Senate Democrats – including both Senators from my home state of Georgia - are trying to pull a fast one on the American people, most of whom won’t realize what has happened until after the fact.
Democrats hope to use the massive $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” bill as a vehicle to pass mass amnesty for a significant portion of the nation’s illegal alien population - without having to debate this controversial amnesty measure on its own merits. Some lawmakers hope to accomplish this via a maneuver known as budget reconciliation, whereby budget items can be inserted into a broader spending bill during the reconciliation process, with only 51 votes needed for approval.
It’s obvious this ploy is designed to bypass the usual procedures that help to ensure compromise in the Senate – the requirement of a 60-vote majority to avoid a filibuster. Such a move is wrong and is purposely, intellectually dishonest to the American people.
Every state in America needs help rebuilding roads, bridges, and tunnels, including my home state of Georgia. A recent report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Georgia’s infrastructure rating a C+, saying less than 40 percent of the state’s bridges are in “good condition” and also highlighting a dramatic increase in high-hazard, deficient dams. America fared even worse, receiving a C- grade.
But throwing mass amnesty spending into the infrastructure mix - without allowing a transparent discussion on the Senate floor and without input from the American people - is an enormous mistake that will endanger public safety and national security.
In addition, the timing of passing stealth amnesty couldn’t be worse. A recent Harvard-Harris poll found that 74 percent of voters view the current surge in illegal immigrants as a crisis that needs to be addressed immediately. Nearly 7-in-10 (68 percent) voters said that messages from Biden's White House are encouraging illegal immigration. Illegal alien apprehensions are at a historic high, surpassing one million this fiscal year so far, with three more months to go. At this pace, illegal alien apprehensions could be at the highest level in U.S. history.
Offering mass amnesty in the middle of a national border crisis only adds fuel to a raging fire. The Biden Administration and Senate Democrats are sending a clear message that illegal aliens can freely violate our nation’s immigration laws and be rewarded with coveted American citizenship. Even worse, this action places illegal aliens at the front of the line - ahead of those who have long sought a legal citizenship path. Illegal immigration is already costing U.S. taxpayers at least $116 billion annually, and the tab will only increase with the passage of amnesty.
Incentivizing illegal immigration not only undermines our nation’s sovereignty and national security. It costs lives as well. This year alone, some 203 illegal aliens have been found dead in the desert or abandoned by their smugglers. There are also news reports of children who’ve been dropped at border walls or tossed into the Rio Grande River as a tactic to divert border patrol agents. And many of the 7,000 illegal aliens are creating public safety issues for towns and communities across the country with crimes including assault, homicide, sexual offenses, domestic violence, property damage, etc.
Congress’ budget reconciliation process was never designed to intentionally hide and jam through legislation that could never pass on its own merits. As a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and an author of legislation addressing illegal immigration in my state, I understand how difficult the process can be. Lawmakers can and should face robust debate over proposed immigration reform measures. But if our elected leaders in Washington truly have the conviction to support amnesty for illegal aliens, they should have the courage to publicly fight for it.
If our elected leaders in Washington, DC, including Georgia Sens. Ossoff and Warnock, believe spending tax dollars in amnesty for illegal aliens is a measure worthy of their support, they should stop hiding the effort from public view, strip the budget item out of a national infrastructure bill, and have an open, honest debate regarding this highly controversial issue.
Hiding hundreds of millions - potentially billions – in spending to benefit those who enter our country illegally is a question that demands robust, transparent debate and the full attention of the U.S. Senate and the American people.
Philip Singleton represents the 71st District in Georgia’s State House of Representatives