come close to reaching their visa limit caps.

    Legislative outcome Roll call 437 in House on 7/10/2019 passed 365-65-2; referred to Committee in Senate 7/9/2019; no action as of 1/1/2020.

    Source: S.386/H.R.1044 19-HR1044 on Feb 7, 2019

    Sponsored bill to disallow religion-based immigration ban.

    Blumenthal co-sponsored NO BAN Act

    The National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants Act (NO BAN Act) imposes limitations on the President's authority to suspend or restrict aliens from entering the US. It also prohibits religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions, such as issuing a visa. The President may temporarily restrict the entry of any class of aliens after determining that the restriction would address specific and credible facts that threaten U.S. interests such as security or public safety.

    GovTrack.us analysis (4/21/21): President Donald Trump instituted a travel ban on eight countries: Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The Supreme Court upheld the travel ban 5-4 in the 2018 decision Trump v. Hawaii. Trump's travel ban was popularly nicknamed "the Muslim ban" by its Democratic critics since most of the countries it applied to were majority Muslim, and because Trump as a 2016 candidate had indeed proposed a Muslim ban. Regardless, President Joe Biden rescinded the policy on his first day in office. Currently, federal law bans any person from being discriminated against when entering the U.S. on the basis of five characteristics: race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence. The NO BAN Act would add another category: religion.

    Rep. Tom McClintock in OPPOSITION: President Trump invoked this authority against countries that were hotbeds of international terrorism and that were not cooperating with the US in providing basic information about travelers coming from these countries. The left called it a 'Muslim ban.' What nonsense. Without this authority, the president would have been powerless to take simple, prudent precautions against terrorists and criminals from entering the US.

    Legislative Outcome: Passed House 218-208-3 on April 21, 2021, rollcall #127; introduced in Senate with 42 co-sponsors but no further Senate action during 2021.

    Source: H.R.1333/S.1891 21-HR1333 on Feb 25, 2021

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