June 20, 2013
The U.S. Senate continues floor debate on S. 744 – the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. Last week, Senators filed amendments and more are to come. Some will help improve the bill, others unfortunately will create additional hurdles and requirements for low-income immigrants on the road to citizenship than what are already required by the bill.
Specifically, Senator Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Hatch (R-UT) filed four amendments that could effectively prevent many low-income immigrants from being able to obtain lawful status through the bill and punishes rather than rewards those who become lawful permanent residents (LPRs) after they have met the bill’s current tests and requirements. These amendments taken together could undermine the goals of immigration reform and leave millions of immigrants without the opportunity to fulfill their American Dream.
Because these amendments are harmful and will likely come up for a vote or be negotiated on in the next few days, it is critical that to let your Senator know TODAY to oppose these 4 Hatch-Rubio amendments because they are extreme, unfair, and are bad public policy. The Senate must stop these punitive attacks on low-income immigrants and focus on creating a fair and achievable road to citizenship that allows immigrants to fully participate in society.
On the positive side, Senator Boxer (D-CA) has an amendment, 1282, that would allow time in provisional status to count towards the five year bar for public benefits. Her other amendment, 1275, adds U visa holders to the list of qualified immigrants who are eligible for federal benefits. U visa holders include survivors of domestic violence. Senator Hirono’s (D-HI) 1317 amendment, the Taxpayer Fairness amendment, states that if lawfully present, working and paying taxes, an individual shall not be ineligible for federal programs or tax credits because of their immigration status.
URGE YOUR SENATOR TO OPPOSE THESE AMENDMENTS TO S.744:
- Hatch-Rubio #1246: Prohibits the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agency from waiving federal work requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, even though aspiring Americans will not be eligible for TANF assistance for at least 15 to 20 years from now.
- Hatch-Rubio #1247: Requires documentation and payment of back taxes, interest, and penalties from an individual’s original date of entry to the U.S. in order to obtain registered provisional immigrant (RPI) status. This is unworkable for individuals as well as employers and the IRS.
- Hatch-Rubio #1248: Adds an additional 5 years to the existing exclusion in S. 744 for aspiring citizens from being able to buy affordable health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after they become LPRs. This would effectively deny affordable health care to lawfully present, aspiring citizens for 15 years. The amendment would also exclude from the ACA already eligible, lawfully present individuals who have a non-immigrant status and who are not otherwise affected by this bill.
- Hatch-Rubio #1249: Denies aspiring citizens credit for work history and earnings worked while undocumented, despite having paid payroll Social Security taxes, which will affect their future Social Security retirement benefits and eligibility for Medicare.