Hoeven-Corker Amendment – Long on Amnesty, Short on Everything Else

By Ronald W. Mortensen on June 24, 2013

The Hoeven-Corker amendment has been incorporated into the full text of the amnesty bill (S. 744) expanding it from its original 800-plus pages to just under 1,200 pages.

The first thing that jumps out about the Senate's desperate attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform is just how similar this process is to the 1986 amnesty, which granted illegal aliens citizenship with a promise of future border security and restrictions on the employment of illegal aliens. And we all know how well that worked out!

The second thing of note is just how similar the Senate process for passing comprehensive immigration reform is to the process that was used to pass Obamacare. First, sponsors bring forth a huge bill at the last minute that has to be passed in order to know what is in it. Then they bribe senators with special deals similar to the Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase in the case of Obamacare. Next, they buy the support of business by giving them special benefits and throwing huge amounts of taxpayer money at them. And finally they sacrifice the interests of millions of innocent American citizens for the benefit of powerful political and business interests.

Corker's explanation of his amendment reveals just how bad this amendment and the underlying bill are:


The amendment contains tangible, concrete triggers which ensure that Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPIs) cannot receive Green Cards until at least 10 years after the enactment of the bill, AND the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Inspector General, and GAO, certifies that:

  • An unprecedented surge of an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents are deployed, maintained and stationed along the southern border, more than doubling the current force.

This surge does not occur for years, if ever, after illegal aliens are granted what they and their supporters want — legal status in the United States which occurs immediately.

The bill grants amnesty (Registered Provisional Status) to 11 million illegal aliens before the first new Border Patrol agent is hired and virtually guarantees that the borders will never be secured because once illegal aliens have legal status, they and their supporters know that citizenship will eventually be granted whether the border is secured or not.

Employers have what they want as well — 11 million low cost RPI workers and a huge new source of foreign labor — with no incentive to close the border since it will provide employers with still another source of foreign workers if legal immigration doesn't meet their demands both in terms of numbers and low costs.

And even if 20,000 border agents are be hired there is no assurance that they won't be prevented from effectively controlling the border by elected officials who are beholden to lobbyists and big donors. Thus, the focus is totally on inputs, not results.

  • The Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy is deployed and operational, which includes, at a minimum, full implementation and activation of the $4.5 billion in specific technology and equipment requested by the Border Patrol to achieve full surveillance of the border.

This expenditure will in all likelihood be made since it is what the host of Bloomberg TV's "Capitol Gains" labeled a "pathway to profit for federal contractors". However, the only requirement is that the strategy be fully implemented and activated. There is no requirement that it work as advertised or that it actually slows the flow of illegal aliens. Thus, the focus is totally on inputs rather than on results.

  • The Southern Border Fencing Strategy has been implemented, and at least 700 miles of fencing has been completed along the southern border. (There are 350 miles of pedestrian fencing already deployed along the southern border. This amendment would double that and ensure a total of 700 miles of fencing along the border.)

Congress passed legislation and funding to construct fencing along the border several years ago but the Bush and Obama administrations did not do it. Why will it be different this time?

Even if it is completed, there is no requirement that it be effective and stop the flow of illegal immigrants. Thus, the focus is on inputs and not on results.

  • The mandated electronic visa entry/exit system has been fully implemented at all air and sea ports of entry where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are currently deployed, which will improve the identification of those who overstay their visas.

Congress has mandated a visa entry/exit system for years; however, nothing has been done. What guarantee is there that it will be done this time? Can the federal government be trusted to do what it says?

  • E-Verify is being used by all employers in the country, making it virtually impossible to work in the United States illegally.

The amendment delays the full use of E-Verify for years while allowing illegal aliens to get RPI status almost immediately. During that time, employers will be free to hire a new wave of illegal aliens rather than employing RPIs, legal immigrants, or American citizens who will demand higher wages and benefits.

The amendment also allows the continued trade in forged Social Security numbers and the use of stolen identities of American children for employment purposes for years into the future.

Only after ALL FIVE of these requirements have been fully implemented AND at least 10 YEARS have passed can RPIs apply for a green card.

This is a meaningless statement since the 2016 presidential campaign will see the Democrat presidential candidate accuse the Republican candidate of discriminating against millions of Hispanics who are being unfairly denied citizenship and treated as second class "citizens".

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.), supported by a chorus of Republican strategists, will call for immediate citizenship for RPIs in order to save the Republican Party even though none of the border security or E-Verify provisions will have been or will ever be implemented.


Visa overstays currently account for 40 percent of those unlawfully present in our country. This problem goes largely unaddressed because individuals identified as unlawfully present are not systematically removed. The administration has not considered their removal a priority and, in many cases, has established policies to delay their removal. The underlying bill improves the identification of overstays through a fully implemented entry/exit system. The Hoeven-Corker amendment goes a step further by mandating the initiation of removal proceedings for at least 90 percent of visa overstays — holding DHS accountable for failing to enforce the law and targeting an issue that is at the core of a policy of de facto amnesty.

Again, Congress has mandated a visa entry/exit system for years; however, nothing has been done. What guarantee is there that it will be done this time and that individuals overstaying their visas will be identified and removed? Can the federal government be trusted to do what it says given its failure to enforce current immigration laws and will Congress provide effective oversight given its demonstrated inability to control the IRS and other executive agencies?


  • The amendment would prevent immigrants who used a fraudulent or false Social Security number while they were unlawfully present from getting Social Security credits for that period. (pp. 218-221)

The bill still gives the estimated 75 percent of illegal aliens who use fraudulent or false Social Security numbers total amnesty from felony forgery, felony Social Security fraud, felony perjury on I-9 forms, and felony identity theft charges. And it still prohibits federal employees from reporting these crimes by imposing a criminal penalty and a $10,000 fine if they should report them. (pp. 206-207)

The amendment does nothing for the literally millions of Americans, including huge numbers of innocent American children, who are victims of illegal alien, employment-related identity theft. It leaves these Americans to recover their good names and identities without any substantial assistance from their government.

Finally, the amendment does not require employers who failed to collect and submit payroll taxes to pay back taxes and/or face criminal charges for their actions. (p. 196) And it still prohibits federal employees from reporting these crimes under a criminal penalty of a $10,000 fine. (pp. 206-207) Thus, employers receive total amnesty from their crimes.

  • The amendment would restrict certain non-immigrant visa holders, such as tourists and foreign students, from accessing Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA — the president's health care law) benefits. (pp. 996-997)

It restricts "certain" non-immigrant visa holders. Does this mean that "certain" non-visa holders will be eligible for emergency Medicaid and other programs? If so, which ones and how many?

  • The amendment would provide that the Department of Health and Human Services may not grant waivers to states to allow them to use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars to give cash assistance benefits to people in RPI status. (pp. 460-462)

The American-born children of people in RPI status will continue to be eligible for these benefits. Therefore, individuals in RPI status who are paid wages below a certain level will still qualify indirectly for these programs through their American-born children and American taxpayers will continue to subsidize employers who pay wages that are not sufficient for RPI's to meet their families' needs.

If Hoeven and Corker were serious about limiting welfare benefits, they would require that employers pay RPIs a wage sufficient to put them above the qualifying level for these welfare programs. And they would require that employers cover all medical costs for their RPI employees.