IMMIGRATION

The Hill: Ryan’s Vice Presidential Prospects Could Be Hurt By “Mean Spirited” Votes On Immigration Bills. According to The Hill, “Controversial votes to crack down on illegal immigrants could hurt the chances of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) or Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) landing on the Republican presidential ticket. The two men are rising stars in the GOP believed to be on the shortlist of possible running mates for Mitt Romney. But their prospects could be endangered by their votes on legislation that pro-immigrant advocates describe as ‘mean-spirited’ and still sparks anger among Hispanic voters.” [The Hill, 5/10/12]  Ryan Supported Border Security Bill To Criminalize Violations Of Federal Immigration Law. According to The Hill, “Ryan voted in December of 2005 for a border security bill sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) that pro-immigrant advocates describe as the most outrageous antiimmigrant and anti-Latino legislation of the past decade. The bill, which did not pass the Senate, would have criminalized violations of federal immigration law and shifted enforcement responsibility to state and local authorities. Illegal immigrants who violated certain provisions would have been listed in a national crime information database. The legislation prompted mass protests by Hispanics nationwide several months after it passed the House.” [The Hill, 5/10/12]

Border Security
Paul Ryan Voted For Study of Security Systems on US-Canadian Border. On September 14, 2006, Paul Ryan voted to require the Homeland Security Department to prevent the entry of terrorists, unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband along the nation’s international borders. It would authorize the construction of approximately 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border. The bill would require a study of implementing security systems along the U.S.-Canadian border and direct the agency to evaluate the ability of personnel to stop fleeing vehicles at the border. The bill passed 283-138. [Roll Call 446, H 6061, 09/14/2006] Ryan Supported Fence along Southern Border. In 2006, Ryan voted in favor of a bill to build both a physical and virtual fence along the US-Mexico border. The bill, which was essentially patched together from provisions of the GOP’s 2005 immigration bill, would authorize construction of a 700 mile double-layered fence on the Southwestern border as well as a “virtual fence” made up of unmanned aerial vehicles, ground sensors, cameras and other surveillance technology. Democrats questioned the motives of the Republicans bringing the bill to the floor, particularly since the authorization bill carried no funding with it. The bill passed 283-138. [Roll Call 446, H 6061, 09/14/2006; CQ Today, 9/13/06] Ryan Voted for Republican Border Fence, Immigration Enforcement Plan. In 2005, Ryan voted in favor of legislation to tighten border controls and prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs. Under the measure, employers would have to confirm the authenticity of employees’ Social Security numbers against a national database or face stiff fines of as much as $25,000 per violation. The measure would end the “catch and release” policy for immigrants other than Mexicans caught entering the country illegally and then released with a court date. Criminal penalties for smuggling immigrants would be stiffened with new mandatory minimum sentences, and local sheriffs in the 29 counties along the Mexican border would be reimbursed for detaining illegal immigrants and turning them over to federal custody. Finally, the bill authorized more than $2.2 billion to build five double-layer border fences along the U.S.-Mexico border, totaling 698 miles at $3.2 million a mile. The bill passed 239-182. [Roll Call 661, H 4437, 12/16/2005; Washington Post, 12/17/05]

Criminalization
Ryan Voted for Republican Immigration Bill that Makes Persons or Organizations that Help Illegal Immigrants, Including Charitable Organizations, Felons. In 2005, Ryan voted in favor of final passage of legislation to tighten border controls and prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs. The bill would build hundreds of miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, require that businesses verify the legality of all employees’ status through a national database, fortify border patrols, and declare illegal immigrants and those who help them to be felons. The felony provision was controversial, making millions of illegal immigrants in this country felons and anyone who aids them felons as well, including charitable and religious organizations that may help illegals. According to the New York Times, “The border security measure would for the first time make it a federal crime to live in the United States illegally, a provision that would turn millions of undocumented immigrants into felons. Currently, living in this country illegally is a violation of civil immigration law, not criminal law. The bill would require the mandatory detention of many immigrants ... and broaden the immigrant-smuggling statute to include employees of social service agencies and church groups who offer services to illegal workers.” The motion passed 239-182. [Roll Call 661, H 4437, 12/16/2005; Washington Post, 12/17/05, 4/12/06; New York Times, 12/17/05] Ryan Voted to Increase Penalties on Illegal Immigrants. In December 2005, Ryan voted in favor of a bill that would increase security at the international border and at ports of entry into the United States. It would designate illegal migration as a criminal, rather than a civil, offense. It also would increase penalties for a variety of immigration-related crimes. It would create a mandatory program under which all employers would have to verify employees’ work eligibility with the federal government. As amended, it would require the construction of security fencing, including lights and cameras, along certain ports of entry along the U.S.Mexico border. The bill passed 239-182. [Roll Call 661, H 4437, 12/16/2005]

Driver’s License and Passports
Ryan Supported REAL ID Bill Toughening Driver’s License Standards. In 2005, Ryan voted in favor of final passage of a bill to virtually bar states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, tighten the rules for asylum and close a hole in the border fence between California and Mexico. The bill would require states to verify that any driver’s license applicant was residing legally in the U.S. before issuing a license that could be used for purposes of federal identification. That would mean states could issue licenses to illegal immigrants -- as 11states now do -- but those licenses could not be used to board airplanes in the United States, open bank accounts or enter federal buildings. The legislation would also increase the burden of proof that applicants for asylum must meet and would restrict the right of judges to review decisions by immigration officials at the borders to reject asylum applications. The motion passed 261-161. [Roll Call 31, H 418, 02/10/2005; Los Angeles Times, 2/11/05] Ryan Voted To Eliminate Country-Based Caps On The Number Of Employment Visas Issued Annually. On November 29, 2011, Ryan voted to eliminate country-based caps on the number of employment visas issued annually. According to Congressional Quarterly Today, “House lawmakers on Tuesday signed off on legislation that supporters say will spur economic growth by helping U.S. businesses hire highly skilled legal immigrants. The bipartisan bill (HR 3012), which passed 389-15, would eliminate country-based caps on the number of employment visas issued annually and boost similar limits for immigrants sponsored by a spouse or relative in the United States. It would not increase the total annual admission numbers.” [Roll Call 860, H 3012, 11/29/2011]

DREAM Act
Ryan Voted Against The DREAM Act, Which Aimed To Provide Pathway To Citizenship For Children Of Undocumented Immigrants. According to The Hill, “Ryan also voted against the DREAM Act, which Democratic leaders brought to the House floor at the end of 2010. It would have provided illegal immigrants who came to the country at a young age a pathway to citizenship if they met certain requirements.” [The Hill, 5/10/12] Ryan Voted Against The DREAM Act. According to Gannett News Service, “If approved, the [DREAM Act] would allow immigrants brought to the United States before age 16 who have lived here for at least five years and graduated from high school or obtained a general equivalency diploma to become temporary legal residents. They could seek citizenship if they complete at least two years of college or serve in the military. The House passed the measure 216-198, largely along party lines. All five Wisconsin Democrats -- Tammy Baldwin, Steve Kagen, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore and Dave Obey -- voted for it. Republicans Tom Petri, Paul Ryan and James Sensenbrenner voted against it.” [Gannett News Service, 12/17/10] Ryan Said The DREAM Act Because It Failed To Fix The “Root Causes” Of Immigration Problems. According to Gannett News Service, “Ryan, R-Janesville, said that while he found some merit in the bill, he voted against it because it ‘attempts to treat a symptom, rather than the root causes of our immigration problems.’ ‘Instead of accepting the false premise that a vote against the DREAM Act is a vote against reform,’ Ryan added, ‘I will continue to pursue a larger conversation on how to improve our immigration system.’” [Gannett News Service, 12/17/10] Christine Neumann-Ortiz Of Workers Rights Group “Voces De La Frontera” Accused Ryan Of “Caving In” To Xenophobic Element Of The GOP. According to Gannet News Service, “Ryan’s vote didn’t sit well with Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee-based workers’ rights and community activist group. She accused him of ‘caving in to the most xenophobic element of the Republican Party.’ Neumann-Ortiz was arrested Nov. 29 along with two others after they refused to leave Ryan’s Racine office in an act of civil disobedience over the DREAM Act. ‘It’s a big issue because it’s something that’s good for the country,’ Neumann-Ortiz said. ‘It’s investing in young people who you’ve already invested in, and it makes no sense for anyone to oppose this bill.’” [Gannett News Service, 12/17/10] Ryan Voted Against the DREAM Act, Which Would Allow a Pathway to Citizenship for Immigrant Children. On December 18, 2010, Ryan voted against the DREAM Act. This legislation would provide a pathway to legal residency for hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents. Specifically, this legislation would allow young immigrants to attend college or join the U.S. military for two years and start their pathway to American citizenship. Supporters say the bill would send more people to college, boost military recruitment and is important for law enforcement efforts. Critics have denounced the bill as a mass amnesty plan and that “at its fundamental core is a reward for illegal activity”, according to Sen. Jeff Session (R.Ala.). Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “Immigrants are fueling this country. Without immigrants America would be like Europe and Japan with an aging population and no young people to come in and take care of it. We have to educate our immigrants. The DREAM Act is one way we can do this.” [Roll Call 625, H 5281, 12/08/2010; Color Lines, 9/20/10; Politico, 12/18/10; The White House]

Funding
Ryan Voted to Deny Financial Assistance for Illegal Immigrants. In May 2008, Ryan voted in favor of an amendment to a bill providing grants and loans to rehabilitate foreclosed properties. The amendment

clarified that illegal immigrants would be ineligible for financial assistance under the bill. The underlying legislation would authorize a loan and grant program for the purchase and rehabilitation of owner-vacated, foreclosed homes. Of the funds, $7.5 billion would be for loans, and $7.5 billion would be for grants. The amendment passed 391-33 [Roll Call 297, H 5818, 05/08/2008; CQ Bill Analysis]

Local Enforcement
Ryan Supported Local Law Enforcement’s Authority on Illegal Immigration. In 2006, Ryan voted in favor of the Immigration Law Enforcement Act, which would reaffirm the authority of state and local law enforcement to arrest, detain and transfer to federal custody illegal immigrants. It asked the Justice Department to increase the number of attorneys prosecuting immigrant smuggling cases. It also closed loopholes that have led to “catch and release” policies in which illegal immigrants, mainly non-Mexicans, were released because they could not be immediately deported. The bill passed 277-140. [Roll Call 468, H 6095, 09/21/2006; Associated Press, 9/21/06] Ryan Voted Against Requiring Hospitals to Document the Immigration Status of Patients Seeking Emergency Care. In May 2004, Ryan voted against a bill that would have required hospitals to document the immigration status of patients seeking emergency health care services. If the patient were in the U.S. illegally, the hospital would have been required to collect identifying information, including photographs and fingerprints, and the name of the patient’s employer. The president of the California Health Care Association, C. Duane Dauner, said of the bill, “Nurses and doctors are in the business of saving lives, not acting as agents for the Border Patrol.” The vote failed, 88-331. [Roll Call 182, H 3722, 05/18/2004; LA Times, 5/19/04; PR Newswire, 5/18/04]

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