For Immediate Release
Contact: Bill Chandler
Wednesday, June 15, 1994
SENATOR FEINSTEIN INTRODUCES BROAD LEGISLATION TO RESTRICT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
United States Senator Dianne Feinstein today introduced broad
legislation to stop illegal immigration. The Illegal Immigration
Control and Enforcement Act of 1994, which was introduced by the Senator
during a Judiciary Committee hearing, contains border enforcement
measures and several measures to reduce the incentives, such as federal
assistance, for illegal immigrants to come to the United States.
Nearly a year ago, Senator Feinstein introduced legislation to
increase the number of Border Patrol Agents, improve the asylum process
and increase penalties for those who illegally smuggle immigrants into
this country. The new legislation introduced today contains these
provisions but also: creates a counterfeit-proof work identity card;
prohibits direct cash assistance to immigrants who are not permanent
residents, refugees or asylees; requires sponsors of legal immigrants to
provide financial support for them until they become United States
citizens so they do not rely on public assistance; and establishes an
"interior repatriation" program to return illegal immigrants caught at
the border to the interior of their country.
"Last year, I described my fears that if the federal government
did not act aggressively to stop illegal immigration there could be a
backlash against all immigrants. In that period of time, Congress has
refused to move forward on legislation aimed at stopping illegal
immigration. With the growing drumbeat of concerns in states such as
California, Congress can no longer refuse to act. The legislation I am
introducing today enables the federal government to enforce the laws
already on the books," Senator Feinstein said today.
"When illegal immigrants try to cross the border, they know that
if they make it, they can easily buy counterfeit credentials that enable
them to work illegally. And
they know too that they will be eligible for certain federal benefits.
My bill would end these abuses," the Senator added. "This legislation
specifically protects legal immigration so the federal government can
focus on the problem of illegal immigration."
The Illegal Immigration Control and Enforcement Act of 1994 would:
_Increase the strength of the Border Patrol by 2,100 agents over three
years. It would also boost the number of aircraft, vehicles and
detection devices used to secure our borders.
_Speed the legal crossing at all land borders by fully staffing existing
border gates and authorizing the construction of new facilities needed to
handle the crossing volume.
_Create a counterfeit-proof identity card aimed at eliminating the use of
false documents. False documents allow illegal immigrants to gain
employment unlawfully and to obtain federally-funded public assistance
benefits. In addition, the legislation increases penalties for those who
make and sell false documents.
_Set up a two-year pilot "interior repatriation" program in San Diego to
remove those who illegally cross the border to the "interior" of their
home country. The United States Attorney in the San Diego area
specifically asked the Senator to give them this authority to prevent
repeated attempts to cross the border illegally in a short period of time.
_Prohibit direct cash assistance -- such as Aid to Families With
Dependent Children or Supplemental Security Income -- to immigrants who
are not legal permanent residents, refugees or asylees.
_Require citizens who sponsor legal immigrants to provide complete
financial support for them until they become U.S. citizens. Such a
measure would prevent potential immigrants with sponsors from becoming
reliant on public assistance.
_Establish that an applicant for asylum is not automatically entitled to
work authorization. Additionally, it would take steps to expedite the
asylum process and reduce the backlog of asylum claims.
_Increase penalties for the smuggling of illegal immigrants from five to
10 years, and imposes an additional penalty if the smuggler endangers the
life of the immigrant. A smuggler who causes an alien's death would be
subject to the death penalty.
_Provide for the prompt deportation of any non green card holder who has
been convicted of an aggravated felony and is deportable.
_Reduce cases of abuse against illegal immigrants by providing improved
training for both active Border Patrol agents and new hires and requiring
the Attorney General to report to Congress each year on this effort.
This legislation also contains a funding mechanism to support
these border improvements. It would impose a modest $1 border crossing
fee to pay for these improvements. Based on 1992 Customs figures, a $1
crossing fee could raise between $300 and $400 million a year so this
border enforcement program is self funding.
"When I visited a 14 mile stretch of the border in San Diego
County a year ago, I saw a mere handful of agents watching over this
expanse, only a single night-vision scope was in place to catch those
trying to enter the country illegally, and the border fence was
incomplete. But when I returned to the same spot earlier this month,
after having helped secure a $45 million appropriation to better police
the Southwest border, things had clearly improved. Lights were in place,
the fence was nearly complete and 40 new U.S. agents were on duty.
"Most important, Border Patrol agents on the line in San Diego
report that they are now catching 60 percent of those trying to enter the
nation illegally, up from 50 percent last year. At the same time, the
overall number of people apprehended has actually decreased. From what I
saw, border enforcement can work. But, this must just be the beginning
if the federal government is serious about stopping illegal immigration,"
the Senator added.
return to the main page
The material included in this voter guide is archived and will not be updated. Please visit the California Voter Foundation's homepage for the most current information and resources.
© California Voter Foundation 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 & 1998