Immigration Group Bashes Deferred Action, Other 'Amnesties'

But the CIS analysts said they think fraud is a part of any "amnesty" program, and new reforms are worthless without adequate enforcement of existing policies.

The White House plans to push back against the idea that immigration reform amounts to amnesty, according to a recent report in The New York Times. "The White House will argue that its solution for illegal immigrants is not an amnesty, as many critics insist, because it would include fines, the payment of back taxes and other hurdles for illegal immigrants who would obtain legal status."

Despite the allegations of fraud in the deferred action program, relatively few people have applied thus far. Of the more than 1.7 million people the Pew Hispanic Center estimated would be eligible, fewer than 400,000 had applied by mid-December.

David North, a fellow at CIS, said that previous efforts at immigration reform, such as the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), were too complicated and that any reforms should be smaller and more narrowly targeted. North added that there "should be no programs specifically for farmworkers," and called for an end to programs that allow people to bring family members into the country.

He said the agriculture industry's claims that American workers won't do the jobs currently filled by migrant farm workers could be solved by forcing the industry to pay workers more and facilitating transportation to farms. As an example, he said that buses could run from inner cities to fields to pick crops.

CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian said that fines and other penalties in any immigration bill are only there to get Republican votes, and that there will "certainly be waivers."

"It's window dressing," he said.

While CIS opposes some current immigration policies, including DACA, as amnesty, the center supports policies aimed at enforcement.

"We have built some good systems to control immigration, but this is hardly the formidable machinery or foundation that is necessary before we can put any kind of legalization program in place," said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the center.

Vaughan called for nationwide implementation of E-Verify, a federal employment verification program, and the deportation of people not approved for immigration programs such as DACA.

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