Erik Paulsen regularly issues a video Correspondence Corner in which he responds to constituent questions.
It is a great ploy — Congressman Paulsen determines what question is to be answered … thus, providing him an opportunity to portray himself as effectively responding to issues that he wishes to address as if they are the most critical issues that voters want addressed.
The MN Political Roundtable will be evaluating Congressman Paulsen’s responses and encouraging readers to offer their own assessments.
Today’s topic: H.R.1468 – Recognizing America’s Children Act.
Tomorrow’s topic: H.R. 849 – Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2017
OK … it’s been a week since Congressman Paulsen issued a “video chat” … and a lot has happened …
— Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned after being exposed for his wasteful spending practices;
— a mass killing in Las Vegas;
— the House allowed the CHIP program to expire impacting over 125,000 Minnesotans;
— the Housed approved a bill banning abortions after the 20-week gestation point;
— the Republican House in a 219-206 vote approved a budget resolution for 2018 that sets up a process for shielding the GOP tax bill from a filibuster in the Senate;
— Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive giving institutions and individuals the right refuse services to women and the LGBT;
— and the Trump administration rescinded a mandate that required employers to include birth control coverage.
In addition to those political stories, there was also the record-setting Standard & Poor’s 500 stock market which on Thursday notched its sixth record close in a row — a feat last accomplished 20 years ago. For those keeping count, the large-company stock index has now set 43 new highs in 2017.
Yep, a lot to choose from for discussion … so what did Congressman Paulsen want to talk about ?
Angelina from Plymouth emailed that she is “disheartened that DACA is being discontinued” and that Congress needs to do something about DACA.
FYI the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is the program that in September President Trump gave Congress six months to formalize action.
This was the subject of a September 8 Paulsen Correspondence Corner video which he assured his constituents he would be addressing.
There are a number of bipartisan bills that Congressman Paulsen could have sponsored (heck, some Republicans have actually sponsored all of these)
H.R.496 – BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act)
H.R.1468 – RACA (Recognizing America’s Children Act)
H.R.3440 – Dream Act of 2017
H.R.3695 – Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017
Note the BRIDGE Act has a bipartisan Senate version (S. 128) as the does the Dream Act of 2017 (S.1615) while Senate Democrats have a version of S.229 Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017 … while RACA does not have a companion bill in the Senate.
So with much fanfare, Congressman Paulsen announced that he has supported a “DACA-fix” the “bipartisan” HR1468 RACA !
No, that’s not a typo … Congressman Paulsen is embracing RACA not DACA.
Yep, HR 1468 RACA is “bipartisan” … because it has ONE Democrat as a co-sponsor … the other bills have larger bipartisan sponsorship.
So, before the cheering stops for Congressman Paulsen’s bold position, let’s ask the obvious question,
IF RACA is such a good bill, why isn’t there more “bipartisan” support ?
Well, to answer that, ya gotta know what’s in the bill … so here are the key points
The bill would create a five-year “conditional permanent resident” status for young undocumented immigrants that would protect them from deportation, allow them to work legally in the United States.
To qualify for “conditional permanent resident” status, young undocumented immigrants would need to be one of the following :
— Demonstrate an intent to join the U.S. military (military path);
— Be admitted to an institution of higher education (higher education path);
— Have a valid work authorization document (worker path).
“Conditional permanent resident” status can be extended once for a second period of five years by meeting one of the following requirements:
— Have been enlisted in the military or an active-duty reserve component of the military for at least three years during the preceding five-year period (military path);
— Have graduated from an institution of higher education (higher education path); or
— Have been employed for a total period of at least 48 months during the preceding five-year period (worker path).
Now, let’s put into some real life situations
— The currently DACA-qualified individual joins the military and is injured in combat and is honorable discharged after serving two years
— The currently DACA-qualified individual is employed (maybe in public service such as a teacher, paramedic, police or in the private sector such as in the food processing industry) and then due to an economic slowdown (maybe a government shutdown or “bird flu” situation) is laid off and seeks additional training for a new career (beauty school)
— The currently DACA-qualified individual wants to raise a child and between pregnancy and child rearing takes over a year off work
Yep … in all these situations, the currently DACA-qualified individual would be deported.
RACA is a ploy (thus not a surprise to see it featured in Paulsen’s Correspondence Corner) … it is too restrictive. In reality those who do not already have the required education are significantly unlikely to be able to re-enroll and thus qualify to apply for conditional status.
As Congressman Paulsen said these currently DACA-qualified individuals are “essentially Americans” … yet, they could get deported even if his RACA is enacted.
Yet, according to a recent DHS report, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services have approved 2,634,328 H-1B applications from FY07- June 30th, 2017. The report shows that over 100,000 foreign workers are imported annually … so don’t ya gotta ask, why should America deport “essentially Americans” while at the same time granting temporary work visas ?
Let us not forget that Congressman Paulsen is the author of HR 2717 Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s From Leaving the Economy Act of 2017 or the STAPLE Act … which directly increases the number of H-1B visas.
Will Congress enact RACA or some other DACA-related bill ?
Well that may depend on funding a border wall … which President Trump has now brought into the debate.
And for the record, taxpayers (not Mexico) are paying the bill for EIGHT prototypes that are being built at an estimated cost of between $2.4 and 4 Million.
So, Angelina from Plymouth was “disheartened that DACA is being discontinued”, and now she can be “disheartened” that RACA is Congressman Paulsen’s choice … a half measure.
SIDENOTE : For another Paulsen half measure, read his half measure on addressing gun violence.
Oh, funny thing, to qualify for under RACA, the individual may have to undergo a background check and medical examination … something that purchasing a gun does not require.