tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 26, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EST
visa for unskilled workers or low skilled workers. in preparation for the talks today, i was trying to research or comprehend the many types of visas there are. and i came across the h2b visa. i thought in some ways that could be understood to be a solution to maybe the problem that you posed. cue discuss if in any way that is a solution >> yes, a great question. so, yes, the h2b, when i said there are basically none or essentially none because the h2b is the exception. the h2a visa is is for agricultural workers and seasonal agricultural work. that visa is numerically unlimited. cultural employers can hire as many temporary workers as they want to work in agriculture. and the limitation of that visa
is that agricultural employers don't like it very much. because it includes -- they're required to pay temporary workers more than they would have to pay u.s. workers because it's designed to protect u.s. workers. and so agricultural employers have found it cumbersome and inconvenient to use. and because we don't really enforce employer sanction laws they've gone around it and hired a lot of unauthorized workers instead. the h2b visa is for low-skilled nonagriculture workers in temporary jobs. the reason i don't consider it a fix -- and employers are willing to use that because it offers less protections than h2a to workers. the reason it's a limited fix is that it's only limited to seasonal jobs. so if you want to hire a worker to work in your restaurant or your factory or, you know your service sector job as a janitor, none of those jobs are covered. it has to be a job that is time-limited and it's limited to 65,000 visas a year.
so it only covers -- it basically covers people in truly seasonal work like resort hotels and crab pickers in maryland. so, it's pretty limited in scope, but you know, a lot of the cir bills have considered ways to expand h2b to cover more permanent jobs and more workers. but that's the -- that's the limit on it. >> thank you. >> hi. my name's rochelle, i'm from the university of arizona. my question for you, i know you talked about ways that we can improve the system. and also knowing that countries not only the u.s. but other countries, do struggle with immigration. i was wondering looking at other countries have you ever come across or found an ideal system for immigration? and if not, what -- what to you would be a perfect immigration
policy that would work internationally and domestically in the u.s.? >> so that's a hard question. i mean, actually, the first part of the question is easy. there is no other country that i think has a perfect system. i mean, the u.s. -- one of the ways the u.s. differs from the rest of the world -- two ways the u.s. differs from the rest of the world. one is that our system is much more weighted toward family-based immigration than it is toward employment-based immigration. whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, that's really -- that's sort of a values question. like how much do we care about designing immigration for economic purposes versus how much do we care about people being able to bring their family members from abroad. i think that it would be easier if you rolled back the clock and didn't place so much emphasis on family migration. that's inevitably going to be difficult to allow -- to accommodate all the demand for family-based visas without having a lot more immigration.
and, you know, there are people here who don't want a lot more imdprags. so, it's a little bit -- that's just -- somebody's going to lose. and i don't think -- you know, for the same reason, there's no sort of objective ideal immigration policy because it really depends on how you value family reunification and how you value sort of overall economic growth versus distributive effects. because needing a lot more workers at any given skill level expantsdzds the overall u.s. economy, but to some degree hurts workers at a similar skill level. grows the u.s. economy, but hurts people with similar skills to people coming in and helps employers, so it's -- it contributes to you know, wealth polarization that we see already. but i think -- i mean there are some things i can say. one is that -- one thing we could do is to combine family
and employment-based ranking systems into a single -- you know, into a single system that gives points both to family members and to people with job offers so that you would have just one cue instead of multiple queues. so, that's one change. i think that, you know, we have also weighted our system more toward -- on the employment side, more towards temporary-based immigration than permanent and you could have a hybrid where people could come in temporary and transition into permanent if they meet a certain cry tear ayeah. that would rationalize the system. there are a lot of things we could do better, more efficiently on the enforcement side that would -- that would cost less and pose less, sort of adverse consequences on communities. you know, by focusing on work sites in a way that -- that more reliably holds employers accountable. those are some elements. i'm not going to give you a fully flushed out answer.
i'm going to stop there. >> thank you. >> my name is relly rod kick from suffolk university. i want to say, thank you for being here. i understand it's difficult to displace immigrants who have built their lives here in u.s. and illegally living here for, i think you said, 15 20, even 30 years. but don't we want to question why they haven't applied for citizenship? if it takes 6 to 12 years it's a long period of time, but why haven't they applied? >> thank you. that's a great question. the answer is, it takes 6 to 12 years if you have a sponsor and if you're outside the country. if you're here illegally already, then you're -- for most unauthorized immigrants who are already here, it's illegal for you to adjust to legal status without leaving the country for three to ten years depending on how long you've been here. so, if you've been here for more than six months, have you to leave the country for ten years before you can apply for a visa. so, it's asking somebody who has a family here to leave for ten years and then wait 10 or 20 years. so, that's -- that's a problem.
and that's assuming, you have a qualifying relationship anyway. if you came here illegally and then started a family here, with another unauthorized immigrant and now you have u.s. citizen children, those children can't sponsor you until they turn 21. so you may have to leave the country for ten years then wait, you know, 15 years for your kids to grow up and then wait 20 years to come back. so, there is no line for existing unauthorized immigrants to get in. there's no you know, existing system that they can take advantage of, for the most part. >> thank you. >> hi, i'm from the university of san diego. i grew up in arizona where the lovely sheriff joe arpaio where some say he has been committing crimes. i was wondering if obama's executive action have addressed this issue and what you think needs to be done between not seeming soft on immigration but still treating people with human
respect that they deserve. >> so, one thing the executive action does that addresses sheriff joe a little bit, is it redesigns the secure communities program, which is the way -- for the most part, the way that state and local law enforcement agencies and county sheriffs interact with dhs. and it really reins in the scope of that program. so that program -- that's a program that exists now that lktly checks the immigration backgrounds of anybody who's being booked into a state or local jail and does an immigration check and then i.c.e. can take custody of the person and put them in immigration proceedings. and it's really created some damaging -- it's damaged the relationship between immigrant xhooublgts communities and law enforcement because some law enforcement agencies apparently have sort of speculative arrested people in order to check their immigration status. so the new changes are designed to prevent that.
a lot of what sheriff joe has done is already illegal and he's been sort of called out, you know by the justice department. and he is a little bit rogue relative to existing immigration law. so, you know the executive actions don't address that because it's already sort of addressed. it's a little hard to rein in -- you know to rein in local law enforcement that has an agenda. so, i think that's the best answer i can give you. was that another part of your question that i missed? >> basically even though he is rogue, there a hard stance that some of the laws that have been passed are too soft. is there a way in the future we're going to find a middle ground between human rights and amnesty? >> yeah. i think the answer is that -- i mean, my personal view is that it's much easier to put in place tough enforcement measures if we recognize that we sort of collectively have a shared responsibility for some of the existing unauthorized
immigrants. so, if we take out the cases that most people agree you know at this point should be allowed to get on a path to legalization and then put in tough enforcement measures going forward, you know, i think that that's sort of a more fair solution. and the way the -- the way the new secure communities is designed to work and it's not totally different from the way the old version worked, is that as people come through the criminal justice system and get identified as having committed a crime, in addition to being unauthorized, that they'll be prioritized for being deported. so, the great asset of secure communities and its sec ses sore is that it really gives us a reliable ability to identify criminal aliens who have been apprehended. the idea behind cir is we should have a pathway to give relief to people who have, you know, good humanitarian claims and then tougher enforcement against people who don't have good
humanitarian claims. the previous enforcement efforts we've done in the last 20 years have tightened enforcement and the law that was passed in 1996 took away judicial discretion to offer relief from deportation. so, we need to restore either in a category calloway everybody who meets these get released or in a case by case judicial way give judges the opportunity to shield some people from tough enforcement. so i think that's the way to balance it. >> thank you very much. >> good morning. thanks for being here. i think you touched on this briefly, but you had mentioned early on that there are -- obviously, it's a broke system and there are different components that need to be addressed, but what do you personally foresee this new congress, perhaps, compromising on and why? >> i mean, my read of u.s. politics is that this congress under republican control doesn't really want to make deals on
immigration. i think it's likely that we'll see congress sending president obama some tough enforcement bills, border security, maybe a mandatory e-verify bill, which is to strengthen work site enforcement system. it could include some limited changes to employment base, like to facilitate high-skilled temporary workers. it could include a limited dream act. it would likely not include a path to citizenship. it would be just making permanent what the president has done without a path to citizenship. but if i had to bet money i would say less things on that list rather than more things on that list. you know, i think that we'll see other action not on immigration. >> thank you. >> matt ail ber from elon university. what do you think the u.s. should do, if anything, to help quell the violence in central america, possibly stem the tide of immigrants coming here to escape that violence? >> yeah, great question.
so, i didn't even talk at all about the central american children and families arriving. and my short answer is that, yes, a huge proportion of those flows are driven by you know just abysmal conditions in central america. and in the long run, the only thing the u.s. can do that's remotely compassionate and humanitarian to address that problem is to address those root causes. you know the solution that was put in place over the summer was mostly to detain families and speed up their hearings in order to deport them in most cases. more quickly. and, you know, that's just sending people back to a death sentence in some cases. but, you know, we also don't want to sort of set a precedent of like just opening our doors to people fleeing, you know, situations like that. so the only sustainable solution involves combating the problem at its source.
that's a lot easier said than done. it's hard politically to talk about sending billions of dollars to central america when we have communities here that are underinvested. even if you have an open checkbook, we don't have a good blueprint for how you fix, you know massively dysfunctional communities where you've got, you know long records of violence and weak governments. so, i mean we have some ideas about how to do it and we should be trying, but that's hard, both politically and policywise. >> thank you. >> hello. my name is leigh from elon university. you mentioned the paper play type of funding. will people able to migrate legally be expected to pay for their paperwork? >> i couldn't totally hear you. i think you're asking if with the executive action are people who are taking advantage of it paying for their benefits? >> uh-huh. >> yes. yeah, so all of uscis, the
immigration benefits agency, everything they do is fee-funded. in some cases there are waivers. like refugees don't have to pay for their processing but every other time of immigrant has to pay for their services. some are eligible for waivers but there's very limited waivers for the daca and dapa groups. >> thank you. >> doll ton white, university of pikeville. my question has to do with the flow coming from central america. through mexico. what diplomatic steps have we taken to kind of have the mexicans help us ease the flow a little and what steps do you think should be taken in that process? >> so, what has been done in mexico is that mexico has really cracked down on those -- you know, those transmigrants and the smugglers and the routes they use the trains they ride on. mexico has really stepped up its enforcement efforts at several choke points within mexico. that's definitely come in
response to u.s. requests. and for domestic reasons in mexico. but it's been a diplomatic priority for us. that, i think arguably is the most important reason that the numbers came way down. it's not the only reason but it's the biggest reason that the numbers came way down after surging so much over the summer. so in that sense, that's a good thing. because, you know, the conditions that people were crossing through, it was really bad going through mexico. on the other hand, what we understand is that there's very little humanitarian screening that goes on in mexico. so, they're not offering asylum to people who are escaping, you know, conditions that under u.s. law we should be offering them asylum. so, you know it just short of pushes the problem back off our door step and makes us a little bit less legally responsible, but, you know from a sort of moral standpoint it's just as
bad to deport people from mexico to you know to bad conditions as it is to deport people from here to bad conditions. so, what you would want to see is -- you do want to interdict people early in the process because that, you know discourages people from making dangerous trips and people who are going to end up deported, it's better for them just to stay home and then you're not supporting the smuggling industry and so on. but at every step in the process, what you want to see is good adjudication good screening to identify people who are in need of relief and to give them relief. >> thank you. >> good morning. i'm beverly lennox from harvard university extension school. and i was wondering what obstacles do you foresee in establishing a separate visa category for s.t.e.m. grad students? >> so that's probably, you know, right up there among the most popular ideas in congress. you know, left and right, everybody likes the idea of supporting, you know high skilled s.t.e.m. workers. the biggest obstacle is that it
comes within the ko context of the rest of the immigration debate and you know, in the senate, there would be amendments to pair it with enforcement things from the right or with low-skilled workers or family members from the left. so it's hard to pull out any little slice of the cir package because the other people want to keep it in. so it's sort of the flip side of what i was describing earlier. >> thank you. >> we have time for one more question. >> who's it coming from? >> garrett dawn, university of saek. i know we've addressed the issue of immigration from mexico and central america but i wanted to ask a question about what does the u.s. need to do about the -- about the civilian contractors in the middle east especially in iraq and afghanistan, who are promised immigration to the united states in return for their service to the u.s. military there? and how they're now being denied access because of too much immigration from central america and mexico.
>> yeah i mean, that's a -- a terrible situation. i mean, i think part of it is because of immigration from within the hemisphere, i think part of it is because the u.s. has really struggled to do background checks and to reassure itself. you know with immigrants from certain countries, in particular, you want to admit humanitarian -- people in humanitarian need, but there's -- you know, you want to make sure you're screening out people who, you know are coming here for the wrong reason. people who may be potential terrorists or whatever. so, that's slowed it down. but i think generally, you know this is an example of a case where the u.s. has not lived up to the obligations it made, and congress should step up and provide the funds necessary to expedite that screening and you know, there are people whose lives are in jeopardy because they helped the united states. so, you know, you'd want to see them given that kind of relief. >> thank you. >> so, i'm happy the people who didn't get their questions answered, i'm happy to chat with
you when we're done. >> thank you very much. please join me in thanking dr. rosenblum. very informative. we have some washington center memorabilia for you, too, some coffee. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> we are continuing our discussion of immigration policy. and our next speaker is mr. mark krikorian, the executive director of the center for immigration studies. he is a nationally recognize expert on immigration issues. and he's served as executive director of cis since 1995. the center is an independent, nonpartisan research organization in washington. and it was established in 1985. it came out of the -- from the federation from american immigration reform. and it is a research-based
organization. mr. krikorian, frequently testifies before congress. has published numerous articles ol immigration policy and is the author of two books on immigration. he has a masters degree from the fletcher school at tufts university and his undergraduate from georgetown. he also spent two years at yarovan state university in what was then soviet armenia. he is here today to share his expertise on immigration policy. please join me in giving a warm welcome to mr. krikorian [ applause ] >> good morning. i think i will maybe take this off, because if i have this o i'll be tempted to wander around and the cameras won't like that.
i am going to talk a little more about the political dynamics of immigration. that's what i think will help explain what's going on. i'll be happy to talk about policy side of it. if in q&a. i've written kind of a booklet or half a booklet, dueling positions. open immigration yea and nay. the yea is from alex from cato institute published by encounter books and it's on amazon now. available for purchase. i don't make any money off it, so -- anyway, so what i wanted to talk about is the political dynamics that shape what's going on in immigration. there's two parties in congress, obviously. but on immigration there's actually three factions.
the democrats dominate one. one represented by the democratic party. the other two duke it out within the republican party. and that, i think really does explain what we've seen over the past ten years really, starting in 2005. where there was the first round of debate and legislative wrangling over so-called comprehensive immigration reform and also the last couple of years. the first of the three factions is liberals. each of these factions has its -- a primary goal, a chief goal, that they seek in immigration policy. and the -- sort of the jostling of those three goals and the incompatibility of others is what drives much of the policymaking. starting with liberals their chief goal is legal status for the illegal immigrants who are already here.
amnesty. it's not the only one, but that's the primary one. even though it didn't use to be that way, at this point, all elected democratic officials, all major democratic interest groups, are behind legal status for illegal immigrants. not just that, but prioritized amnesty as the number one goal. this didn't use to be the case. the afl/cio was one of the leaders leading up to the 1986 immigration law in fighting amnesty. barbara jordan civil rights pioneer, first black congresswoman, was the chairman of the u.s. commission on immigration reform. which released its reports, a series of reports during the clinton administration and was actually something of an immigration hawk if you're going to use that description. but now, that's not the case.
liberals' chief gold is amnesty. republicans have two factions. one is the -- what i call the corporate/libertarian faction. and their chief goal is unlimited immigration. this doesn't mean a billion people moving here tomorrow. it means the elimination of all governmental limits on who comes to the united states. and anything that leads in that direction, in other words, anything that increases immigration is their chief goal. however that happens, regular immigration, guest workers, the goal of the corporate/libertarian faction is more arrivals of foreigners to the united states. and then there's the third faction, which is conservatives. and their chief goal is preventing another 12 million
illegal immigrants from moving here. in other words a sufficiency of enforcement mechanisms in place to actually enforce our immigration rules, whatever they happen to be. and as a kind of less active, less remarked on priority for conservatives is in fact, a more moderate level of future immigration. that part of the debate hasn't been sort of fully fleshed out but it seems to me to be pretty clearly there. as far as what we've seen over the past several years, liberals want amnesty. corporate/libertarian factions wants more immigration by any means necessary. and conservatives want enforcement systems in place to ensure we don't have mass illegal immigration in the future. now, each of these factions has
a kind of a mix of motives for their -- for these positions. a mix of self-interest and principle. on the liberal side, the self-interest is pretty clear. i mean it's a political daash it's importing voters or even more than that, kind of changing the political complexion of the country. for instance, elise medina, former top official in the sciu, service employees international union, top official in the socialist international, and one of the major sort of figures pushing cir over the past few years. has said just a few years ago that with amnesty quote, we will be creating a governing coalition for the long term. not just for an election cycle. the political aspect, the
self-interest aspect of the liberal factions push for amnesty is no secret. i mean, it's pretty out in the open. there is obviously also a genuine issue of principle here. a kind of -- i mean, a compassion toward illegal immigrants. the majority of whom were just regular shmoes trying to make it through the day just like anybody else and that amnesty would simplify their lives and make their lives a lot easier. now, i mean, i would add that this compassion is directed mainly toward foreigners who shouldn't be here as opposed to the americans who are harmed by excessive immigration, but nonetheless, this is a genuine principled rationale for their position combining with the self-interested political rationale. the second faxes the corporate/libertarian faction, likewise has a combination of self-interest and principle. and actually this faction itself -- i don't mean to get
too sort of complicated about this, but obviously from the way i describe it, itself has two portions within it. the corporate, sort of financial interests, and then the ideological libertarians, they're closely allied so i put them in one faction. but the fact there are two parts describe -- or helps point to the two parts of their motivation. their -- what i call the corporate side is clearly self-interested. they want more cheap labor. they want unlimited access, unimpeded access to any worker, whether high or low skilled, from anywhere in the world. president bush actually described this quite clearly in 2004. january, he gave sort of major immigration speech relaunching his immigration push, which had been derailed by 9/11.
and he said his goal, this wasn't the legislation didn't fully realize this but his goal was to ensure that any willing worker from anywhere in the world could get a job in the united states with any willing employer at any wage in any occupation in any part of the country. and that is, like i said, driven both by self-interest cheap labor, but also the libertarian aspect of this faction has a principled objection to any form of state limitation on the movement of people. that's that's what narosta the case he makes in his half of our booklet, that the state -- that it is unjust for the american people through their democratic processes to limit the arrival of anyone in the world who wants to come here. and so the corporate/libertarian faction has this mix of self-interest and principle. and you would think that the
libertarian side would have a problem with some of the mechanisms that we've seen in some of this legislation. but they seem to have decided that anything, even status absurdly over the top statused measures that resulted in more immigration is the goal. it really is clearly by any means necessary increasing the arrival of people into the united states. for instance, the schumer/rubio bill the 2013 senate bill, that was supported by libertarians, paul ryan and a lot of other people, actually set in statute the salaries for particular occupations and particular years, because animal breeders, graders and sorters in 2016 were to be paid $9.84 an hour, by law, according to this -- the 2013 immigration bill. something you would think that
libertarians would find almost kind of comically statused. and yesterday because it was a provision to increase the number of people arriving in the united states, they reconciled themselves to it. again, this is -- my point here is that the corporate/libertarian goal is increased numbers by any means necessary. and has both a self-interested and a principled reason behind it. conservatives, likewise, have a self-interested -- a combination of soefl-interested and principled reasons. the self-interested part is that immigration inevitably moves the political center of gravity to the left. this isn't a controversial statement. every survey of immigrant attitudes finds that immigrants -- the political views of the pea pondreponderance of immigrants are in favor of -- are those that are espoused by
the democratic party. in other words immigrants don't vote democrat because they somehow, you know, are sort of emotionally attached to the tradition of jefferson and jackson. they support democrats because they support the policies democrats espouse. more government and more taxes and more services as opposed to less taxes and fewer services. more environmental regulation. more gun control. there is -- there's really no sort of disputing the fact that immigration moves the center of gravity to the left. there's some research done by a professor at university of maryland, jim gimple. we've published some, he's published elsewhere, obviously, and what he found when he looked at quth by county data in election results, even when you look at it just at the county level, the arrival of immigrants moves the vote to the left. it's just that in some places
the vote started out much farther to the right, for instance, in texas, as opposed to cal.ifornia cal. so immigration moves it to the left, it just moves it from wherever it started. so there's a clear self-interested reason conservatives are opposing amnesty. the other interest, the principled interest is support for sovereignty for the rule of law, for constitutional government and really for a kind of solidarity with american workers and a prioritizing of the interest of american workers over those of foreigners. just as a side point here, the self-interested part of the conservative position is actually pretty -- you would think it's pretty strong in theory, and yet it doesn't really play out the way you would think. it's not clearly -- it's not as evident and as up front and as
important in driving positions as the self-interested motivations of the corporate/libertarians or the liberals are. and you can kind of see that -- evidence of that in the spending lobbying spending on immigration. the sun light foundation researched spending on immigration lobbying from 2007 through 2012. and what they found was that the liberal and corporate/libertarian positions combined represented $1.5 billion worth of lobbying. and $1.5 billion isn't much in the budget anymore because now we're talking about trillions. but when you're talking about lobbying, $1 billion is a lot of money. the amount of money pushing against the cir compromise. most of it basically
conservative-oriented. not necessarily, though, but most of it was miniscule in comparison. something like 97%, 98% of the money spent on immigration lobbying is spent in pursuit of the liberal and the corporate libertarian goals. now, the comprehensive part of cir, of comprehensive immigration reform, was an attempt to satisfy each of these three factions in one package. the problem -- in other words, it was politically comprehensive. that's the point. it was presented as the comprehensiveness of cir is often presented as a necessary policy move. in other words that there's various pieces of a policy puzzle that have to be put together for it to work. that's actually not true. it's politically comprehensive. in other words, the comprehensiveness was seen as necessary in order to satisfy
these three factions and get something passed regardless of how it actually would work out in a policy sense. the problem is that all three chief goals, amnesty for the liberals, increased immigration for the corporate/libertarians and real enforce. for the conservatives all three of those can't be successfully put into one package in an honest way. this is why it didn't work. they're not necessarily incompatible goals. but, i mean, i don't agree with the corporate/libertarian part of increasing immigration, but those three chief goals could in fact, be satisfied politically. the same person -- i mean the same policy could in fact promote all of them, but not at the same time. they can't all be the bill's first priorities.
so what the schumer/rubio bill did, 744, the one the senate passed in 2013, was give the liberals and the corporate/libertarians their chief goals up front and promise that the conservatives would get their goal eventually down the road. what it did was legalize all the illegal aliens up front within a few months -- six months or so of the bill, everybody would get legal status. it wouldn't be a green card yet but everything short of a green card. green card light. the corporate/libertarians would get their doubles of immigration. this is something nobody talks about. the bill doubles legal immigration and almost doubled so-called guest worker or temporary worker immigration all of which would really be permanent. there's nothing temporary as a work are.
but anomaly it was a temporary worker. and it offered increased enforcement tools to ensure that -- ors on tensably ensure we wouldn't have another 12 million illegals and this same debate 15 years down the road. the problem is that the section of that package that was designed to satisfy conservatives was put off into the future after everybody got amnesty, after legal immigration was increased. and there was no -- it was transparently obvious it was never going to happen anyway. the idea of amnesty first and enforcement later was the core of the 1986 grand bargain. and at that time conservatives supported it because we hadn't done it before. it seemed plausible.
and people figured, okay, well, let's give it a try. the problem is it was an obvious trick. the enforcement happened -- i mean, the amnesty happened. the enforcement didn't. and the reason that worked in 1986 and the reason it would be the same thing if the senate bill had actually passed is a combination of lying on the part of the supporters of the amnesty supporters. in other words, lying about their future commitment to enforcement as well as a genuine change in the political incentives once the amnesty happened. let me first talk about the lying part. if in any exchange you get what you want first in exchange for a promise that you won't really pay a price for if you renege on in the future, you're going to make the promise get what you want and then renege in the
future. i don't know how many of you have seen old popeye cartoons but there was a character called wimpy. the big old guy with a mustache. there was a hamburger change named after him in england. i don't know if it's still there. his tag line he would go around, i'll gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today. he always got his hamburger. he never paid on tuesday. and the fear that conservatives had because their part of the cir package was to get paid on tuesday, was they were going to give liberals their hamburger. they were going to give the libertarian/corporate faction their hamburger and they weren't ever going to get paid for it. we saw this work out in 1986. the whole point of the 1986 deal, grand bargain amnesty for settled illegals who were here in exchange for a first ever ban
on hiring illegals, the enforcement part of that. because before that it was actually illegal to hire illegal aliens. it was called the texas proviso. the 1986 bill repealed that. everybody got the amnesty first and they were going to roll out the enforcement in the future. well, within four years of the bill's passage in 1990 by that time virtually all of the illegal immigrants who were going to get amnesty had gotten amnesty and most had fully gotten green cards. really by 1991 is when all the green card processing was completed for the amnesties -- for the amnesty recipients. well, in 1990 the national counsel released a big report calling for the repeal of employer sanctions. the ban on hiring illegals, which was the whole point, the centerpiece, of the grand bargain. in other words they were --
this was a real attempt to welsh on the bill, to -- in effect, they sort of gave an iou for the hamburger they got and they were trying to yank back the iou. the person who wrote that report, the author of it, we scanned it in because nobody remembers. we found it in our library. we scanned it in. it's on our website, if you want to look for it. the author of that report is now in charge of immigration for the obama administration cecilia munoz. so clearly there's no reason to believe that the enforcement promises would have been carried out. and it's not even like as i suggested a minute ago. it's not just a matter of bad faith. for a lot of people it is. i will be happy to say i think senator schumer was not telling the truth that he would commit to enforcement in the future. but let's just be charitable and assume that everybody was, in fact telling the truth.
they were, in fact genuinely committed to enforcement. milton friedman years ago said his life was simplified when he figured, i'm just going to take everybody at their word. if they say, this is why they want to do something, i'm just going to believe them and stop looking for ulterior motives. i think that was a little simplistic, but let's do that in this case. the fact is the political incentives change once the amnesty happens. the liberal as well as frankly, the corporate/libertarians, if they got what they want, their commitment to future -- in the future to the mechanicssms to control future immigration -- i'll talk about those in a minute -- evaporates once they get what they want. so let's say a democratic politician who genuinely when he looks at himself in the mirror shaving says yeah i'm for e-verify. yeah i just want the people who are already here to get their lives in order. and i'll be -- i really will be committed to sticking with it in the future.
once the amnesty happens and he gets calls from liberal advocacy groups, when he gets calls from -- to comment on a sob story in a newspaper about some new illegal immigrant who just arrived and is very sympathetic and is cute and photogenic and in the paper in his hometown, when he gets a call in the future from a business lobbyist saying this darn enforcement thing is really cutting into our employment, his reason to be committed to that enforcement is now gone because the amnesty already happened. so the fact is that the idea of amnesty first, enforcement later, can't work. and this is the corrine the house was unable to pass cir. because the deal contained within it was not -- the conserve tifs were
conservatives were not going to get their goal. even lib rals and corporate/libertarians got their goals. this is why enforcement first has been the rallying cry. conservative opponents of cir for so long. now, the liberal -- the other two factions have now taken to say that in fact, you've gotten your enforcement first. because there have been some improvements in enforcement. i mean, they're genuine improvements in enforce. it's inadequate, in my opinion, but it's not nothing. we do, in fact, have better fencing than we used to have. we have the e-verify system which is still voluntary but it works. we have somewhat better tracking of foreign visitors. but the contention that we have completed the enforcement agenda and now we can move on to the
next step is imperically false. the president made clear this perspective that he thinks enforcement is really -- you know, it's adequate. we've done what we're going to do. a few years ago in el paso in 2011, he spoke on immigration. and he said, all the stuff they asked for, we've done. you know they said we needed to triple the border patrol. now they're going to say we need to quadruple the border patrol. in other words, his opponent here is are opponents of cir are kind of moving the goalposts. to continue, or they'll want a higher fence. maybe they'll need a mot. maybe they'll want alligators in the moat. the alligator thing was kind of cute. whoever wrote that for him and put it on the display thing was sharp. i mean i've got give the guy kudos. but it does -- it does demonstrate, and i think the president actually believes that they've done the enforcement
stuff that's net to prevent future illegal immigration. in other words that the goal the conservatives want, they've already gotten first. and now he wants his goal and the corporate/libertarians want their chief goal. the problem is this is objectively false. first of all, fencing. i think people fetishize fencing a little too much on the other side. but it's an important tool. 1% of our border has double febs fencing, two layers of fencing, 1% that's it. much of the fencing on the border is what they call vehicle barriers. they're only about this tall. this tall four. it's not very tall. your grandma could hop over them. i have pictures of myself hopping over them. there's nothing to it. they're all inside the united states. i wasn't in mexico. they're awe few feet inside the united states. the point is, the fencing we v a lot of it is real, a lot is for show. political show.
not to show illegal immigrants we're serious. it's kind of an enforcement theater to make it look like conservatives have gotten what they wanted. the border patrol, we have, in fact doubled the border patrol in the last decade. i think we may have increased it too fast because what you end up with watering down the standards for screening standards and you end up with -- we've ended up with some corruption problems. this happened in washington, d.c. under marian barry. they ramped up the side of the mpd, metropolitan police department really fast and they ended up with a lot of bad apples because they cut corners. nonetheless, we doubled the border patrol and they needed to do that. but the border patrol is 50% smaller than the new york police department. there are 50% fewer people in the u.s. border patrol, the whole border -- not the mexican border. canadian border, alaska's border with cal dan. there's a border in puerto rico.
the whole border patrol has fewer svrzofficers than the new york police department. so the idea that it is somehow excessive -- i don't know if it needs to be excessive, that we've got way more agents than we need is absurd. it is laughable. but even more important than that because immigration isn't just the border. it is just one piece of it. close to half of the illegal population came in legally and then never left. visa overstays is sort of the shorthand term for those people. tourists that come in as students, foreign workers, whatever it is they come in this some means that requires them to leave at some point and they just don't do it. well, we don't have a good means of knowing whether you left or not. in other words, a check-in -- a fully functional electronic check-in, check-out system for foreign visitors is a prerequisite for any kind of serious immigration system.
we didn't even have good check-in until 9/11. then people got all frantic and we actually do a better job of checking people on the way in. we still don't do a particularly good job of checking people out. and if you don't know who is left, you don't know who is still here. in fact, i just heard this a week or two ago from the -- i think senator carper who was until yesterday at noon chairman of the senate homeland security committee. he said they were pushing -- the homeland security department -- just to develop a text system to send texts to the cell phones of foreign visitors people who are at disneyland visiting their families, a month before their period of stay the permission to be here expires. say, hey, hope you're having a great time. remember, you got to leave in a month. just to let you know. and then a week before, you know, two weeks before. in other words that kind of
thing -- have the visa overstays wouldn't have done it if they had an idea that somebody's watching. like oh, my god they know my cell number. where did this come from? i better leave. we don't even do that. now maybe we will at some point but the point is that is an area that just hasn't been finished yet. and congress eight times -- eight times has required in statute a fully functional entry/exit tracking system and it is still not there. finally, e-verify. this is the online system. i think marked talk about it beforehand beforehand. you hire someone, you do the paperwork for irs and social security anyway, check whether their names, social security number and date of birth match. you check electronny against the government's records whether the person you have hired is a liar or not. and this is functioning. it is actually working pretty well. we've used it for years.
there is something called e-verify self-check where you can e-verify yourself make sure social security has your name right, number, date of birth. you can do it it's free. they make sure it is you, because they have which of these addresses have you ever lived at. they have one that's real and three are fake. what was the name of your dog whether you were 7 years old. stuff like that that would be really, really hard for an identity thief to know this stuff. basically impossible. and so that's how they know it's you. then you just e-verify yourself and see whether the information is correct. it is a great idea. the problem is the e-verify sis system is still voluntary. something like one-third of new hires last year were screened through e-verify but that means two-thirds weren't. and until that is universally used, so that all businesses are on an even playing field all new hires are on an even playing field, you can't say that we
have in place the tools we need. and, unfortunately, in the case of e-verify in particular the corporate libertarians and liberals have held it hostage to their own objectives. they've said sure, we'll agree to this, only when we get what we want first. that's really in some sense, that particular fight over e-verify is the core reason cir has still not succeeded. in fact, i think that if the administration and the two factions that support it -- corporate libertarians among the republicans and the liberals among the democrats -- actually passed the mandatory e-verify on its own it was put into place it overcame the courtroom jihad that the aclu and chamber of commerce will inevitably launch against it. once all that's out of the way and it is actually working, there is actually a good chance of something like the rest of cir getting through even though the parts of it i don't like
but i think politically speaking the argument against it becomes weaker, because e-verify isn't a silver bullet that can on its own magically prevent all illegal immigration but it is one of the most important pieces. and the fact that the pro-cir people have stubbornly, doggedly refused to consider e-verify on its own as a prerequisite to anything else -- in other words they hold it hostage to any other immigration issues -- suggests to me a real lack of commitment to future enforcement. so just very quickly before i go to questions, what are we going to see in congress. i think what you're going to see is the effects of obama's unilateral amnesty decrees that he announced two years ago for the dhakas, the illegal
immigrants who claimed to have come as children. then in november, the amnesty for illegal immigrants who have born u.s. citizen children. what those represent is a liberal attempt to get their chief objectives without any quid pro quo. unilaterally getting their primary political goal without giving the other sides what their goals are. so what you're going to see i think in the new republican congress is the corporate libertarian faction and the enforcement or conservative faction both passing measures to get what they want. so you are going to see some enforcement bills. you're going to see things like a mandatory e-verify bill something called the safe act i think will be revived. this is an enforcement measure separate from e-verify. you're also going to see i think push for increased are guest worker visas, tech visas, somebody had asked about that. that's likely -- i mean i think it is very possible that could
pass. that's one thing that i think is still up in the air. it would be interesting to see -- that's something you want to look. if the congress passes a bill increasing tech workers -- which i think is stupid thing, but talking about the politics of it -- it could pass very easily. it hasn't up to now because the hispanic caucus has held it hostage to amnesty. and i know that because luis gutierrez told me that. he said to a tech lobbyist -- i was testifying at a hearing on tech visas. the other witnesses were all tech lobbyists. congressman gutierrez said to them, i'm all for what you want, this is great but you have to get an amnesty as part of the deal. so now that the republicans control both houses it doesn't really matter very rch what luis gutierrez thinks anymore about h h1 visas is. it is interesting to see whether the president will veto a bill like that. that's something his pals, mark
zuckerberg bill gates eric schmidt, they want that desperately. would he veto it and stick his veto pen in their eye or would he sign it. i don't know what the answer to that is. that will be an interesting question to see. let me stop there. i've ranted on. i could rant on for hours and hours. you can all fall asleep. but i'm sure you all have questions so why don't we go to questions. i have to have provoked somebody. go on. >> several kwers. sounded like you said you didn't think the tech visa bill would be a good idea. can you just tell us why. >> well you could buy my booklet and i explain it a little bit in there. but basically the way -- h1b visa is the worker visa used mainly for tech workers. it's presented as a best and brightest. there's all these smart computer people in india and we need to
take them here, otherwise canada will get them and that's terrible. because we don't like canada. i don't know why. i like canada. but it's silly. it is a cheap labor reason. all the research show people on h1b visas have lower than average skills and lower than average pay given their occupations and the fields they work in and this is not every h1b but there is no question as a group they are less skilled and lower paid than comparable american workers. the whole point is cheap labor. there are tools for genuine best and brightest immigration. that's not what h1b is. and that's not why the tech companies want it. they want cheap code writers that they control can because companies -- employers own h 11b workers, for all intintsents and purposes.
your employer has to sponsor you for the green card. now you can leave your employer. in the old days you couldn't. if you left your employer you were deportable and became an illegal alien. now if you find another employer, you can switch but they have to start the green card process from scratch. so they own you for the next six or seven or however many years it takes. it is really kind of an indentured servitude visa and it is just a mistake. but nonetheless, there is broad support for it because let's face it, a lot of these keng congressmen don't even know how to turn their computers on, let alone how the tech workforce works. oh, c-plus-plus -- whatever! what do you want? i'll give you whatever you want. it is astonishing the level of ignorance on the part of lawmakers and the gullibility on this particular issue. so let me -- i'll start here, then alternate. >> from harvard university extension school. canada is america's leading trading partner. yet it is surprisingly difficult
to migrate between the two countries. do you believe that nafta will eventually lead to something like in europe between america, canada and possibly even mexico eventually? >> the shengen union isn't going to textist in europe much longer in my opinion. so the answer is no. it's easier than a lot of other places for canadians to move here especially for work. and there is significant canadian permanent legal immigration in the united states. it is always one of the top ten countries. but as far as sort of open free movement of people back and forth, certainly not with mexico. i mean not in our lifetime or our children's life times. i don't think even with canada honestly, no. i have to say probably not. >> thank you. >> my name is talia. you've talked a lot about the differing attitudes and dynamics on immigration. you wonder if you could speak to the general attitudes of millennial voters and how they
might drive future policy change. >> i don't know. i'm really not qualified to speak on millennials in particular. i will take advantage of your question to talk about what i think the public at large thinks. and i think obviously millennials are part of that. i don't buy the idea really that there is a significant generational change that will work its way through as millennials get older. i think young people think one way and when they get older, have a job and a house and a mortgage and kids, then their views change. but i think the public, as a whole, actually reflects a combination of what i described as the liberal and the conservative perspectives. and what i mean by that is that -- and poll data shows this and the cir people wave around these results as though they're definitive. that the public broadly is open to amnestying a substantial share of illegal immigrants.
those who have been here a long time, they are're not dope dealers. not the usual stuff. sure. i am. in other words, when the poll results showing that are presented, they're including me, which does not really evidence for support of s-744. but, the basis of public acceptance -- support might even be too much, but at least sort of resignation to amnesty legalization for long-term, settled non-violent illegal aliens, the premise of that, the pre-condition of that is that it is the last amnesty. and that, again, as i said, that's the core of the issue. will the supporters the liberal and the corporate libertarians will they support measures to stop tomorrow's illegal immigration. and the answer as far as i can tell is pretty clearly no.
and until that changes you're going to end up with a continued stalemate. this is why i've suggested something like in the israel-palestine conflict, they say we can't cop densewant confidence building measures, small steps so they can agree on the shape of the table. i think there are small steps that can be confidence building measures that would be minipackages. legalize the dokts.ckets. formalize the docket amnesty so the people who have daca. in exchange for mandatory e-verify and maybe even some tech provision that would make it easier for say, ph.d foreign students after they get their ph.d to stay. most stay anyway, but make that formal. so a minipackage like that.
then each side can see whether the other is living up to their side of the bargain. and then you can move to the next thing. trying to do a big bang immigration approach where everybody sort of tries to get -- to satisfy all the interest all at once can't work and will never work. >> good morning. my question is in regard to enforcement. so you spoke briefly about an improved check in/check out system for persons traveling in and out of the country. is there a way, like that techxt service that you were talking about, that these persons are kept tabs on, they're supposed to be leaving in a week they're overdue like they're a library book or something, and what is done at that point if they are here past that date? does somebody go and kick them out of the country or -- >> nothing's done now. i mean really. not much. it's not necessarily even -- it doesn't even necessarily cause you problems in getting a visa in the future. in other words, if you overstay for a year, then go home then
apply for another visa, it might affect the council or office's decision, but not necessarily. so what you would need is whenever who overstays, you know they're red flagged. obviously you got to give a little wiggle room. it snows. flights get canceled. you know what i mean? if you overstay more than say a month, then you're red-flagged. and then somebody goes and looks for you. or if they are not looking for you specifically, you're red flagged so that if you get a new job, hey, this guy's a visa overstayer. if you apply for a driver's license, this guy is a visa overstair. if you apply for benefits. open a bank account. that you'll be flagged and identified as a visa overstayer. frankly, once we reduce the illegal population and i am for eventually amnestying some big share of them, then you end up
with a smaller problem, then i am for -- yeah, actually going after -- going after them. right now this administration has basically stopped even going after fugitives, which is to say absconders, in other words people who had deportation orders placed against them and just ignored them and stayed. there's something like 900,000 people, illegal immigrants in the united states with deportation orders that nobody's looking for and they never left. so, yeah, we would be -- you would find them, then you'd be thrown out of the country and you wouldn't be able to come again legally or something like that. you could have a sort of various stages of increasingly strict responses. >> james jimenez, central michigan university. mr. rosenbloom stated something to the effect that president obama did these executive orders because he wanted to kind of break the gridlock that was happening in congress and that
it's kind of creating this big distrust within congress and i know that you stated towards the very end of your speech there that you believe that the conservatives and also the corporate libertarians will try and push their own bills, to kind of counteract what the president did in these executive orders. do you believe that this will create more animosity and distrust within the congressional system or do you think that it will force congress to reconsider and revisit a more comprehensive cir bill? had. >> no. the president has with this unilateral amnesty decrees has sabotaged any possibility for any kind of cir bill during the rest of his term. i mean there is absolutely no reason for somebody who supports enforcement to believe this administration would actually follow through on those commitments. so yeah, he has in fact poisoned the well. he knows he's poisoned the well.
i think their calculation was, look we're not going to get anything else anyway so let's get everything we can get away with unilaterally of our chief goal. and see how much of it sticks. so, no. i mean the president's decrees are almost by definition the opposite of conciliation and compromise that's necessary for anything to get anywhere. so yeah he's completely poisoned -- he's not just poisoned the well. in the old days, you would poison a well, you put a dead animal down there and it rots and it poisons the well. the president has just stuffed that well with dead animals. there is no chance that anything substantive and significant is going to get through. it is possible. as i said he might sign, say an h1b bill. i don't think that's impossible. i still doubt that but he could. but i'm not sure anything beyond that is going to get signed. which we're going to have two
years of this going -- this sort of animosity until the 2017 -- until the new president comes in and a new congress. then it may continue again. but that we don't know. >> hello, my name is jordan mcdow from the university of san diego. i know were immigration come a lot love controversies in regards to the absence of a national language and specifically in regards to immigration from mexico and south america. the requirement for many workers to know spanish for their positions. i was wondering what you thought of this and whether you think the u.s. is on a pathway to becoming a country where it is necessary to know multiple languages. >> i actually got into this issue because of the bilingual education thing a long time ago. i'm talking about when i was in high school or whatever. it bothered me. the reason it bothered me one of the reasons is i grew up speaking armenian. i didn't speak english until i
went to kindergarten. the idea that a newcomer would come here and we adjust ourselves to him rather than he adjusting himself to us is just offensive. problematic in terms of national unity. a country like ours has even greater need of fostering and nourishing a kind of common patriotic solidarity than countries where everybody is related. denmark or swazi land or korea. they're all members of the same -- literally biologically all related. that's not the way our country works. so cultivating the elements of commonality that we do have language in particular as well as hishg storetorical memory is imperative doubly even more than other countries. the issue of what -- what i concluded though is that the idea of pushing, say, for an official language.
pushing for english as the official language or a constitutional amendment to that effect or what have you misses the point. because english is the official language. constitution is written in english. laws are written in english. judicial decisions. english is the official language. we just don't have a thing that says english is the official language. that's just a paper barrier. that's like giving the scarecrow a diploma in the wizard of oz and suddenly he knows how to do mathematics. it doesn't work that way. we could put something in the constitution that says english is the official language. if we keep admitting a million immigrants a year disproportionately from a single language group we'll wind up with bilingualism. spanish is actually closer to english than most other languages in the world. the thing is that today's immigration is less diverse than any immigration flow in american history. this is the least diverse immigration flow in america's history. i looked at -- when i wrote my previous book, which is in thedigital
remainder bin of amazon. you can still buy used copies of it. i looked at the 1910 census and the language there. the immigrants identified the languages were all european languages but they were all different. you had people speaking norwegian and german, italian yiddish. and they all hated eemp other and there was real diversity. we have a very kind of mistaken i think sense of what diversity is and the fact is, immigration in the past was much more diverse because people came from many different language groups and ethnic groups. we now have an immigration flow where slightly more than half comes from a single language, linguistic group. now there is obviously lots of differences between salvadorens and argentineans. but there are several differences between bulgarians and vulga germans. there are lots of differences between canton dese and fujamis.
when we get immigration from a proportionately single ethnic group, that americans would then assimilate into that that version of spanish. you see that clearly in miami. and what that -- that's a real problem for national unity. it's not forward gained. limiting immigration can allow the assimilative forces that are still very strong to do their work. but if you keep letting in a million people a year much less letting in 2 million people a year which is what the schumer-rubio bill would have done, you are at least teeing up that kind of social bifurcation that really doesn't work very well in the balkans, for instance. i'd rather avoid it in my own country. >> thank you. >> my name is robin gottlieb. my question is, if a path to
citizenship were to be created for the illegal immigrants already in the country, what steps could be taken to confront the already existing issue of there being too many children in public schools. >> flog. i mean nothing retroactively. prospectively, the reductions in immigration, future legal immigration. in fact, i didn't lay out -- i wrote a piece in "national review" last year where i kind of laid out how i think we could get to a sustainable equilibrium on immigration policy. and what that would be is enforcement tools first, and then follow-on the bargain would then be amnesty in exchange for cuts in legal immigration. because reductions in future legal immigration are imperative if our various stressed
institutions -- whether it's schools, whether it's inner cities, whether it is employment for low-skilled workers, are to be able to catch their breath and we're going to be able to at leastameliorate the problems that they're experiencing. immigration is the the whole reason for any of those problems. but it contributes to it and it is the one that we have the greatest control over. legal immigration is just a government policy. federal government policy like farm subsidies or the small business administration. congress can change it tomorrow if they want to. and the other things that are responsible for a lot of us social issues that we're seeing problems that we see in our schools and elsewhere, are things that we don't really have any idea how to fix. if we even have any ability to fix them. immigration we do. so turning the heat down on our stressed institutions by reducing future immigration is imperative. but if people are already here
they're here. they're us and we have to deal with it. yes, sir. >> hey. my name is eric. i'm from the university of arizona. i found a lot of the topics you brought up -- they rang really true. a lot of the fence you can either walk through or trip over and a lot of the border patrol are ineffective or just corrupt. my questions are, do you know how much the budget is for the southern border defense, how much do you think we need to get where you want to go, and with conservative control in the legislative branch and their battle cry of lower taxes do you think we can raise the funds and how do you think we will? >> let me start by saying my comment about bad apples on the border patrol was bad apples. i yield to no one in my respect for border patrol overall. i just think politically they ramped up size too fast for political reasons and you ended up with problems like they're facing. another problem -- i'm not even sure why they do this. i think this was related to
ramping up numbers as fast as possible -- is they let border patrol agents who grew up in a region stay and work there. in other words if you're from south texas and disproportionately the border patrol is one-third mexican-american. you need to know the language. if you grew up in south texas, you joined the border patrol, they sent you to arizona. now you can stay if south texas which means you have relatives that can be manipulated, that can be blackmailed to blackmail you. there is a lot of problems at border patrol. let's face it. just don't want to get in trouble with the border patrol because we have a lot of respect for the border patrol. but as far as numbers go, i don't have a magic number. we maybe even have an adequate budget now. not saying there isn't. first thing we need to do as far as the mexican border goes is change our policies there as opposed to just matters of money. because the border patrol now, they're handcuffed.
if somebody -- if they catch a guy who says, i'm a dreamer, i'm just coming back. you caught me at the border but i grew up leer and i'm a dreamer. they have to let him go whether he is a dreamer or not. the border patrol is -- works under policy directives that handcuff its work. so the first thing -- which costs nothing -- is to do that. there is going to be probably extra expenditure required. for instance there needs to be forward operating bases where border patrol, they say like we'll put together two container units and have a dorm and a little eating area and it will be right on the border area. some rancher will let them use their land, put it next to one of his wells so that they're right there where sometimes the border patrol office can be 30, 40 miles inland because some of these places there isn't any -- there's no town close to the border. so things like this operational changes, some of which will cost money. how do we raise the money? first of all, you expend what it
takes to do what's necessary. first job of a national government is to protect its borders. just at random how about we get rid of the small business administration and fund border control instead. that's not a legislative proposal yet but i mean that's my point is this is way more important than 90% of what the federal government does. so yeah, it is entirely possible to come up resources. my point is increasing resources is probably necessary but is the secondary concern. changing the policy that border patrol works under is the first job. >> thank you. >> we have time for one more question. >> patrick sweeney from the university of new hampshire. the united states has admitted -- >> speak into the micro. >> the united states have admitted less than 500 syrian refugees since the conflict began whereas sweden has admitted 17,000 and germany has
admitted 40,000. do you think that the united states has a greater burden to protect these persecuted minorities on the international stage? >> um protecting them through importing to the united states? no. refugee resettlement has been much too extensively used. refugee resettlement in third countries. it's a mistake for most of the people we take in as refugees. it is a mistake for us to do it. it is not a mistake for them, it works great. but refugee resettlement should be limited to people who literally have nowhere else to go, don't have anywhere right now to be, and never will. and the vast majority of people we take, even the syrians and there's thousands of syrians now many coulding in the pipeline ing-- coming in the pipeline of the united states, have somewhere to go whether turkey, jordan lebanon. those countries don't like it -- obviously. and they're hard-pressed in dealing with it.
if we have an interest in this, i'm happy to help them deal with their refugee issues. but taking somebody who now is in a temporary situation 25 miles from their home country and moving them to the other side of the planet is not a policy we should be pursuing. and in fact our state department has now come to use refugee resettlement as a kind of tool of diplomacy. so that if there is a minority group somewhere that is kind of sand in the gears of the politics of that country, we volunteered to let them all over the united states. as an example, the somali band troups -- thisese were people in somalia whose ancestors were kidnapped and enslaved by the arabs. their descendants are in somalia and they're treated like garbage by the somalis.
they consider them sub-humans. they came from what's now tanzania and mozambique. some of those people in the disaster that was somalia ended up in refugee camps. tanzania and mosezambique offered to resettle them. they're long-lost cousins but the u.s. and u.n. has to give us some money to resettle. state department said forget that we'll just move then to the united states instead. it is an absurd mistake. even for them because instead of moving from -- instead of being resettled in a place where they are already a sort of place that is familiar to them to some degree, actually they're tied to it ethnically we're moving them to the other side of the planet and to a society that is -- these are people who are living on dirt floors and have never seen water faucets or light switches into something that's completely disorienting. it is bad for us, it is bad for a lot of refugees we end up taking. and we need to completely
re-assess our thinking on refugee resettlement. tonight on the communicators, fcc commissioner on net neutrality, reclassifying broadband as a utility and other key issues facing the federal communications commission in 2015. >> i for one, believe that the bipartisan consensus that's been in place for almost two decades has served us pretty well. it decided is that the internet would be an information service during the clinton administration. it was clarm ofhairman of both political parties, all recognizing that light touch regulation was the best way to incentivize broadband deployment. so i stand with members of both parties at the fcc and on capitol hill who have recognized that light touch regulation is the best way to go. but as you know, the debate has taken a turn starting with the
president's announcement in december. we now stand poised to where what is called title 2 or common carrier regulation. in my view, that kind of heavy-handed regulation developed eight decades ago would be a tremendous mistake for the american consumer. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. president obama's flom knee to nominee to be the next attorney general heads to capitol hill next week for her nomination hearing. she'll testify before the senate judiciary committee. our live coverage starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. the environmental protection agency issued a final rule in december on the disposal of coal combustion residuals known as coal ash. the rule establishes national minimum standards for the safe disposal of coal ash from coal-fired plants. coal ash is generated from the
combustion of coal. representatives from coal-fired energy companies, state regulators and environmental advocates testified last week about the issue before a house energy and commerce subcommittee. >> thank you for being prompt. we want to call the hearing to order. i'd like to recognize myself for five minutes for an opening statement. we welcome each of our witnesses and appreciate your willingness to be here today to talk about the final coal ash rule relief by epa in december.
we are eager to hear from the administration. we hope mr. stanislaus will be able to provide clarification about the implementation about the final rule and also answer some questions and address some concerns. we will hear from a in um ber of stake number of stakeholders regarding their initial impressions of the rule and any concerns they may have. we will also discuss the final rule in comparison to the legislation we considered through this committee and to the floor of the house the last couple congresses. first i would like to commend the epa for getting the rule out in time to meet the court ordered deadline. weighing in at over 700 pages, i'm sure it was no small undertaking. i would also like to acknowledge that in finalizing the rule the agency faced a genuine dilemma create an enforceable program for coal ash under title c and designate coal ash as a hazard waste or promulgate a self-implementing standards for managing coal ash as nonhazardous waste under
subtighting d. epa chose to regulate it under subtitle d which will help ensure coal ash continues to be beneficially reused. like this. hour because of the way is up title d is currently drafted epa didn't have the authority needed to create a permanent program for coal ash. the final rule lays out a program that will be enforced through citizen suits and will unavoidably lead to an unpredictable array of regulatory interpret tagss asations as judges throughout to the country will be forced to make extremely technical compliance decisions better left to a regulatory agency. final rule also sets up a dual regulatory program. epa strongly encourages, and i quote, that states -- for states to incorporate requirements into their solid waste management plans. however, it is currently drafted, it is not allowed state coal ash programs to operate in lieu of federal requirements in the final rule. meaning even if states adopt the
federal requirements or requirements that are more stringent, the federal requirements remain in place and utilities must comply with both state and federal requirements. there are some other provisions in the rule that are potentially troublesome and that we hope to discuss today including the retroactive application of location or siding restrictions and the requirement that unlined -- with no opportunity to remedy the problem through corrective action. last but not least, epa has removed flexibility of the correction action program as it exists for other programs under subtitle d. it is understandable that the agency may feel the need to tighten certain restrictions because the rule itself implementing. however, by removing flexibility regarding the boundary which compliance must be demonstrated and flexibility to determine the appropriate clean-up levels and eliminating cause and effect
that can be considered in completing corrective action, the final rule jeopardizes the future of risk based cleanup decisions at coal ash disposal units. the removal of this flexibility also creates uncertainty with respect to ongoing cleanups at coal ash disposal facilities. while we acknowledge the amount of time and effort epa put into drafting the final rule, because of the significant limitations of the rule we still believe that a legislative solution might be required that would set minimum federal ral standards and allow states to develop enforceable permanent programs to implement the standards which we think could still be the best approach in dealing with coal ash. i assure you that we intend to be thoughtful with respect to the requirements in the final rule and how they differ from the legislation that we move through this committee and the house during the last congress and we will update the legislation as necessary. as mr. stanislaus pointed out when he spoke with us last time, there are some important issues that our previously bills did not address, in particular
regulation of impoundments. we will address these units as we move forward. i would like to thank the administration for all the cooperation we've received to date on this issue. epa has been constructive and helpful both with our legislative efforts during the last congress and recently as we worked through the issues with the final rule. we appreciate all our witnesses for being here. i would also thank mr. mckinley who's been a driving force behind moving this legislation and for his continued leadership on this issue. would like to express my appreciation to all committee members for sticking with us as we continue to move forward with protective regulation for coal ash. >> thank you, chairman. at the outset let me indicate how pleased i am to be working on this subcommittee with you. i appreciate the fact that our respective parties have asked us to lead the efforts with what i think is very important work that comes under the overview of this subcommittee.
i believe we'll have a very productive year and session and look forward to it. so congratulations on your continued leadership. good morning and again thank you for holding this hearing. on the environmental protection agency's final rule to establish minimum national standards for the disposal of coal ash. over the years communities have been subjected to risks due to air and water pollution associated with inadequate management of coal ash disposal. spills resulting from coal ash impoundment failures have polluted water supplies, destroyed private and public properties, and resulted in lengthy and expensive cleanup efforts. i am certain that the residents of these unfortunate communities feel this rule is long overdue. epa is to be commended for its extensive process of public engagement on this issue. the agency sorted through over 450,000 public situations submitted during the public comment period on the rule and
held eight public hearings in communities across our country. epa's rule is responsive to industry concerns that classifying coal ash as hazardous waste would harm coal ash recycling efforts that utilize coal ash in new materials and new products. and it is responsive to the concerns of public let and environmental advocates. because, for the first time we have federal standards for coal ash disposal sites that will set a floor of protection for all communities. of course, the rule from either vantage point is not perfect, given the disparate opinions on what would constitute appropriate federal regulation of coal ash disposal, that is not too surprising. the rule has quieted the debate on this issue somewhat, but of course there are still deferring opinions about how coal ash should be classified and regulated, and we will hear some of these opinions here today. i would have preferred to see a stronger regulation given the substantial risks and tremendous
damage and costs of recent spills especially the one experienced in tennessee in 2008. but with this rule in place, states and utilities can begin to address deficiencies in disposal operations. communities will gain access to information about coal ash disposal facilities and have a benchmark from which to compare performance against expectations. now that the rule is final, the work of implementation begins. ultimately that is the only real test of whether this rule takes the correct approach or not. and it will take some time to evaluate whether its implementation will achieve the goals of safe management of coal ash disposal. i believe it is this subcommittee's job to continue in its oversight of this issue and others going forward. we will have witnesses today who will advocate for changes to this regulation or to the underlying law. i think that either approach is premature. i would observe that changes in
regulation or in law do indeed take a long time. and hitting the restart button now would only lead to continued uncertainty and risk. we have had far too much of those already. this rule was years in the making. as i said earlier i would have preferred to see a stronger regulation. but i am not willing to second-guess an approach that has yet to be implemented or evaluated. and once that rests on the extensive public engagement and negotiating process and years of work vefrinvested by the interested parties and the agency. this rule should move forward. we should give this approach an opportunity to work and monitor it closely to evaluate its effectiveness. so let's get on with it as we go forward, we will see how well this approach works. we certainly retain all options for action if it does not. i thank all of our witnesses for appearing today and for their invaluable contributions through the public process that moved this rule forward.
i thank our chair for calling this important hearing. i look forward to working with you on this issue. and the other issues in this jurisdiction of our subcommittee as we begin our work in this 114th congress. with that i yield back. >> i thank my colleague for his kind words. now i'd like to yield five words to the chairman of the full committee, mr. upton. >> thank you, mr. chairman. today our multi-year quest to solve the coal ash issue continues in this new congress and i want to fixparticularly thank all of our witnesses from appearing today and welcome back a frequent guest, epa and assistant administer stanislaus. you've worked clearly long and hard on coal ash and have always engaged with us very constructively. we appreciate that. navigating this issue is a tough job and in our view, much more difficult by gaps in current law. most of us can agree that coal ash does not warrant regulation as a hazardous material. i'm glad that epa agrees. but there's no authority in the law that allows for a state-based permitting program
for non-hazardous waste. when the federal court set a december 2014 deadline for epa to publish a final rule for coal ash, we looked at the legal constraints and questioned whether epa's rule would be the last word on the subject. we, along with some of the witnesses who we'll hear from today, are still asking the same thing and are left with even more questions. if we don't legislate, how will epa's rule be implemented and enforced? will there be a dual program in each state one federal and one state-based? can we expect a dramatic increase? in citizen suits? the current path leads to risks on both sides and could lead to greater uncertainty and expense. mr. mckinley's bipartisan bill in the last congress went a long way to solving the cal lengthshallenges with coal ash management. states like michigan were already running successful disposal programs and it allowed states to continue to use their localized regulatory expertise.
i appreciated epa's input in our legislative process. the agency acknowledged some of the advantages of our legislation and asked for some changes, many of which we made to the bill. our goal is to get the job done right and we're willing to discuss further changes to the legislation to ensure that we have a workable solution in place. we want to continue working with members on both -- in both bodies in both parties to achieve the best overall outcome. we'll continue to work with our stakeholders, the states, utilities co-ops, coal ash recyclers and other advocates. our goals are three fold. put the right protections in place, put coal ash generators in users straightforward standards and procedures to follow, and grant states the authority that they into ed to implement and enforce federal standards while taking into account distinct local conditions. mr. chairman, with all of the innovative ideas and continued refinement that has gone into legislation over the last couple
years, i welcome the opportunity to once again listen to stakeholders as we chart a path forward. i yield the balance of my time to mr. mckinley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this job creator to test uncertainty. let's make one thing clear, this regulation -- this proposed regulation does not provide certainty. now in the spirit of the super bowl upcoming let me explain with an analogy. if a quarterback knew what defense was going to be put up against him, he knew with certainly what defense, he would logarithmically be able to move the ball down the field much more easily if he knew with certainly what he faces. this is what applies in this regulation. it provides no certainty to the business community. let me give you three examples. you've already heard from our two chairmen talk about that. but let me reinforce it again. the rule results in potentially
conflicting federal and state requirements. federal judges in neighboring jurisdictions could make contradictory decisions regarding compliance. but more damaging is on page 18 of the rule. it says, "this rule defers a final determination until additional information is available." that's not acceptable. how many times must there be a final determination that can be handle a different way? in the 113th congress the house codified conclusions that were rendered in the '93 and 2000 reports offered by the epa certainty. we're trying to develop certainty. certainty not just to the business community but to the health of the people who we're trying to protect.
in fact, mr. stanislaus -- and i thank you invest much because we've had a good working relationship. you said in 2013 that the legislation that we passed was something that you could work with. we want to keep that relationship going to come up with certainty. so the bottom line unfortunately, we have a regulation that doesn't provide certainty. it would be wise for the committee to once again pass the legislation that we've done over the last two years and bring closure to this issue. thank you and i yield back my time. >> gentleman's time expired. >> it was nice saying that. so welcome. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also wanted to start by congratulating my colleague from new york, mr. tonko by continuing his role of ranking member on this important subcommittee. i think i can speak for all members on our side of the aisle when i say we appreciate your expertise and leadership on
environmental issues paul. let me just turn to topic today. i'd like to commend the epa for finalizing national criteria for coal ash disposal. these criteria will for the first time provide the framework for addressing this serious environmental problem. unsafe disposal of coal ash poses serious threats to human health and the environment. three primary risks are ground water contamination fugitive dust and catastrophic failure of wet impoundments. i am ha ep to see each of these risks is addressed in it the new rule. epa first determined national disposal criteria were needed for are coal ash in the year 2000. that was 15 years ago now. the need for this rule has only become clearer. we now have 157 documented cases of damage to human health and the environment from unsafe coal ash disposal. it is possible that with the monitoring required under this rule, that number will only go up because more contamination will be detected. this rule is the product of a robust public process including field hearings and several rounds of public comment.
it reflects the input of over 450,000 commenters, including states, industry groups environmental groups and individual concerned citizens. and it addresses many of the concerns of this subcommittee as heard in past hearings by proceeding under title d -- i'm sorry, subtitle d, epa addressed concerns about stigma raised by industry by laying out a framework for states to incorporate the regulations into existing programs, epa addressed state concerns and by requiring public reporting of monitoring data and addressing some legacy sites, epa addressed many concerns raised by environmental advocates. we'll hear today that not everyone is satisfied with the rule. certainly many in the environmental community argue that only a subtitle c rule would protect human health. and it is possible that the self-implementing nature of the rule could lead to inconsistent compliance. but as a whole the rule is an important step forward. the rule will offer important protections for human health and the environment, including many important protections that were not part of past legislative
proposals. as we look ahead in this subcommittee, i think the publication of this final rule changes our role. we're no longer called upon to set national criteria and statute because those criteria have been set through a robust transparent process. instead, we'll have to monitor compliance and conduct oversight of the rule's novel inplemtation of the structure. i look forward to the testimony and applaud the epa for the hard work. i yield back mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back his time. i want to thank my colleagues again. now i would like to recognize matthew stanislaus from the epa. thank you for coming. i think you heard from a lot of members of -- this is one issue we really appreciate the work that we've done together and we look to working with you more. you are recognized for five minutes. >> good morning members of the subcommittee. i am mattie stanislaus u.s. epa
assistant administer. i and my staff has had the privilege of working the last 5 1/2 years of getting it right, that is to put a rule in place that's protective and address risks that we have identified. on december 19th, as members know, epa finalized the coal ash rule. this rule established a first-ever national rule for the safe disposal of coal combustion residuals and landfill and surface impoundments. the 2008 catastrophic failure of the impoundment at the tennessee valley's kingston facility epa's risk assessment and the 157 cases has caused damage to human health as a result of mismanagement. clearly demonstrating improper management of coal ash poses an unacceptable risk to human hemt health and the environment. we believe this groundbreaking rule is a culmination on the extensive studies of coal ash on the environment and public health. rule establishes technical
requirements for landfills and surface impoundments under subtitle d of the resource conservation and recovery act. in developing this final rule, epa carefully evaluated more than 450,000 comments, testimony from eight public hearings, supplemented by three separate public comments on data which is the foundation of the rule. the rule is strong, effective approach that provides critical protection to communities across the nation by helping to protect water, land and air. the rule protects groundwater by requiring utilities to conduct groundwater monitoring, immediately cleaning up contaminated groundwater closing unlined impoundments that are contaminating groundwater, and requiring the installation of liners for new surface impoundments and landfills. it protects communities against catastrophic failure of impoundments by requiring specific design criteria. inspections and engineering
testing. and to retro fit closed impoundsmentsimpounds impoundments impoundments. further, states and communities will be provided information they need to fully engage in the rule's implementation. it requires utilities to post all information to help ensure states and the public have access to information on the public website to monitor u utilities compliance with the rule. the rule is designed to provide electric utilities and independent power producers generating coal ash with a practical approach for safe coal ash disposal and establish -- and has established reasonable implementation timelines for this to occur. we strongly recognize the important role that our state partners play in implementation and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations. epa's committed to working closely with our state partners on rule implementation and as a
major component of this rule states can align their programs with the federal rule by utilizing the solid waste management plan and process and submit revisions limited to incorporating the coal ash federal requirements for epa for approval. the solid waste management plan can demonstrate how the state program has incorporated the rule's minimum criteria utilizing state permit or other processes, and can highlight those areas where state regulations want to be more stringent or otherwise go beyond the federal minimum criteria. epa will be working with the states to develop a template for a streamlined process for developing and approving solid waste management plan. of course, the final rule does not preclude a state from adopting more stringent requirements should it choose to do so. i should note states will have adequate time to develop the solid waste management plan and seek epa's approval and conduct necessary public process.
because major elements of the rule is at least 18 months from today. further, the rule support beneficiary use of coal ash. the final rule does not change the current federal exemption more regulate coal ash that are beneficially used. the rule distinguishes between wishly used and disposal to provide certainty to the regulator community and to users of coal ash. we have separately established methodology for coal ash users to analyze their products and we have in fact applied that methodology to demonstrate that concrete -- that we have confirmed its continued use. i would close by noting that we believe this is a tremendous milestone to protect communities and the environment in i with we live and work and epa is committed to working with our state partners local communities and utilities on the implementation and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. now i'd like to recognize myself for five minutes for opening round of questions.
so again numerous times we appreciate your good effort and good work and we look forward to working with you. but just to get some clarification, we got your partner sitting behind clarification under the final rule, no permits will be issued, isn't that contradict? >> what we've identified utilizing the program, is the states can build a program, and submit that for epa to be approved. >> they can, but there's no requirement to there's no permitting process in the new rule? >> that is true. one the management is approved, there will be a singular point of compliance. utilities can then implement through the state program and we have been made clear in the preamble that compliance will demonstrate compliance. >> and you understand why we're
asking for that? federal standards, permitting process. that goes to mr. mckinley's point. they do not require to implement the requirements? >> well, they're not required, but the states have clearly called on us to figure out ways of aligning the federal departments with the program. that is why we've established the programs, the states can in fact integrate the minimum federal requirements that we've established within the state program program, seek epa's approval within that. >> neither epa nor the states can directly enforce the requirements in the nina rule, isn't that correct? >> that is correct. we believe utilizing the plan, the states can go forward and implement the requirements once a state's management plan is
approved or independently states can -- citizens can implement requirements of the rule. >> and under your rule, the only enforcement mechanism under the recent redugsed rule is through citizen suits and more litigation, is that correct? >> we actually believe again that the state management plan when approved will not result in excessive litigation there will be litigation enforced in those circumstance where states and others deem not to be compliant. >> you're more optimistic than i am. i guarantee you that. >> even if states adopt the federal rule utilities will have to comply with the state requirements and the federal rule, is that correct? >> well, the rule is directly applicable to utilities again, getting back to the management plan there, is an opportunity for the states to aligning and
integrate the federal minimum requirements into their program and seek the epa's approval for that. >> you understand the concern with this line of questioning it's kind of vague? they can or they might, kind of hope they do we hope there is an expectation they probably will. but there's -- it's not a lot of clarity. and then the other concern is, if you're relying on citizen suits or -- citizen suits will come, right? there's no doubt that they will come, and if they are region ali directed then you then have you can have a multiple standard construct throughout the country which isn't the same based upon the litigation and rulings in these different courts. isn't that a concern? >> well, we don't anticipate that. the rule is pretty specific in establishing a minimum federal requirement for protection of grounds water, for prevention of
catastrophic failure, for addressing dust. and so we don't think to move forward in implementing that epa approves the plan, we think there's going to be national consistency. >> you're more optimistic than i am. >> if the regulated facility applies more stringent, it's not the same as the requirement in the final rule will the regulated also have to comply with the federal requirements? >> i just want to clarify, if a state adopts more stringent adds to the federal requirement, gets an approval from epa the utilities would have to comply with fully the state requirement? and so that will demonstrate requirement for the federal requirements, and also additional requirements that the state chooses to add?
>> yes, and i think we're going to hear testimony that the next panel doesn't believe that's true. there will be a two fold process. the federal government and the state epa and that's one of the concerns we have with the rules. so good people can agree to disagree. and i would like to recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee for five minutes. >> thank you. >> good morning, and thank you for joining us. unsafe disposal of coal ash poses serious health issues to our environment. utilities and states have clear requirements to indeed follow. as i stated earlier, i would have preferred a stronger rule they have indicated they have deferred a stronger rule. i tend to agree i believe it will include some of the important safeguards. i appreciate you being here to
testify, i would like to go over some of the most important issues with you, to ensure that disposal sites are not located in dangerous airs, the rule puts in place five restrictions. i'd like to give you my restrictions and see if i'm interpreting them correctly. structures generally will not be allowed close to august weer ifs and wetlands in seismic impact zones. and in unstable areas. is that indeed correct? >> that is correct. we're going to have to do an analysis with respect to the location requirements. and demonstrate where they can safely operate and putting engineering measures to prevent any impacts. >> previous legislative proposals we've seen would have included only two of these five restrictions and included a smaller august weer if buffer. i appreciate the final rule includes these protected requirements. next, to protect air quality, the new final rule will require
facilities to develop dust control plans and prevent blowing by wetting or covering the dust or erecting wind barriers, is that correct? >> that is correct. to protect groundwater contamination, the rule requires requirements for three downgradient wells, is that correct? >> yes. >> why did the agency find it important to specify a minimum number of wells? >> well, the standard protocol to make sure that we fully understand the direction and potential impact to groundwater. >> okay. lastly, i would like to turn to the public disclosure requirements in this rule. the rule establishes a national floor for what information will be made publicly available and for how that will be done. utilities will have to maintain pages on the websites, the document their compliance, the wide range of criteria location
and design. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> these disclosures will be essential to providing transparency. although a subtitle c rule may have offered more protection, and more direct enforcement this rule will protect human health and the environment, and goes beyond past bills many i want to comment epa for finalizing this rule, and for the agency's conduct of the extensive public engagement in the course of this development. and with that i thank you for appearing here this morning and i yield back. >> gentleman yields back his time. the votes have been called. we have about ten minutes before a lot of us need to get there. that means five minutes on each side, and we'll recess and have folks come back to finish this panel. the chair now recognizes the vice chair.
congratulations on your elevation. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in light of the fact that the final rule requires the cleanup level to be the mcl or backup level. if the state chooses to incorporate risk establishment into the coal ash -- would it be more stringent than the final rule? >> let me break that down. we've integrated the same standard of the framework, we begin with protecting groundwater in all cases. however, you can look at in selecting the cleanup remedy, you can luke at this particular circumstance that is involved in the cleanup. in the same way that we provide all those on the ground factors, that can be brought to bear in these decisions, with respect to an approval of a cleanup plan,
again, in the epa's management plan the state can choose the cleanup plan. there is the ability for states to do that. >> let me just ask, if a state determines that there's no human receptor for the groundwater, and that a cleanup standard is appropriate, would that meet the minimum requirements? >> let me get back to you on that. >> you'll let us know? >> sure. >> i'll just yield back. >> the chair recognizes the ranking member of the committee for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman many there's no question that coal ash can pose serious risks when not disposed appropriately. many people in the room have spent the better part of a