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Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation on Illegal Immigration

July 27, 1993

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit today for your immediate consideration and enactment the "Expedited Exclusion and Mien Smuggling Enhanced Penalties Act of 1993." This legislative proposal is designed to address the growing abuse of our legal immigration and political asylum systems by illegal aliens holding fraudulent documents and by alien smugglers. Also transmitted is a section-by-section analysis. The proposal is part of a larger Administration initiative that I announced on June 18, 1993, to combat the illegal entry and smuggling of aliens into the United States.

The use of fraudulent documents by aliens seeking to enter the United States has increased dramatically. This proposal would expedite the exclusion and return of certain undocumented and fraudulently documented aliens who clearly are ineligible for admission to the United States, while ensuring that persons who have legitimate asylum claims receive full and fair hearings. In addition, the bill would increase the ability of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to prosecute alien smugglers and enhance the penalties for alien smuggling.

The expedited exclusion procedures would apply to an alien who, for example: (1) attempted to use a fraudulent passport to enter the United States; (2) came to the United States by commercial airplane and did not present a visa upon arrival; or (3) was encountered by the Coast Guard on the high seas and brought to the United States. To apply for asylum, these aliens first would have to establish that they had a credible fear either of persecution in the country from which they had departed or of return to persecution. If an asylum officer determined that the alien had such a credible fear, the alien then could apply for asylum. If the alien did not have the requisite fear of persecution, the alien would be subject to an immediate order of exclusion barring him or her from entering the United States. The bill would limit judicial review of such an exclusion order.

Alien smuggling has become an increasingly pervasive problem, as seen in the current wave of Chinese aliens being brought to the shores of this country by unscrupulous criminal organizations. These organizations seek to profit both from transporting these aliens and from their labors once in this country. The number of alien smugglers arrested in the past 3 years has tripled, and the number of smugglers convicted has doubled.

Alien smuggling not only violates our criminal and immigration laws, but it also takes a terrible toll on the lives of the aliens illegally brought into this country. Many of these individuals transfer their entire life savings and pledge thousands of additional dollars to smugglers. These aliens are often placed in deplorable conditions amounting to indentured servitude until they can pay the debts incurred for their passage to America. Moreover, organized criminal syndicates are becoming more frequently associated with this highly profitable traffic in human cargo.

The bill's criminal provisions are vital to help apprehend offenders and deter future criminal activity in this area. Under this proposal, the maximum penalty imposed against certain smugglers would be increased from 5 to 10 years in prison for each individual smuggled. Since clandestine means of investigation are often needed to build cases against alien smuggling rings, the bill would authorize INS to conduct wiretaps for alien smuggling investigations.

Finally, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute would be amended so its penalty and forfeiture provisions could be used against alien smuggling organizations. The proposal also would expand the ability of law enforcement personnel to forfeit the proceeds of illegal alien smuggling, such as cash and bank accounts.

In addition to this bill, our efforts to combat alien smuggling include strengthening law enforcement efforts and attacking smuggling operations at the source. The Federal Government already has begun interdicting and redirecting smuggling ships, where feasible, in transit to the United States. INS is detaining aliens who enter the United States in conjunction with criminal smuggling activities. The Department of Justice, consistent with due process and existing laws, is expediting the adjudication of entry claims raised by migrants who are the victims of organized criminal smuggling schemes.

All of these actions, taken together, signal the United States abhorrence of the trafficking in human beings for profit and our determination to combat this illegal activity. At the same time, they reaffirm our Nation's commitment to safeguarding the protection of bona fide refugees.

I urge the prompt and favorable consideration of this legislative proposal by the Congress.


The White House,

July 27, 1993.

William J. Clinton, Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation on Illegal Immigration Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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