COMPASS: Democrats respond to border crisis with more incentives
Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. Over the weekend, DC residents began protesting the four-mile fence that remains around the U.S. Capitol, manned by 2,200 National Guard troops who will remain in DC through the end of May.
The House and Senate are in session this week. As the border crisis intensifies — there are nearly 9,500 unaccompanied children in government custody, a record breaking level — House Democrats are bringing two immigration measures to the floor this week. Neither of them have anything to do with border security.
The first would provide a path to citizenship for so-called “dreamers,” as well as immigrants living in the U.S. under “temporary protected status.” Seven House Republican voted for this legislation in the last Congress. The second would provide citizenship for farm workers who are living in the country illegally. 34 Republicans voted for this bill in the last Congress.
That there is a crisis at the border is undeniable, despite recently-confirmed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas insistence that it is merely a “challenge.” The so-called cages decried under the Trump administration have reopened, and CDC has lifted the COVID-19 restrictions to allow them to house at full capacity. Customs and Border Patrol agents are detaining more than 4,200 people along the border each day.
As I wrote recently, all of this is in response to incentives. Upon taking office, the Biden administration undid two key measures which limited illegal crossings under Trump: the Migrant Protection Protocols, which required those claiming asylum to wait in Mexico for their hearing, and asylum agreements with Central American countries which required migrants to claim asylum in the first safe country they entered. Upon undoing these reforms, the Biden administration began implementing “catch and release” — the policy of apprehending migrants before releasing them into the interior of the country to await an asylum hearing.
The message from the Biden administration is clear: if you can get into the country, you can stay. Massive criminal cartels have responded to these incentives, weaponizing the Biden administration’s weak border enforcement to facilitate their billion-dollar human trafficking business.
There is a humanitarian crisis at the border. And it’s one facilitated by our own laws and actions.
The Senate, meanwhile, is considering the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) to be Secretary of the Interior. Conservative leaders have opposed her ideological opposition to fossil fuels. The Senate Health, Education, and Labor Committee will soon consider the nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine to be Assistant Secretary of Health. Dr. Levine refused to respond to questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over the use of puberty blockers and gender reassignment surgery in children.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering the nomination of Vanita Gupta to be Associate Attorney General of the Department of Justice. Gupta recently told senators that America is a systemically racist country.
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