- The National Council of La Raza is likely to benefit from grant money set aside in an immigration bill drafted by its former policy director
- Legislation passed in the Senate would exclude three-time DUI offenders from a path to citizenship, but two-time drunk drivers would be acceptable
- Passport forgers would no longer be prosecuted for making a single fake travel document, with the bar being set at three
- Document counterfeiters whose materials are used to obtain passports would only be jailed if they contributed to at least 10 phony passports
PUBLISHED: 03:17 EST, 19 July 2013 | UPDATED: 03:24 EST, 19 July 2013
A former senior policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza supervised the drafting of a U.S. Senate bill, passed on June 27, that would give an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if the House of Representatives goes along. And La Raza figures to enlarge its budget significantly, thanks to slush funds buried deep in the legislation.
A bombshell report published Thursday by Investor’s Business Daily shows that the immigration reform bill would set aside hundreds of millions of dollars for La Raza and other liberal immigrants’ rights groups, which the federal government would contract to assist future U.S. citizens with applications and offer them legal advice.
In a separate little-noticed section of the legislation, senators propose to rewrite the laws against counterfeiting passports and the materials used to obtain them. Those new laws would set a legal threshold of 10 phony passports before a fraudster could be prosecuted for buying, selling or using counterfeit materials used to produce such fake documents.
Another section would exclude serial drunk-drivers from gaining a path to citizenship, but only after they rack up a third DUI offense.
The report came from the American Media Institute (AMI), an investigative journalism service.
‘An alien convicted of 3 or more offenses for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated on separate dates is inadmissible’ to the United States on a legal basis, the bill’s text reads.
But ‘[t]wo prior convictions for this offense,’ the AMI reported, ‘would not disqualify an immigrant for legalization.’
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And of the language that applies to ‘selling or forging materials used in making passports,’ the organization adds, ‘the bill says 10 such instances are verboten, [but] that nine won’t be a problem.’
The slush fund language, however, ‘may be the real point of the legislation,’ AMI contends.
‘This seems likely since the bill was steered through the Senate by the Obama White House. Overseeing a team of executive branch bill-drafters ensconced in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, guiding the legislative process, was Obama director of domestic policy Cecilia Munoz, the leading presidential staffer on immigration issues.
Before joining the Obama administration, Munoz was La Raza’s top policy analyst. La Raza did not return a phone call on Thursday seeking comment.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said on Thursday that his immigration bill doesn’t permit any passport counterfeiting, although the legislation’s text says otherwise
Obama (L) has had his hands full trying to persuade House Republicans to endorse the Senate bill, while White House spokesman Jay Carney (R) fends off reporters’ questions about its chances for survival
AMI calculated that several different pots of taxpayer dollars set aside for immigrants’ rights groups, all on the political left, ‘would total almost $300 million over three years and grow over time.’
Those include a $50 million set-aside for grants to organizations that will advertise benefits available to illegal immigrants, and to help them fill out paperwork.
Another $100 million, over the first five years, would be distributed to groups that can set up ‘New Immigrant Councils’ to help formerly illegal immigrants ‘integrate’ into communities in which they may already have lived for years. After five years, that amount is at the discretion of the Office of Citizenship and New Americans, a division of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
$120 million more would be spent over three years to mount a campaign educating newly legalized immigrants about ’employer and employee rights, responsibilities and [legal] remedies’ available under the new law. Again, the federal government would ‘contract with public and private organizations’ to execute the campaign.
Those groups likely will include La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), says AMI.
La Raza will be ‘arguably be at the head of the line to receive new funding,’ it says. MALDEF told the organization that it would likely qualify for subsidies if the immigration bill becomes law.
In addition to language allowing counterfeiters to escape prosecution if their phony materials impacted fewer than ten illegal passports, other language in the Senate bill addresses those who actually produce the finished forgeries.
A 20 year jail sentence is a possibility, but only for a criminal who ‘produces, issues, or transfers … forges, counterfeits, alters, or falsely makes … [or] secures, possesses, uses, receives, buys, sells, or distributes 3 or more [fake] passports.’
Current federal law prescribes up to 25 years in federal prison for unauthorized persons who produce or issue ‘any passport’ – meaning a single one.
But under the Senate proposal, ‘three such instances are forbidden, meaning two would be permitted,’ the Investor’s Business Daily story concluded.
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who supported the bill, told the conservative Cybercast News Service a different story on Thursday.
‘I don’t think that we stand for any forgeries,’ McCain said.
Note: The reporter participates in the AMI’s media advisory board.
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