Hatch Bill Targets Several Loopholes

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on February 28, 2011

My colleague Janice Kephart recently highlighted the tremendous risks of the visa lottery program in a recent blog here. Indeed, the visa lottery needlessly clogs the system with millions of applications (a portion of them multiple applications by the same applicant). More than 12 million people filed for this year's lottery – 55,000 visas – and almost 15 million applied for next year's lottery. The lottery generates plenty of fraud and abuse, as well as poses a threat to national security, as Mark Krikorian has noted.

Because Barbara Jordan's Commission on Immigration Reform recommended ending the visa lottery, it should be done post haste. It clearly falls outside of the national interest.

Shuttering the visa lottery program is what Sen. Orrin Hatch's bill, S. 332, would do. Similarly, Rep. Bob Goodlatte has sponsored legislation, H.R. 704, that also targets this program.

The Hatch legislation would take a number of other notable steps. Remember the Obama administration's backdoor amnesty that was exposed last summer? S. 332 would close off that avenue of abuse of power. Rather, the administrative exercise of not removing a deportable alien could only be granted on a case-by-case basis. Sen. Hatch's bill would also demand Homeland Security finally implement the mandatory exit-tracking portion of US-VISIT, the entry-exit system. This would help reduce the 40 percent of illegal immigration stemming from overstaying expired visas.

Another part of the Hatch bill would restore the sending of no-match letters to employers with a worker whose name and Social Security number don't match each other. The IRS would also have to start notifying the person whose Social Security number was in use by someone else (oftentimes an illegal alien). Further, S. 332 would enable prosecutors to go after criminals using someone else's identity in committing another felony, whether the criminal knew the information belonged to someone else or not. This would address the problem of illegal aliens obtaining fake IDs with other people's identity information, but facing no consequences for it. And S. 332 would stop liberal states from putting aliens ahead of American citizens for Medicaid and CHIP coverage. A state would first have to show coverage of at least 90 percent of its eligible U.S. citizen residents and prove it was not substituting federal monies for state dollars (that is, being overly generous to immigrants with federal taxpayer dollars).

In short, the Hatch bill addresses a lot of problems that add up to huge weaknesses that harm and threaten America and Americans.