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Joni Ernst on Immigration

 

 


Legal residency for DREAMers; need bipartisan solution

Q: Do you support residency or legal status or citizenship for DREAMers?

Ernst: A pathway to citizenship is something that could be worked on bipartisan. We need to sit down and discuss that.

Q: Does it mean legal residency or does it mean citizenship --

Ernst: I would support more of a legal residency. However, as we are moving forward on a new immigration system we have to make sure that we are carefully vetting, making sure that they are a good fit for citizenship here in the US.

Source: Iowa Public Television transcript of 2020 Iowa Senate debate , Sep 28, 2020

Troops on Mexican border is ok, for logistical support

Q: Is deploying six thousand troops to the border a good use of resources?

SENATOR JONI ERNST: That's up to the President and those governors that are involved with their National Guard soldiers.

Q: You are on the Armed Services Committee; you have a voice.

ERNST: If they are active duty soldiers it does actually provide them an opportunity for real-life training in their roles. Many of them, if they serve in logistics-type positions they will actually be doing those missions on the border. So it is a very good skill.

Q: They won't even have any contact with people coming across.

ERNST: Exactly, but they will be utilized in the roles like logistics. And then it gives them greater opportunity to respond quickly in those types of situations, whether they are supporting with food or body armor, whatever it might be for Border Patrol agents. It allows those border patrol agents to actually focus on the law enforcement duties.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of Senate leadership , Nov 18, 2018

Protect the borders; prevent illegal entry

Question topic: Government should enforce laws designed to protect the border and to prevent illegal entry of persons into the country.

Ernst: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 Iowa Senate race , Sep 30, 2014

ICE performs vital functions that protect American families.

Ernst signed Press release from 19 Senators on Resolution to Support ICE

Nineteen U.S. Senators introduced a resolution denouncing the radical calls for the dissolution of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE performs vital functions that protect American families. Last year, agents worked tirelessly around the clock to rescue 1,422 victims of human trafficking. More than 900 of those victims were children. ICE agents also removed a million pounds of narcotics and more than 4,800 gang members from the streets of this country. Those numbers are just a small fraction of the nearly 127,000 arrests made by ICE agents last year against people who came here and committed violent crimes against law-abiding Americans. Those criminals were responsible for more than 50,000 assaults, 2,000 kidnappings and 1,800 homicides.

"I am deeply troubled by the Democrats' reckless calls to abolish ICE. Eliminating ICE shows a blatant disregard for the welfare of the American people and our nation's immigration laws," said Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-LA). "With the ever present threat of MS-13 and international terrorism, along with an opioid crisis being fought at our border, abolishing ICE is unthinkable. ICE officers are in the trenches fighting those threats and protecting American families from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that endanger our families. ICE deserves our gratitude and respect, not scorn and ridicule."

"Washington Democrats wanting to abolish ICE, our country's immigration law enforcement agency, are essentially demanding open borders," said Sen. Cassidy (R-LA). "Assaults on ICE officers nearly tripled in 2017, so instead of attacking them, we should support them as they work to secure our borders, stop the flow of deadly drugs, break up violent gangs like MS-13, rescue human trafficking victims, and keep our communities safe."

Source: Press release from 19 Senators on Resolution to Support ICE 18LTR-ICE on Jul 12, 2018

Support national emergency at the Southern border.

Ernst voted NAY Joint Resolution on Proclamation 9844

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 is hereby terminated.

Proclamation 9844 issued by the president on Feb. 15, 2019: Declares a state of national emergency at the southern border to address the issues of illegal immigration and criminal trafficking into the US: "The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency. The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics. The problem of large-scale unlawful migration through the southern border is long-standing, and despite the executive branch's exercise of existing statutory authorities, the situation has worsened in certain respects in recent years. Because of the gravity of the current emergency situation, it is necessary for the Armed Forces to provide additional support to address the crisis."

Opposing the Proclamation (supporting the Resolution), ACLU press release, 2/15/2019 The ACLU issued the following statement upon filing a lawsuit: "By the president's very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall 'faster.' This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy."

Legislative outcome Passed House 245-182-5 roll #94 on Feb. 26; pass Senate 59-41 roll #49 on March 14; Vetoed by Pres. Trump; veto override failed, 248-181-3 (2/3 required), roll #127 on March 26

Source: Congressional vote 19-HJR46 on Feb 26, 2019

Increase both high-skill and family-based visa caps.

Ernst co-sponsored the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act

Legislative Summary:This bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China. The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.

Explanation from the Countable.US: Under the current immigration system, immigrants from any one country can claim no more than 7% of the 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually to foreign nationals working in the U.S. This significantly disadvantages immigrants from larger countries that more immigrants come from.

For example, China (population 1.3 billion) and India have large backlogs of workers wishing to immigrate to and work in the U.S., but they have the name visa caps as countries such as Iceland or Estonia (population 1.3 million), which have both much smaller populations and far fewer citizens seeking to immigrate to the U.S.

The net effect of this is that immigrants from India and China can face decades-long waits, averaging 2-3 times the wait times for immigrants from other countries, for green cards, and many have to return home because they can't get permanent residency; meanwhile, countries such as Iceland and Estonia never come close to reaching their visa limit caps.

Legislative outcome Roll call 437 in House on 7/10/2019 passed 365-65-2; referred to Committee in Senate 7/9/2019; no action as of 1/1/2020.

Source: S.386/H.R.1044 19-HR1044 on Feb 7, 2019

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Page last updated: Oct 22, 2020