- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2006

More than 9.9 million illegal aliens now in the United States will receive amnesty under an immigration-reform bill passed by the Senate, though about a quarter will do so fraudulently, and the bill allows for 4.5 million family members to join them in the United States, according to a report.

“Of the 14.4 million illegals and their family members who will receive amnesty, we estimate that 13.5 million will eventually become permanent residents, which means they can stay as long as they wish and apply for citizenship,” according to the report released yesterday by the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

The report, written by CIS Research Director Steven A. Camarota, said the projected 14.4 million figure does not include other expected increases in legal immigration allowed by the bill. The Heritage Foundation predicted in a report last month that the number could total 193 million in the next 20 years.

The Senate bill still faces conference hearings with House members, who passed immigration-reform legislation in December focusing on border security.

The CIS report, which based its findings on the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) that granted amnesty to about 3 million illegal aliens and their relatives, said that about 7.4 million illegals eligible for amnesty under the Senate bill will come forward and receive amnesty legitimately.

The report said there will be one fraudulent amnesty awarded for every three legitimate ones — meaning that more than 2.5 million illegals will become legal fraudulently. In addition to the amnesty beneficiaries, the bill will allow an estimated 4.5 million family members currently living abroad to join their newly legalized relatives, the report said.

“Our assumption that the share of illegals who come forward will be similar to the share in 1986 may be too low because, unlike the last legalization, illegals now know that amnesties are real and not a ruse by the government to deport them,” Mr. Camarota said. “Moreover, because the border is now more difficult to cross illegally, legalization is a more attractive option.”

The report cautioned that its estimate of more than 2.5 million fraudulent amnesties, based on IRCA, may be too low, as well, because the false-document industry “is now more developed.” It said the “overworked immigration bureaucracy already” has a severe fraud problem, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

“As its workload mushrooms with amnesty, fraud will become even more difficult to detect,” Mr. Camarota said.

The CIS report also predicted that if the Senate bill were to become law, nearly 8 million more illegal aliens still would enter the country by 2016.

The report does not describe the illegal aliens affected by the bill as “guest workers,” noting that amnesty applies to people who are given some kind of legal status, are not subject to deportation and can work in the United States.

“In our view, any policy or legislation that does not require those who break the law to abide by it, but instead suspends the normal penalty and in some way changes the law to accommodate violators is an amnesty,” Mr. Camarota said. “An amnesty in the immigration system is any change that allows people who would otherwise be subject to deportation to stay in the country.”

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