Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Rather than Secure the Border, Republicans would rather have the Issue of an Out-of-Control Border.

by Rod Williams, Feb. 5, 2024- We now know what is in the Senate's Emergency National Security Supplemental Bill.  It is a $118 billion compromise package to fund aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan along with new border security funding. 

It is a solution to the problem of the border, which Republicans claim to care deeply about.  It secures it. It gives Republicans almost all of what they want and almost none of what Democrats have wanted. Yet, Republicans, or at least Trumpinista Republicans, would rather have the issue of an out-of-control border than solve the problem. There is never going to be a deal better than this one. Dems control the Senate and the Presidency and Republicans have only a two-seat advantage in the House, yet this bill abandons routine amnesty, it contains no pathway to citizenship and it does not address "dreamers." It is what Republicans have wanted. 

Of course, it is not a Republican dream bill. It is a compromise, but Democrats did most of the compromising.  Progressive Democrats in both the House and the Senate are denouncing the bill as an embrace of Donald Trump-style border policies and a curtailing of the asylum system designed to protect vulnerable immigrants fleeing oppression. Republicans should be happy. To get a Republican-perfect bill, Republicans would have to hold the Presidency and have majorities in both houses.  Republicans are nuts not to accept this deal. 

There seems to be two problems with the bill for Republicans. One, it secures the border and Republicans would rather have the issue than solve the problem. Two, the bill also provides aid to Ukraine. It appears some Republicans are pulling for a Russian win in Ukraine.  Unbelievable! It looks like Democrat Party can legitimately claim to be the Party of border security and strength abroad.

This National Review piece gives some details of the bill:
The package deal provides funding to increase U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention capacity from 34,000 to 50,000 migrants. It tightens the requirements for those seeking asylum status by limiting the “credible-fear standard” for applicants to specific conditions that might reasonably constitute a “credible fear” of having to return home. It increases the number of judges (and, critically, Immigration Judge Teams) available to process the obscene backlog of immigration claims, and allows some claims to be handled by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It puts curbs on the president’s ability to give migrants parole — what Republicans deride as a system of “catch and release” — which presidents of both parties have abused.

Perhaps most consequentially, the bill compels the Department of Homeland Security to turn away all border crossers at any point of entry, legal or otherwise, once officials encounter either a seven-day rolling average of 5,000 border crossers per day or 8,500 migrants on a single day. The provision ensures that Joe Biden would be legally compelled to take the migrant crisis over which he has presided — one that featured 302,043 encounters along the border just last month — seriously.

... as Fox News’ star immigration correspondent Bill Melugin observed, the GOP is operating under a misapprehension. “This does not mean 5,000 are ‘allowed in’ before this authority kicks in,” he wrote of the legislation. “Single adults would be detained, families would be released via ATD (alternatives to detention), and asylum cases would be fast-tracked to months rather than years under a new rapid/expedited expulsion system. Those who fail would be quickly removed from the U.S.”

For more on the bill see this from The Dispatch and from Politico, Detention and that border ‘shutdown’: What’s really in Biden’s bipartisan immigration deal.

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