Who didn’t see this coming? Republicans in the US Senate (at least some of them) have come to a tentative agreement on a lame-duck amnesty bill that would legalize two million illegal immigrants while offering essentially nothing to help curtail the current border crisis.
This latest attempt at betrayal follows a series of GOP capitulations over the course of the Biden presidency, from the infrastructure bill to gun control, to the Respect for Marriage Act. Apparently, Republican leadership is convinced that the way to win elections is to just keep giving Democrats what they want. You know, because it worked so well for the 2022 mid-terms.
A white paper laying out this Tillis-Sinema blueprint is circulating on Capitol Hill, congressional aides and advocates plugged into the talks tell me. Though the details are in flux, here’s a partial list of the major items it contains:
Some form of path to citizenship for 2 million dreamers.
A large boost in resources to speed up the processing of asylum seekers, including new processing centers and more asylum officers and judges.
More resources to expedite the removal of migrants who don’t qualify for asylum.
A continuation of the Title 42 covid-health-rule restriction on migrants applying for asylum, until the new processing centers are operational, with the aim of a one-year cutoff.
More funding for border officers.
The idea behind this compromise is this: It gives Democrats protections for 2 million dreamers and beefed up defenses of the due process rights of some migrants. It gives Republicans faster removal of migrants who fail to qualify for asylum to prevent them from remaining in the country, a continued restriction on applications for the next year and more border security.
To put it frankly, this is a sucker’s deal. It gives Democrats everything they want while guaranteeing absolutely nothing for those who support a secure border. “Dreamers” — most of whom will become Democrat voters — will be given a path to citizenship, and more resources will be dedicated to processing asylum claims.
On the other end of the deal, Republicans only get vague promises of expedited removal of migrants who don’t qualify for asylum (which is about 80-90 percent of them depending on who you ask) with no actual enforcement mechanism. Oh, and some yet-to-be-determined funding for “border officers,” whatever that even means at this point.
The problems here are obvious.
One, if you grant amnesty in the middle of a border crisis, all you are doing is incentivizing more people to cross the border illegally. The same is true for expediting asylum claims. All that does is ensure more people are released into the interior more quickly. The end result is a lot more dead men, women, and children at the hands of human traffickers and the elements.
Two, no matter how many promises are made about removing those who don’t qualify for asylum more quickly, as long as the enforcement mechanisms are controlled by the president (i.e. Joe Biden), none of it will ever happen. That’s also why increased funding for border officers is meaningless. You can have all the officers in the world, but they don’t matter a bit if they are not allowed to do their jobs.
But even if you put all that aside, the major question remains why this is being done now? Republicans just took back the House of Representatives. They have a chance to possibly gain some real concessions in any future immigration bill. Instead, Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Thom Tillis, are looking to give the farm away beforehand. What possible logic for that exists?
This goes beyond politics, though. It’s simply a bad bill that will encourage more illegal immigration, putting far more people at risk of serious harm or death. This is not how to run a real immigration system. It’s how to run things if you don’t actually want to have a real immigration system. The border must be secured at some level before any special provisions are made for those already here. To do things out of order would be disastrous.
With that said, as of now, it doesn’t look like there’s widespread support for this monstrosity.
— John Bresnahan (@bresreports) December 5, 2022
I’m not anti-immigration. I’m certainly not anti-Hispanic. I think Hispanics are some of the most hard-working, family-oriented people on the planet. That very much jibes with my conservative viewpoints. But that’s not what’s being asked here. What’s being asked is to perpetuate a failing system by adding even more magnets for illegality on the basis of a bunch of empty promises of enforcement. No Republican should be voting for that. Heck, this shouldn’t even be a discussion before the new Congress is seated.