It’s 2017, and it’s show time. This is what we’ve been anticipating for years. We have a mandate and now it’s time to use it.
No, we are not going to save every aspect of our national security, economy, and traditional values in just four years. However, there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact some solid reforms as it relates to immigration, national security, and counterterrorism policies.
After fully repealing Obamacare, Republicans should shift to true immigration reform and homeland security ideas while the party works out its differences on domestic policy and economic issues.
The following 20 ideas are not merely a comprehensive list of the best legislation pertaining to immigration and national security. They are also easy to message to constituents, broadly popular, and very achievable during the next four years.
1. Build the wall/no welfare for illegal immigrants
And until Mexico pays for it, fund the $2-6 billion cost of the double-layer security fence by requiring a valid Social Security number to be eligible for the Child Tax Credit (H.R. 2478, sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson). This will prevent illegal aliens from accessing American tax dollars and would be in line with Trump’s basic promise to put Americans first.
2. Visa tracking
Finally implement the biometric entry-exit system at all sea, land, and air ports. Also, with more illegal immigrants coming from visa overstays, it’s important to make such an act a felony instead of a misdemeanor (H.R. 5102, sponsored by Rep. John Culberson).
3. No driver’s licenses for illegals
Have Congress explicitly authorize states to block driver’s licenses for illegals. Unfortunately, the courts have made this step necessary.
4. Interior enforcement
Pass the Davis-Oliver Interior Enforcement Act, which punishes sanctuary cities, deputizes states to enforce immigration laws, and bolsters expedited deportations.
5. End sanctuaries for illegals
A number of public universities and taxpayer-funded organizations are pledging to thwart any enforcement agenda by offering safe harbor to illegal immigrants. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md. (B, 80%) has a bill (H.R. 6468), which would cut off funding to any institution or university that disobeyed federal immigration law.
6. Abolish chain migration
It makes no sense that our immigration system is built upon family ties instead of skills. H.R. 604, drafted by Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga. (B, 81%) would abolish the extended-family preference category for legal immigration. This is a clean way of cutting roughly 200,000 visas per year that are chosen solely based on extended family ties. Even Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (C, 74%) have expressed concern about chain migration.
7. End diversity visa lottery
Fifty thousand visas are allocated based on nothing more than a lottery. Most of those visas go to Third World countries, many from volatile Islamic parts of the world. When combined with chain migration, the diversity visa lottery seeds America with many more immigrants who are likely to become a public charge and unlikely to assimilate, while creating an automatic chain for multiplying their numbers in the future. The nation’s best interests are left out of the equation. (H.R. 2278, sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey)
8. End unconditional birthright citizenship for illegals
End birthright citizenship and birth tourism by clarifying the authentic meaning of the 14th Amendment. Harry Reid declared in 1993 that “no sane country” would offer such an enticement and reward for illegal immigration.
9. Zero tolerance for re-entrants
Bar all those who re-enter the U.S. illegally from ever obtaining legal entry for the rest of their lives or require mandatory minimum prison time. With everyone wrongly focused on what to do with those already here illegally, can’t we all agree we should deter future waves of illegal immigration?
10. Fix asylum and parole loophole
Although Trump is not expected to abuse the parole and asylum statutes the way Obama did, it would be worthwhile for Congress to fix the problem permanently and also prevent the courts from misinterpreting statutes.
11. End the Castro immigration scam
Raul Castro is using our outdated preferential treatment of Cuban asylum seekers against us. Thousands of Cubans are now flooding our shores and becoming eligible for welfare immediately and for citizenship within seven years.
Members of Florida’s Cuban community have been complaining about those coming here just to receive welfare and return to Cuba. Congress should pass H.R. 3818 (introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar), which eliminates the “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” policy and requires that all immigrants from Cuba be treated in the same manner as any other person seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
12. Punish countries that refuse to repatriate their illegal immigrants
Current law, which has been ignored by Obama, requires the State Department to cut off visas to countries that refused to repatriate their illegal aliens. In addition to following existing law, Congress should pass H.R. 5224 (introduced by Rep. Brian Babin), which requires the State Department to suspend any foreign aid to those recalcitrant countries.
13. Moratorium on refugees from Middle East
Trump promised to suspend refugees from the Middle East until “we know what the hell is going on.” As we’ve noted before, the president has unilateral authority to suspend immigration from any particular area of the world.
Nonetheless, Rep. Babin has a bill that would ensure any limits on the refugee program are enshrined into statute. H.R. 5816 would place a four-year moratorium on the refugee program for anyone coming from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, or Yemen. It would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct an audit of the national security and fiscal problems plaguing the program.
14. Allow states to veto refugee resettlement
A complete moratorium on refugees would be supported by a majority of the public. But allowing states to veto resettlement in their respective jurisdictions would be even more popular and would reform the program in the long run for when Democrats have control of the White House again.
Rep. Scott Perry has a bill (H.R. 6110) that would require the support of the state legislature and governor in a given state for the federal government to enact a resettlement plan.
15. Defund the U.N.
There has never been more momentum behind an effort to finally pursue “Amexit” from the U.N. and defund this anti-American and anti-Semitic institution that has proven to be an utter failure. Between the operating budget of the U.N. and all of its useless peacekeeping missions, U.S. taxpayers easily spend $4 billion a year on this international disaster. What a better way to begin this presidency, in light of the U.N.’s assault on Israel, than to declare independence from this unpopular institution?
16. Eliminate funding for PLO
Why have we funded this terror organization for 23 years? It’s time to end our $500 million annual contribution to the PLO. Congress should pass The Palestinian Accountability Act (H.R. 1337), which would suspend our $500 million in annual aid to the PLO until they change their culture of terrorism. The PLO Accountability Act (H.R. 4522 and S. 2537) would close all PLO offices in our country until they stop inciting and funding terror.
17. Expel the Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood poses a more foundational threat to the homeland than al Qaeda or ISIS. Not only are they allowed to operate freely on our shores, but they also wield influence at the highest levels of our government.
Congress should finally designate it as a terror group (H.R. 3892/S. 2230), which would force the State Department to treat it the same way we treat Hamas, its Palestinian affiliate. Let the Democrats stand before the American people and defend the Muslim Brotherhood.
18. Strip terrorists of citizenship/passports
The Expatriate Terrorist Act of 2015, sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (A, 97%) and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa (B, 81%), would revoke the citizenship of those who fight for foreign terrorist organizations, such as ISIS. It applies current law regarding those who fight for foreign armies to those who fight for terror entities. Let Democrats be the party that ignores the homegrown terror threat.
19. Deport immigrants on the no-fly list
Democrats want to strip Americans of inalienable gun rights on account of being listed on the unreliable terrorist “no-fly list.” They call it, “No fly, no buy.” Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C. (A, 96%) has the perfect answer. Why then, are immigrants who are on the list allowed to remain in the country? Forget about purchasing a gun; if someone on the list is truly a terrorist and a foreign national, why should he remain in the country? As part of Duncan’s, “No fly, goodbye” initiative, H.R. 6175 would require that anyone on the no-fly list who has not yet obtained citizenship be deported immediately.
20. Prevent terror-supporting countries from funding mosques/schools
Much of the homegrown Islamism stems from foreign influence and funding of mosques and schools, in addition to domestic Muslim Brotherhood groups. Countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia are funding radical mosques, schools, and universities and are injecting their hatful poison into our culture.
While all Americans have a First Amendment right even to hateful speech so long as it is not reach certain thresholds of violence or treason, foreigners have no affirmative right to fund projects on American shores.
Rep. David Brat, R-Va. (A, 100%) has a bill (H.R. 5824) that would prohibit a foreign national of a country that limits the free exercise of religion in that country from making any expenditure in the U.S. promoting a religion.
Not all of the these are massive reforms but solid “base hits” that are more than simply “good messaging bills.” Every one of these ideas will strengthen either our sovereignty or security as a nation and will place Democrats on defense. Given the state of geo-political affairs, most of these ideas will always tie seamlessly into the news cycle. They also speak to Trump’s strengthens and represent areas in which conservatives can work with him to pressure leadership to do the right thing.
At its core, the issue of sovereignty — together with national security — got Trump elected. While he has been somewhat unpredictable on many areas of domestic policy, he ran on an unapologetic “Americans first” platform as it relates to immigration, terrorism, and homeland security. While Hillary won a majority of voters who said the economy was their most important issue, Trump won 64 percent of those who listed immigration as their top issue and 57 percent of those most concerned about terrorism.
Hence, there is a clear mandate to change direction on sovereignty and security — even from past Republican presidents — much less from the Obama era.
As it relates to domestic fiscal policy, there are many knotty issues and inveterate dependency that ensure any conservative reform is presented with head winds. That is not the case with sovereignty and national security. These ideas and priorities transcend most ideological lines and should be achievable within the first two years of Trump’s presidency.
The time for excuses is over. If we plan to preserve our civilization, it is now or never. As Reagan once said, “If not us, then who? And if not now, when?” Or to borrow a line from Obama at the beginning of his presidency: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
It’s time to go big or go home.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.