BILL WOULD END THE ABILITY OF DHS TO USE LEGAL IMMIGRATION SERVICE FEES TO FUND AMNESTY
June 17, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the Immigration Slush Fund Elimination Act to eliminate the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ability to use the fees it collects for the provision of legal immigration services to fund amnesty. The bill would also restore congressional authority over the appropriations process and refocus the agency on its core national security mission.
“America has always been a land of refuge and opportunity for those seeking freedom, and we should champion legal immigration,” said Sen. Cruz. “Ronald Reagan referred to legal immigrants, immigrants like my father, as Americans by choice. The federal government should not be in the business of looting the wallets of those who followed the law and came here legally to fund the President’s illegal and unconstitutional amnesty. This bill will cut off DHS’s credit card and put Congress back in charge of funding the agencies responsible for immigration.”
Specifically the Immigration Slush Fund Elimination Act would do the following:
- End DHS’s ability to fund lawlessness. The Obama Administration’s DHS, via its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has admitted it uses so-called offsetting accounts (which function like agency checking accounts) to take the fees it charges legal immigrants and use them to fund amnesty and other activities that Congress has not authorized. In recent congressional testimony, USCIS Chief Financial Officer Joseph Moore confirmed that USCIS can access more than $1 billion in fee-based funding, and that it used those funds to pay for an unauthorized amnesty processing center in Arlington, Va. Eliminating the ability of USCIS to use the money it collects to support amnesty and other unauthorized activities is a first step toward reining in the executive branch’s lawless approach to immigration.
- Restore congressional authority over DHS and immigration issues. By eliminating the offsetting accounts under USCIS’s control, Congress would end USCIS’s ability to self-fund. This would reduce USCIS’s ability to ignore the people’s representatives and restore respect for the Constitution’s separation of powers and the legislative power of the purse.
- Eliminate DHS’s profit incentive, which distracts from the agency’s core national security mission. Right now, USCIS has an incentive to process as many immigration benefits as possible, without regard to consequences. While legal immigration should be celebrated and supported, the agency’s desire to collect more fee-based revenue – along with its unrestricted ability to keep and use those fees – arguably interferes with USCIS’s objective review of application processing. Removing the focus on fees and revenue will once again focus USCIS on its core responsibilities, including protecting our national security and preventing immigration benefit fraud.