(Ms. Kephart recently returned from a Special Counsel position with the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she advised and supported Senator Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) work during the committee’s consideration of immigration legislation.)
The national security implications of the recently passed Senate immigration bill, S.744 (the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act”) are pervasive. The kinds of damage that S.744 would do to national security, if passed, are manifold and are at least as bad as the border security provisions that have received significant attention.
S.744’s provisions are aggressive in downgrading national security, displacing well-established immigration legal and policy safeguards. Much of the current law (drafted by President Clinton’s Department of Justice) evolved from the clear provisions of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. That Act significantly strengthened Immigration and Nationality Act based on the immigration facts and circumstances of the conspirators who committed the February 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, which focused on enabling law enforcement to address immigration violations in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. S.744 also eliminates key immigration measures created in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks primarily to keep terrorists from gaining access to the United States or embedding and procuring legal immigration status if already here.