Late last night Congress released a 1,159 page funding bill ahead of Friday's partial government shutdown deadline.
The legislation was supposed to include a number of serious and robust border security measures. Unfortunately, it falls far short. It greatly inhibits the President and federal law enforcement from taking real action to secure the border in the future. Further, it exacerbates the crisis with catch and release, unaccompanied minors, "family" units and false asylum claims.
The House-Senate conference agreement on border security maintains the prohibition against building Trump's concrete wall or any of the prototypes he viewed in California, allowing only for current bollard fencing designs. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/yibsqQAsy5— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) February 14, 2019
Moreover, the compromise bill also extends prohibitions about building in certain areas along the border, including the National Butterfly Center, which had sued to stop construction. pic.twitter.com/uOoMS2BtQC— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) February 14, 2019
First, the bill limits where barriers can be built. Second, the bollard design easily allows illegal immigrants to pass through and is even less efficient than a fence. It certainly isn't a wall, not even close. The $1.3 billion allocated for just 55 miles of bollard barrier is far from the original estimate of $26 billion for hundreds of miles of a significant barrier. It's a fifth of the $5.6 billion the White House most recently asked for.
On the continuing unaccompanied minor crisis, adult sponsors who may have criminal records or who are often times in the United States illegally, are given immunity and amnesty. This will greatly increase the problem.
Lots of bad but swallowable stuff in $ bill. But Sec.224 is a poison pill: Gives deportation immunity to any sponsor—or POTENTIAL sponsor—of an "unaccompanied" alien child. Creates incentive for illegals already here to order up kids from Central America (or anywhere). Outrageous— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) February 14, 2019
Also worth noting that 80% of the sponsors of UACs are in the country illegally. Also, if UACs are joining family members already here, are they really "unaccompanied" any longer? https://t.co/cbPi76grZx— Jessica Vaughan (@JessicaV_CIS) February 14, 2019
As @JessicaV_CIS notes, there is a serious amnesty/sanctuary provision snuck into the spending bill.— Center for Immigration Studies (@CIS_org) February 14, 2019
Section 224(a) would make it so ICE cannot detain or remove anyone who has effectively any kind of relationship (even just as a "potential sponsor") with any unaccompanied minor: pic.twitter.com/QITiAEVw1w
The bill puts a cap on how many illegal aliens or asylum seekers Immigration and Customs and Enforcement is allowed to detain, including violent criminal aliens.
The bill also significantly increases the disclosures required of ICE regarding detention data. This is to ensure that ICE actually is slashing detention as required by the bill: pic.twitter.com/7sI6R2PbyT— Center for Immigration Studies (@CIS_org) February 14, 2019
Hard to overstate how worrisome this provision is. Consider the incentives it creates:— Matt Sussis (@matt_sussis) February 14, 2019
- Huge numbers of aliens claiming to be part of the same “household” to avoid removal
- Much stronger draw for smugglers to import unaccompanied children
All in exchange for <$1.4B of fencing? https://t.co/aWILIyCgo9
The Department of Homeland Security describes the current crisis this way:
Our nation is experiencing an unprecedented crisis on our Southern Border that is the result of three very specific loopholes— created by federal law and a 9th Circuit court ruling— that prevent the detention and repatriation of illegal alien minors and family units.
FY18 is the highest number of family unit apprehensions on record – it is more than 40% higher than any previous year on record. The number of family units along the Southwest border increased 22% from August to September.
As a result of these loopholes, when illegal alien minors or adults traveling with minors unlawfully enter the United States, rather than being detained and removed, they are released into American communities. Once released, they are ever rarely removed.
Knowledge of these loopholes has led to a dramatic transformation in the population of those seeking to enter our country illegally. Whereas previously, CBP was primarily apprehending single adults, now CBP is experiencing an influx of minors and adults traveling with minors seeking to enter illegally.
The result of these loopholes is that smugglers and illegal migrants know that if they arrive in the U.S. illegally as a minor (or arrive with a minor), they can benefit from catch-and-release and then disappear into the interior of the country.
This bill creates more loopholes, it does nothing to close them. The benefits of a measly 55 mile long bollard structure are far outweighed by the detrimental provisions in the legislation that will continue the current humanitarian crisis on the border. It appears nothing in this legislation will actually stop Central American caravans or the unaccompanied minor and family unit crisis. Instead, it does the opposite through new incentives.
President Trump has said he doesn't want another shutdown, but has not indicated whether he will sign the deal. He's at the White House today reviewing the text with his team.
Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the @WhiteHouse!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2019
Before the text was released yesterday, President Trump said he would be looking for "landmines" in the bill before making a final decision. Fueling the current crisis and making it worse is certainly a big one.