Issue Toolkit:

Immigration

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Our Position

Heritage Action supports immigration-related legislation that addresses these four principles: enforcing U.S. immigration law, securing our border, opposing amnesty, and implementing merit-based legal immigration reform.

Background Information

America welcomes more than one million legal immigrants every year who go through a long vetting process. However, the current immigration system is broken due to a combination of outdated legal immigration rules and lax enforcement that exacerbates lawlessness.

America’s borders aren’t secure, and temporary visas are routinely misused. The current system also opens the door for extended family members to get citizenship (also known as chain migration), rather than favoring a merit-based immigration system that rewards education and employability. Other immigration programs like the diversity visa lottery are completely disconnected from America’s economic interests.

The House Committee on Appropriations recently adopted several amendments to the Fiscal Year 2019 Homeland Security Funding Bill that would compromise the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.

These amendments would exacerbate certain problem areas within the current immigration system. The first amendment, from Rep. Price (D-N.C.), expands asylum status definitions and breaks the current standards of asylum, further complicating what it means to enter the country as an “asylum seeker.”

A second amendment, from Rep. Yoder (R-Kan.) and Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), formalizes “catch and release” by adding language that allows illegal aliens to be released

Two additional “poison pill” amendments from Rep. Aguilar (D-Calif.) prioritize amnesty over long-standing immigration law. Both amendments prohibit funds for the removal of DACA recipients.

Rather than granting sweeping amnesty, as many on the left demand, it is critical the executive and legislative branches learn from past mistakes and work together to build consensus around an immigration policy that makes sense for all 320 million Americans. The American people deserve an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the rule of law, and works for our economy.

Key Talking Points

  • Secure our Borders and Enforce Existing Immigration Law. The DHS spending bill should provide adequate funding for the southern border; and provide ICE, Border Patrol, and the Coast Guard the necessary resources to enforce the law on the border.

  • Oppose Amnesty. A provision in the DHS spending bill prohibits funding for the removal of non-citizens who are DACA recipients. Allowing amnesty to continue creates a vicious cycle that increases expectations for future amnesties while encouraging lawlessness.

  • Reform Legal Immigration. Necessary reforms include a rational skills-based migration system, addressing family separation, and ending chain migration.

  • Oppose asylum expansion. A provision in the DHS spending bill would expand the definition of asylum to include “credible fear.” This extremely low threshold would open our borders to many foreigners living in an area with high crime rates. Asylum is for those suffering from targeted persecution and is not a tool to remedy another nation’s poor policing.

Call Notes

These are notes to use when calling your member of Congress. Always remember to make these notes your own and include a personal story if you have one relating to the topic. You can find their phone number on the Heritage Action Scorecard.


Hi, this is [NAME] from [CITY].

I’m calling to ask [MEMBER OF CONGRESS] to secure our borders, close loopholes, and enforce existing immigration law.

The final DHS appropriations bill needs to fully fund President Trump’s request for border wall funding and provide increased funding for internal enforcement of our immigration laws.

I am calling to ask you to oppose the following amendments in the FY 2018 DHS appropriations bill that double down on loopholes in our immigration law:

- Price Amendment, which changes the definition of "asylum" to allow for greater abuse of the asylum process.

- Yoder/Roybal-Allard Amendment, which promotes “catch and release” of illegal immigrants.

- Both Aguilar Amendments which prohibit funding for the removal of illegal-immigrants.

Additionally, we need common-sense reforms such as a skills-based immigration system and an end to chain migration.

Please tell [MEMBER OF CONGRESS] to oppose a DHS funding bill that does not include President Trump’s border wall funding, internal enforcement, and loophole fixes in U.S. immigration law. These positions are supported by the majority of Americans and this is why they elected their members to Congress.

Thank you for passing along my message.

Take Action

Social Posts (remember to insert the social handle of your member)

.@MEMBER The DHS spending bill should provide adequate funding for the southern border, and provide ICE, Border Patrol, and the Coast Guard the necessary resources to enforce the law on the border. #Immigration #BorderSecurity

It’s time for Congress to make #BorderSecurity and internal enforcement priorities when it comes to immigration. @MEMBER please put Americans’ safety first.

.@MEMBER we must secure our borders and stop illegal amnesty before Department of Homeland Security funding expires on December 7.

#Amnesty proposals reward law-breakers and encourage illegal immigration. @MEMBER Americans deserve stand-alone legislation that addresses our broken immigration system.

Changing the definition of asylum opens the doors to false claims and threatens the safety of those who seek to enter the country to escape the most extreme dangers. @MEMBER, please oppose the Price Amendment to the DHS spending bill.

.@MEMBER The work done by the men and women of ICE is essential to America's border security and #immigration system. Congress now has the opportunity to support ICE and ensure that our borders are safe. #bordersecurity

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