A Media Guide for Debate On Immigration Proposals

As Congress debates the Build Back Better budget reconciliation package, the bipartisan American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) issues this guide to counter anti-immigrant “lies” that will spew forth during this important discussion. (Source: House Judiciary Committee.)

KEY FACTS:

How Americans Would Benefit from Immigration Work Permits Plan:

  1. The temporary protections from deportation and new work permits that would come from the program would help drive economic growth, as noted by leading economists regarding increased work permits for undocumented immigrants.
  2. Employers need workers and immigrant workers want work. The work permit program will:
  • Address labor shortages, which are factors in manufacturing delays and high inflation rates;
  • Raise the wage floor for all Americans;
  • Deliver tens of billions of dollars in annual economic growth and projected tax revenues, vastly outweighing the cost of the immigration work permit program.
  1. About 7 million people who have lived in the U.S. at least 10 years — 20 years on average — can apply for 5-year permits, with an extension until September 30, 2032. This will unleash their enormous economic potential as workers, consumers and family members, including: 1.6 million Dreamers, 360,000 TPS recipients; and 3.6 million essential workers, including 1 million farm workers, according to House Judiciary Committee estimates.

The work permit program is not: Amnesty, a path to citizenship, a Green Card (which has more benefits).

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FACTS > Lies

Lie: The immigration proposal provides amnesty to at least 7 million illegal immigrants.

FACT: The immigration work permit program is NOT amnesty. It would apply to people who have been living in the U.S. for an average of 20 years without committing any crimes that would make them inadmissible.*

DOUBLE FACT: The work permit program is TEMPORARY. Applicants must undergo background checks, and would be denied entry if found to have committed criminal, national security or other violations.*

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Lie: Immigration plan “guarantees” that certain criminals and other bad actors will receive permits.

FACT: An applicant is rejected if the individual is inadmissible due to criminal offenses such as murder, rape, drug trafficking, and passport document fraud. 

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Lie: The bill makes hundreds of thousands of green cards available over and above the current annual limits set by Congress using a gimmick known as green card “recapture.” 

FACT:  This program permits “recapture” of green cards that were previously authorized but were lost due to processing delays. The visa recapture provisions are solely for those who meet the current requirements.

  • There are no guarantees individuals will qualify for Green Cards.
  • The “recapture” provision takes unused visas approved by Congress and recycles them for those who qualify.

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Lie: Illegal immigrants with both U.S.-born & illegal immigrant children will benefit, as will recent border-crossers.

FACT: The proposal would allow an individual to apply for permission to remain in the U.S. without being subject to removal if the person has continuously resided in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2011.

DOUBLE FACT: The program would be available for people who have lived and worked in the U.S. for at least 10 years; the average is 20 years, not recent border crossers.

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Lie:  This does nothing to stop the Biden border crisis.

FACT: The administration’s budget provides $1.2 billion for border infrastructure.

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Lie: Immigration advocates support amnesty more than border protection.

FACT:  ( See the previous answer.) ABIC sought a bipartisan solution for our broken immigration system that would have included border protection. We met with 41 Republican Senators and hosted over 60 bipartisan events to reach a compromise. Republicans walked away.

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Lie: Taxpayers will pay billions in taxes for new benefits for individuals who broke the law.

FACT: Immigration work permits program DOES NOT CREATE NEW BENEFITS for those who qualify. Current law will continue. Successful applicants would not be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and would have to wait 5 years for safety net programs like Medicaid and SNAP.

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***The bars include:

Murder, Rape, or Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Illicit Trafficking in Controlled Substance

Illicit Trafficking in Firearms or Destructive Devices

Money Laundering Offenses (over $10,000)

Explosive Materials and Firearms Offenses

Crime of Violence (imprisonment term of at least 1 yr)

Theft Offense (imprisonment term of at least 1 yr)

Demand for or Receipt of Ransom

Child Pornography Offense

Racketeering, Gambling (imprisonment term of at least 1 yr)

Prostitution Offenses (managing, transporting, trafficking)

Gathering or Transmitting Classified Information

Fraud or Deceit Offenses or Tax Evasion (over $10,000)

Alien Smuggling

Illegal Entry or Reentry by Removed Aggravated Felon

Passport, Document Fraud (imprisonment term of at least 1 yr)

Failure to Appear Sentence (offense punishable by at least 5 yrs)

Bribery, Counterfeiting, Forgery, or Trafficking in Vehicles

Obstruction of Justice, Perjury, Bribery of Witness

Failure to Appear to Court (offense punishable by at least 2 yrs)

Attempt or Conspiracy to Commit an Aggravated Felony

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