February 18, 2020 | From The Hill
Congressman Jesús G. “Chuy” García’s (D-Ill.), “New Way Forward Act,” H.R. 5383, was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship on Jan. 30. It is cosponsored by 43 of Garcia’s fellow Democrats, four of whom are on the subcommittee, including Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the Vice Chair. The bill is supported by more than 145 advocacy groups.
It is also the most ill-advised immigration legislation I have ever seen.
Garcia claims his bill would correct racial and anti-immigrant injustices embedded in our immigration laws, but the bill’s main provisions would simply protect aliens who are subject to deportation because they have committed crimes.
Implementation would bury an already overwhelmed immigration court under an avalanche of new cases; it would allow dangerous criminals to remain in the United States, and it would use tax dollars to bring deported criminals back.
Would decriminalize migration
For starters — and the likely headline feature — Section VI of the bill would repeal 8 USC §1325(a) and 8 USC §1326 which make illegal entry into the United States a crime and makes it a crime to reenter the United States after being deported.
These laws are the main deterrents to illegal entries, and the bill fails to provide other means of deterrence.
According to a new TRAC report, illegal entry prosecutions fell recently. Resources have been devoted instead to prosecuting other types of federal offenses such as drug offenses, weapons, and white-collar crime.
While decriminalizing illegal entry should be no surprise in a Democratic immigration bill — it’s been discussed in presidential debates after all — it’s the other provisions in Garcia’s proposal that are jaw-dropping.
Would give old crimes a pass
The bill would create a statute of limitations to prohibit the initiation of removal proceedings more than five years after the date on which an alien became deportable or inadmissible, and this would apply retroactively to removal orders issued before the date on which the New Way Forward Act is enacted.
This doesn’t make sense. Does a dangerous criminal stop being dangerous when five years have passed since his conviction?
In addition to greatly increasing the immigration court’s workload — more of which in a moment — this would allow numerous aliens who have committed serious crimes to remain in the United States.
Would end mandatory detention for criminal aliens
The bill would repeal 8 U.S.C. §1226(c), which requires mandatory detention for aliens who are deportable for committing specified criminal offenses, and it would give them the right to bond hearings before an immigration judge.
If an alien were arrested without a warrant, he would have a right to a hearing within 48 hours on whether the arresting officer had probable cause to think he was deportable.
The bill would require an initial custody determination within 48 hours of arresting an alien, and aliens who are detained would be entitled to a bond hearing within 72 hours of when the initial determination is made.
Detained aliens would be entitled to a new bond hearing every 60 days.
The profusion of required hearings would overwhelm the immigration court, which can’t handle the cases it already has. As of the end of December 2019, the average wait for a single removal hearing was 958 days — more than two and a half years. This bill, if enacted, would effectively paralyze the immigration court. . .
Creates a right to ‘come home’
Finally, the bill would allow aliens who were deported on or after April 24, 1996, to come back — at government expense — for new hearings if they establish that they would not have been deported if the provisions in this bill had been in effect back then when they were removed.
That would mean your tax dollars would pay for criminals — some of them violent and dangerous — to be transported back to the United States for a second chance of being set loose on our streets.
It’s also worth noting here that the standard practice — because the immigration courts take more than two years to hold a hearing — is to let aliens loose into the heartland while they await that hearing.
We’d be actively importing trouble.
This “decriminalization” bill would increase immigrant crime in America, which would not be a benefit to anyone but the criminals.
(Excerpt from The Hill. Article by Nolan Rappaport.)