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Chris Coons on Immigration

 

 


No pathway to citizenship; but pathway to legal residency

Q: A pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, you support that, right?

COONS: No. I support a pathway to being here legally. We've got roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the US today. This is a huge problem. And immigration is a federal responsibility. But we need to recognize the situation we're in. There are whole industries that rely on the labor of those who are here illegally. My path forward on immigration would be, strengthen the borders. Second, hold employers accountable, particularly those who routinely employ folks who are here illegally, by giving them Real ID that can work. And then allow those who are here illegally and do not commit further crimes to come out of the shadows if they will pay taxes, learn English, pay a fine, and go to the back of the line. I would give them a path towards legal residence. I think there's more they'd have to do to ever earn citizenship.

O'DONNELL: Again, he's back tracking on things that he had said earlier on the campaign trail.

Source: CNN's Wolf Blitzer moderating 2010 Delaware Senate debate , Oct 13, 2010

Supports comprehensive federal immigration reform

Chris strongly believes in the need for comprehensive federal immigration reform.
Source: Delaware Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test , Sep 25, 2010

Supports granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Coons supports the F2A survey question on amnesty

Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants '

Source: Faith2Action Survey 10-FF-q12b on Sep 19, 2010

Supports full implementation of current border security laws.

Coons supports the F2A survey question on borders

Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Full implementation of current border security laws'

Source: Faith2Action Survey 10-FF-q12c on Sep 19, 2010

Allow more visas for STEM college graduates.

Coons co-sponsored Attracting the Best and Brightest Act

Source: HR6412/S3553 12-HR6412 on Sep 14, 2012

Provide lawyers and evidence for children being deported.

Coons co-sponsored S.2540/H.R.4646

This bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint or provide counsel at government expense to aliens in removal proceedings.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall provide an alien in removal proceedings with all relevant documents in its possession, unless the alien has knowingly waived the right to such documents.
  • DOJ may appoint or provide counsel to aliens in any INA proceeding.
  • DHS shall ensure that aliens have access to counsel inside all immigration detention and border facilities.
  • DOJ shall appoint counsel, at government expense if necessary, for an unaccompanied alien child or a particularly vulnerable individual.
  • DHS shall establish a pilot program to increase the court appearance rates of unaccompanied alien children and particularly vulnerable individuals by contracting with nongovernmental, community-based organizations to provide such aliens with case management services.
    Source: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act 16-S2540 on Feb 11, 2016

    Terminate national emergency at the Southern border.

    Coons voted YEA Joint Resolution on Proclamation 9844

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 is hereby terminated.

    Proclamation 9844 issued by the president on Feb. 15, 2019: Declares a state of national emergency at the southern border to address the issues of illegal immigration and criminal trafficking into the US: "The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency. The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics. The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch's exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years. Because of the gravity of the current emergency situation, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis."

    Opposing the Proclamation (supporting the Resolution), ACLU press release, 2/15/2019 The ACLU issued the following statement upon filing a lawsuit: "By the president's very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall 'faster.' This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy."

    Legislative outcome Passed House 245-182-5 roll #94 on Feb. 26; pass Senate 59-41 roll #49 on March 14; Vetoed by Pres. Trump; veto override failed, 248-181-3 (2/3 required), roll #127 on March 26

    Source: Supreme Court case 19-HJR46 argued on Feb 26, 2019

    Increase both high-skill and family-based visa caps.

    Coons co-sponsored the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act

    Legislative SummaryThis bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China. The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.

    Explanation from the Countable.US: Under the current immigration system, immigrants from any one country can claim no more than 7% of the 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually to foreign nationals working in the U.S. This significantly disadvantages immigrants from larger countries that more immigrants come from.

    For example, China (population 1.3 billion) and India have large backlogs of workers wishing to immigrate to and work in the U.S., but they have the name visa caps as countries such as Iceland or Estonia (population 1.3 million), which have both much smaller populations and far fewer citizens seeking to immigrate to the U.S.

    The net effect of this is that immigrants from India and China can face decades-long waits, averaging 2-3 times the wait times for immigrants from other countries, for green cards, and many have to return home because they can't get permanent residency; meanwhile, countries such as Iceland and Estonia never come close to reaching their visa limit caps.

    Legislative outcome Roll call 437 in House on 7/10/2019 passed 365-65-2; referred to Committee in Senate 7/9/2019; no action as of 1/1/2020.

    Source: S.386/H.R.1044 19-HR1044 on Feb 7, 2019

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