Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) on Wednesday announced plans to introduce legislation that would overhaul the U.S. immigration system by placing tighter restrictions on legal immigration and increasing pressure on illegal immigrants currently in the country to leave.
“Throughout the immigration debate, out of touch amnesty-only critics of enforcement have tried to hide behind their cry of ‘what is your solution?’ Well this week we will show them and the president what immigration reform should look like and what the American people deserve,” Tancredo said in a statement announcing the proposal.
Tentatively dubbed the Optimizing Visa Entry Rules and Demanding Uniformed Enforcement (OVERDUE) bill, Tancredo’s proposal would “restor[e] America’s immigration system to more traditional numbers and encourages the assimilation of America’s most recent great wave.”
Tancredo, a long-shot candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, acknowledged that his proposal “will undoubtedly be unpopular among the political elites, big business and big labor, but it is legislation that this country has been calling for, and I dare say, needs.”
Tancredo’s proposal uses indirect measures to encourage undocumented residents to leave on their own. The bill would eliminate “chain migration,” tighten the employment-based green card category, and limit automatic birthright citizenship to those with at least one parent who is a citizen or legal permanent resident.
Other provisions of the proposal include suspending the Visa Waiver Program and prohibiting states from granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, according to a summary provided by Tancredo’s office.
It also requires federal immigration authorities to assist state and local law enforcement officials in enforcing immigration laws. The bill does not include provisions addressing the construction of a fence along the U.S. border with Mexico, because the funding for the fence has already been approved by Congress and including it in this bill would be “redundant and unnecessary.”
The final version of the bill is still under construction by Tancredo’s office and should be submitted to Congress later this week.
‘Status quo is a problem that must be addressed’
Carlos Espinosa, a spokesman for Tancredo, acknowledged in an email to Cybercast News Service that “considering the nature of this Democrat Congress, it is fairly unlikely that this bill will truly pick up steam.”
Tancredo’s spokesman said making it more difficult to move into the United States legally would not increase motivation for illegal border crossings.
“History has shown that a decrease in legal immigration goes hand in hand with a decrease in illegal immigration,” Espinosa said. “Further, once our borders are properly secured, and we enforce our laws to the fullest extent, illegal immigration will also decrease.”