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The Conservative path to immigration reform

| Monday, September 26, 2016

Across the political spectrum, public figures frequently refer to the U.S. as a “nation of immigrants.” To some extent, this is almost certainly true: American history is inseparably linked to the experiences and achievements of American immigrants.

Even today, the U.S. remains the world’s most popular destination for immigration, attracting about 20 percent of the world’s international migrants. The inflow of foreign students, scientists and engineers has been a key factor that has enabled the U.S. to maintain its competitive edge in research and development.

However, to suggest that because the U.S. is a nation of immigrants, it should not defend its borders from illegal immigration is idiotic and dangerously naive. The U.S. is a sovereign nation with the means of facilitating safe and lawful migration. It is a nation of immigrants, but also a nation of laws, and there is no reason to believe these concepts are mutually exclusive.

As a first generation immigrant to the United States, the issue of immigration is one I care deeply about. My family immigrated to this country when I was 13 years old — we did so legally. American tech companies like Microsoft, my father’s employer, provide over 85,000 H-1B visas each year, and they are in high demand. Employment-based visas like these attract highly skilled individuals to come and work in the U.S., and many become American citizens. These individuals immigrate legally, usually retain well-paid jobs, purchase goods, pay taxes and peacefully assimilate into the “melting pot” of American culture.

America is a free-market society, and labor is an essential part of that market. The role of government is to facilitate this movement of labor in a way that benefits the national economy and keeps America safe. Americans of all backgrounds, including most legal immigrants, just want to see immigration law enforced in a manner that is firm but fair. Before Congress can address the issue of amnesty or the limits of employment-based immigration, it must ensure that the border is secure, and that the executive branch is willing to enforce the law.

In 2014, an enormous surge of illegal immigrants, including thousands of unaccompanied children, flooded across the U.S. southern border. This crisis triggered a Senate inquiry into Homeland Security and its ability to assist and apprehend aliens at the border. A report from the GAO found that just 44 percent of the border was under “operational control.” State and local law enforcement officers were legally prohibited from making arrests or providing meaningful assistance to federal agents. Due to the limited capacity of detention facilities, roughly 41,000 immigrants arrested crossing the border were released into the U.S. pending immigration hearings. Unsurprisingly, almost 70 percent of these individuals never showed up for their hearings.

In the aftermath of the 2014 crisis, President Obama announced he would take action to “make our immigration system more fair and more just.” Instead of addressing border security concerns, the President issued a series of executive orders, effectively shielding up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation. As you might expect, this announcement infuriated Republican lawmakers and triggered an avalanche of public outrage. In response, the President employed the concept of “prosecutorial discretion,” arguing that the executive branch has the power to prosecute criminals as it sees fit.

Since 2010, executive directives have made entire categories of illegal immigrants exempt from deportation, even in cases where aliens are charged with or convicted of crimes. According to the Department’s own data, federal agents declined to deport 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013 alone. These convictions included everything from traffic violations to sexual assault and even homicide.

As the nation’s chief executive, President Obama should be held accountable for the failures of federal agents to detain illegal immigrants and deport criminal ones. President Obama’s executive amnesty policies and failure to enforce existing immigration laws have demonstrated not only his unwillingness to work with Republicans, but his blatant disregard for the constitutional limitations of his office. No matter how frustrated a president becomes with Congress, he does not have the authority to circumvent the elected representatives of the people. The power of the President is limited to faithfully executing the law, not unilaterally creating it.

The issue of immigration has become increasingly polarized, dividing Americans between political extremes like categorical amnesty and radical protectionism. Neither of these approaches will ensure U.S. security while still allowing for the economic benefits of legal immigration. A wall is not enough. Amnesty is not enough.

What this country needs is a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that includes both conservative and liberal ideas. The first step on this path must begin with the President, and his constitutional duty to administer the law with fidelity and objectivity. Only then can the legislative branch begin to debate and reform the immigration and naturalization system.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Liam Stewart

Liam Stewart is a Sophomore in the College of Arts and Letters, majoring in political science. Liam was born and raised in the beautiful Irish city of Dublin, although he has been proud to call Seattle home for the past six years. He enjoys country music, hardback books and binge-watching TV shows. He can be reached at lstewar4@nd.edu

Contact Liam
  • noh1bvisas

    “America is a free-market society, and labor is an essential part of that market.”
    that was the same argument used to justify slavery and child-labor.

    • Brendan

      I’m very confused by this. Are you trying to argue that these phrases have been used poorly in the past and therefore cannot be used in an unrelated discussion?

      • noh1bvisas

        how is it unrelated? the h1b is about cheap labor. so was slavery and child labor.

        • Brendan

          I would dispute that cheap labor is the purpose (more common uses would be Indian Doctors, Israeli Tech, etc), but I’m primarily complaining about the fallacy that any argument can be dismissed merely because of poor past use.

          • noh1bvisas

            dispute it all you want. you’re still wrong. over 80% of h1b visas go to india-based IT bodyshops.

          • John80224

            Those are also-ran categories of the H-1B. Offshore outsourcing uses more of the H-1B than all other corporate users combined.

  • noh1bvisas

    “American tech companies like Microsoft, my father’s employer, provide over 85,000 H-1B visas each year, and they are in high demand. Employment-based visas like these attract highly skilled individuals to come and work in the U.S., and many become American citizens. These individuals immigrate legally, usually retain well-paid jobs, purchase goods, pay taxes and peacefully assimilate into the “melting pot” of American culture.”
    microsoft is 11th down the list of h1b visa users with 3,750 visas.
    over 80% of h1b visas go to india-based bodyshops. http://www.myvisajobs.com/Reports/2015-H1B-Visa-Sponsor.aspx
    less than 1% of h1bs go on to become US citizens.

    • H1B Sponsoree

      The only reason the % that go on to become US citizens is so low is because the US government makes it incredibly difficult to do so. Years on a H1B visa do not count toward residency or citizenship requirements. Essentially, the only way to do it is to have a child or marry a US citizen.

      • maraba3

        The H-1B system needs a MAJOR uprage to only allow top-quality people; not IT admins, low-quality so-called engineers or through various scams.

      • noh1bvisas

        no, the reason is there are 100s of thousands waiting in line for an h1b. h1bs are replaceable. there is no need to go to the cost and trouble of sponsoring a green card.

    • AllPoliticiansAreCrook

      what do you have to support your claim for 1% h1b go on to become US citizens? all you got blatant lies.
      for another of your point some of the biggest users of H1B are American companies like, IBM, Accenture, Deloitte, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Intel, Cognizant, Ernst & Young, Amazon, Qualcomm, Apple, JP Morgan, Oracle besides Indian headquartered companies with a global presence.
      what is wrong with it? I agree we should address visa abuse but H1B is a vital program for lots of American companies to innovate and stay competitive.
      at 85000 a year in country of 320 millions is minuscule. Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, France etc. big developing countries with fraction of US population have more work visas (more work permits per million of population).

      • noh1bvisas

        what is wrong with replacing americans with foreign guest workers? you’re too retarded to understand the answer.

  • noh1bvisas

    the h1b is a NON-IMMIGRANT guest worker visa. please call it what it is. it is used mainly to replace american workers with cheap, foreign labor.

    • H1B Sponsoree

      False, the H1B visa is expensive and employers are required to pay for it out of pocket. The person receiving the visa cannot pay the cost in any way. The H1B visa is primarily used to hire workers with skills that American workers do not have. No employer is paying the enormous cost of the visa for “cheap, foreign labor”. They pay for high-skilled workers. I know this because I am one. And by the way, even when you’re sponsored, you have a 1 in 3 chance of receiving the visa.

      • maraba3

        “The H1B visa is primarily used to hire workers with skills that American workers do not have.” – Nonsense; it used to be that way and was meant to bring in the “best and brightest”. Unfortunately, the “STEM crisis” myth was used to import hundreds of more people, often below average to help companies lower their costs. H-1B scams are dime a dozen; I hope you read about them. If the H-1B went back to the original intent – only get the best and only to fill positions where Americans are lacking, then it may work. But I doubt anyone wanted it that way.. Sorry, no longer people believe the nonsense… As the economy slows, people are anxious and bs about worker shortage is no longer accepted.

      • John80224

        That is the theory and sometimes case. But you have no idea of the breadth and gravity of the abuse if you still cling to the visa being “primarily” used to hire skills we don’t have. You may be one of the uncommon such cases. But overall that is simply nonsense when it is primarily used by companies that bring in cheaper workers to replace more experienced workers who were JUST LAID OFF at the client companies.

      • noh1bvisas

        fact: h1bs earn 40% less than an american. there’s plenty left over to pay the small visa fees.
        just in the last week, 1000s of americans have been fired and replaced with cheap h1b labor. these were skilled workers who trained their cheap h1b replacements. stop lying.

      • maraba3

        The H-1B is indeed a NON-IMMIGRANT visa. It was meant for 3-years originally!!! Now, it is renewable for ever after a point!

        • AllPoliticiansAreCrook

          that’s false information, H1B is dual intent as well as L1. H1B is initially issued for 3 years and can be renewed for another 3 years and if an immigrant application is filed for the H1B worker it can be further renewed until the applicant gets his/her Green Card (usually between 1 and 70 years depending on the country of birth and EB filing category).

          This is not like border crosser who are almost immediately awarded refugee status or EAD on false docs through programs like DACA (and DAPA if it is implemented)

          • maraba3

            Of course, I know what it is now!!! I meant what it was originally

    • João Pedro Santos

      “They took our jobs!”

      • noh1bvisas

        now you got it, pedro stfu and get back to mowing my lawn. i’m not paying you to talk (or steal or rape or sleep).

    • AllPoliticiansAreCrook

      Its a dual intent visa. don’t spread lies if you don’t know the facts. In a country of 320 millions residents 85,000 per year is minuscule and is needed to keep american advantage in cutting edge technologies. what we need is to close the loop holes and put checks on it so that it is not being used to replace American workers but supplement them and is used where there are no qualified american is available for that job.

      • noh1bvisas

        it is NOT a dual intent visa. nor was it conceived as one. less than 1% of h1bs go on to become US citizens. stop posting crap.

  • shesaid1

    There is no STEM crisis. There is in fact a surplus of US workers for STEM:




    Watch Dan Rather’s Doc: No Thanks For Everything

    The STEM Crisis is a Myth: An Ongoing Discussion
    Throughout the month of September, we’ll provide continuing coverage and debate

    The Effects of High-Skilled Immigration Policy on Firms: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries

    H-1B Visas Do Not Create Jobs or Improve Conditions for U.S. Workers

    The immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explain how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers.



    On May 2, 2008 a civil court judge sided with the Programmers Guild in their complaint against a Pittsburgh computer consulting company and ordered it to pay $45,000 in penalties for discriminating against legal US residents by advertising only for developers on H-1B visas. The case was brought against iGate Mastech for placing an advertisement for thirty computer programmers in 2006 “that expressly favored H-1B visa holders to the exclusion of US citizens, lawful permanent citizens and other legal US workers” according to the US Department of Justice.[8]


    Obama Prepares Give-Away of White-Collar Jobs And Citizenship To Foreign Graduates


    Obama just expanded definitions of “specialized knowledge” and no rule to hire US workers first leads to even more abuse of the L1-B Visas

    Here’s where Job Brokers abuse the H1B Visas, provide fake job histories and resumes, provide bogus training:



  • shesaid1

    The Liberal Case AGAINST Illegal Immigration:


    This is the Progressive Case AGAINST Illegal Immigration:


    The Conscience Of A Liberal–Paul Krugman

    “First, the benefits of immigration to the population already here are small.
    ” But as Mr. Hanson explains in his paper, reasonable calculations suggest that we’re talking about very small numbers, perhaps as little as 0.1 percent of GDP.

    “My second negative point is that immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That’s just supply and demand…

    “Finally, the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear. ”


    Report: Obama’s Book Says Illegals Can Hurt Americans

    Didn’t anyone in the Hispanic media read Obama’s book? Or listen to when he speaks?

    Barack Obama in his own words from “The Audacity of Hope”
    – Illegal Immigration hurts Black Americans and Blue Collared Workers

    Video Not Working? I wonder why?!? Here’s an Audio Link:

  • shesaid1

    NOTE & WARNING: The links provided below contain direct quotes from Obama and his officials.

    Obama gives free pass to businesses that hire illegals
    Audits, fines drop for employers

    “President Obama took office vowing to go after unscrupulous employers who hire illegal immigrants, but worksite audits have plunged over the last year and a half, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for Immigration Studies, tumbling along with the rest of immigration enforcement.”


    The Left-Leaning LA Times posted an article that shows that the Obama administration, the Illegal Alien lobby, and the major media outlets have been in collusion to depict the “high” deportation numbers. The exact opposite is true since the beginning of the current President’s policy. Interior deportation has and will be lower than 1973 rates. This is leading towards more people overstaying their visas and currently, more Illegal Alien minors crossing the border. Obama has just recently instructed border patrol to not turn back those Illegal Aliens on record as having entered illegally as priors, but to let them pass IF they don’t have a major criminal record. After the first Illegal Entry, it is a felony each time thereafter.

    Even Obama in 2011, called the deportation numbers deceptive when talking to Hispanic voters. President Obama said statistics that show his administration is on track to deport more illegal immigrants than the Bush administration are misleading.

    “The statistics are a little deceptive,” he said Wednesday in an online discussion aimed at Hispanic voters.”

    “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero — it’s just highly unlikely to happen,” John Sandweg, until recently the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement




    Immigration Reform 2015: Obama’s Priority Enforcement Program Protects 87 Percent Of Undocumented Immigrants, Report Finds

    “The refocus in law enforcement efforts has effectively protected 9.6 million of the United States’ estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, the report found. In all, a full implementation of Obama’s changes would reduce annual deportations to approximately 25,000…”

    “The federal government’s chief deportation agency has seen its success plummet under President Obama, and its chief, Sarah R. Saldana, will tell Congress on Tuesday that they’ve had trouble adapting to the changing face of illegal immigration and a lack of cooperation from both American cities and from foreign countries.

    Ms. Saldana, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), says in testimony prepared for the House Judiciary Committee that the dramatic drop in deportations is a reflection of a trickier set of circumstances and pressures from all sides.

    She said she had to pull agents off their regular duties during last summer’s illegal immigrant surge at the border, which meant fewer people focusing on deporting the longtime illegal immigrants living in the interior of the U.S. And she said the lack of cooperation from states, counties and cities when agents ask them to hold an illegal immigrant for pickup has also hindered efforts.”

  • shesaid1

    “ICE Director Saldaña Admits Dramatic Decline in Criminal Alien Deportations

    Testifying last week before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing focused on the Obama administration’s lax interior enforcement policies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldaña admitted a dramatic decline in criminal alien deportations. ….Sessions was not satisfied, noting that her agency’s budget for deportation was increased from $2.6 billion in 2011 to $3.4 billion this year, and that the government even returned part of that allotment. (Id.) Summing up the hearing, Sessions said the decline in removals “demonstrated the failure of our system, when the one area that we were promised was going to be aggressively pursued was criminal aliens, and that is plummeting also. So there’s nothing really working effectively.”


    Criminal immigrants reoffend at higher rates than ICE has suggested

    Goodlatte: Administration’s Record of Releasing Criminal Aliens Has Gone from Bad to Worse


    Obama’s Budget Would Stop Reimbursing Prisons For Holding (Convicted) Illegal Immigrants

  • shesaid1

    30 Million Illegal Immigrants in US, Says Mexico’s Former Ambassador on MSNBC


    “The former ambassador stated,” If you were to deport the 30 million undocumented immigrants in the United States that’s going to cost you about 130 billion dollars.”

    That’s $4333 each. So when you count up the $1500 each per year in food stamps plus the $4000 each per year sent out of the country, that’s already a net savings to the economy right there.

    Fiesta for New ‘Wave’ of Mexican Immigrants on Univision


    “Despite official statistics showing immigration from Mexico is down in recent years, Univision has found an apparent exception in the case of immigrants from the Mexican state of Puebla.

    ORLANDO SEGURA, UNIVISION: During the last 30 years three migrant waves of Pueblans to New York have existed. The first was in the 80’s, benefitting from the amnesty of Ronald Reagan. The second, during the economic boom of the presidency of Bill Clinton. The third, we are living through right now.”

    According to a recent DHS report the number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) coming across the border has doubled and the number of family units has tripled in fiscal year 2016 compared to the same time frame in fiscal year 2015.

    Border Patrol sees increase in number of migrants being detained at Mexico border
    “The number of family members caught crossing illegally has nearly tripled compared with this time last year, and the number of unaccompanied children has almost doubled, the figures show.”

    “The number of unaccompanied alien children (0-17 years old) that were apprehend between October 1- January 31 has doubled from 10,105 in 2015 to 20,455 in 2016. The number of family units apprehended in the same time period has almost tripled from 9,090 in 2015 to 24,616 in 2016.”

    Thousands of unaccompanied children crossed US-Mexico border in October

    US Border Arrests Of Immigrant Children And Families Increased 52 Percent in August

    “According to statistics released by the U.S. Border Patrol nearly 10,000 unaccompanied minors and families were arrested in the month of August, a 52 percent jump from last year.”

    Immigration Reform 2015: Immigrant Families Surging Again At US Border, Homeland Security Says

    “Federal border officials might have spoken too soon when they predicted earlier this year that the level of illegal immigration to the U.S. among mothers and children would decrease. There was actually a surge of immigrant families crossing U.S. borders last month [July 2015], a top Department of Homeland Security official told a federal court Thursday.”

    Surge of illegal children, families accelerates 10,000 caught at border in September

    “The surge of children and families crossing the southwest border illegally accelerated again in September, leaving fiscal year 2015 the second-worst on record, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Border Patrol.”

    Ongoing Migration from Central America: An Examination of FY2015 Apprehensions

    Agents say just 40 percent of U.S.-Mexico border under control
    20 percent of illegals caught at border have criminal records

    “Less than half of the U.S.-Mexico border is under “operational control,” and one out of every five illegal immigrants caught there has a criminal record, the chief of Border Patrol agents’ labor union told Congress Wednesday when detailing violence that increasingly spills over the international boundary.”

    • noh1bvisas

      Trump 2016
      hillary has said she is in favor of even LESS enforcement than the current traitor-in-chief.

      • João Pedro Santos

        Oh look, a fascist.

        • noh1bvisas

          look, an illegal. get out of my country, wetback.

  • doncro2

    Well written article; one I couldn’t agree more with. However, given the author’s impressive, albeit curt analysis, I would have also enjoyed reading his ideas on bipartisan reform. (www.immigrationintegritgroup.com)

  • jack

    Self-serving BS. We have given away the equivalent of 7 average size american states to greedy immigrant invaders since the 1986 law was passed. They are now 15% of the population if we like it or not. What have we, the people who bought the deal ever gotten? What is the reward for having given away 15% of our schools our roads our power plants our hospitals our bridges, our state legislators our businesses, etc etc. Fifteen percent our the very land under our feet has been given to these people for their use and enjoyment and it cost them nothing. And that is because the people who built the country and did all the work and took the risks, got zero. We are being robbed!! Who ordered this nonsense? Who needs these bozos. They are NOT americans as far as I am concerned. They are foreign occupiers, invaders, parasite.