Unless the issue is resolved between now and Friday, there will be a “shutdown” of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) due to the GOP’s determination to withhold funding for President Obama’s dubious immigration agenda. The quotes around the word shutdown reflect the fatuousness behind the hysteria being whipped up by the Obama administration and their media allies. That’s because 80 percent of the DHS’s 240,000 employees are deemed “essential,” and will continue to work, albeit without receiving paychecks until the dispute is resolved.
Nonetheless Sen. Tom Carper, senior Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (D-DE) sounded the oh-so predictable alarm. "If Congress forces a shutdown of the department, front-line personnel will be asked to continue to work without pay,” he declared. "That includes 40,000 Customs and Border Protection officers needed to keep our borders secure.”
Secure borders is another leftist-promulgated euphemism that falls apart, under even the most casual scrutiny. Texas Gov. Rick Perry explains. "Already this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people come across the border, apprehended, unauthorized,” he said. "And so we have an ongoing problem on the border that Congress must step up and solve.”
Yet it gets worse. Despite Obama’s claim that his amnesty agenda would “stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do crossover,” internal emails obtained by the National Review Online reveal exactly the opposite is occurring. As NRO explains, "Border Patrol division chief Kelly C. Good e-mailed agents last month to tell them they should issue far fewer ‘Notices to Appear.’” NTAS are the vehicle used by the DHS to initiate deportation proceedings. Breitbart News also obtained border patrol training documents explaining that the "vast majority of illegal immigrants in the U.S. are off limits to federal agents and are substantially immune to detention and deportation.”
Breitbart further notes these documents should not be construed as discouraging arrests, but a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agent who provided the documents to Breitbart under condition of anonymity, illuminated the essential message behind them. “Nothing says don’t arrest, but it clearly says don’t waste your time because the alien will not be put into detention, sent back or deported,” the agent explained. "There is literally no reason to arrest an illegal alien because they are specifically telling Border Patrol there will be no consequence for the illegal alien. It is a waste of time and resources to arrest someone who is off limits for detainment or deportation and the documents make that fact clear. Border Patrol agents are now being trained to be social workers, not law enforcement.”
The material companied a memo from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants” was released last November and became effective Jan. 5. The CPB agent explains the memo has essentially gutted the deportation process. “Before these changes, all illegal aliens arrested by Border Patrol were required to enter the deportation system where they would be scheduled for a deportation hearing at a future date,” the agent revealed. "Under this new system, the illegal aliens are not even required to show up for a hearing ever. Not only are we releasing these people with no hearings scheduled, no notice to appear, but the DHS is forcing Border Patrol to prepare the initial paperwork for the illegal aliens’ work permits.”
Those would be work permits—along with three years of tentative lawful status, the issuance of Social Security numbers, the procurement of travel rights and the right to a obtain driver’s license the Obama administration intended to bestow on as many as 4 million illegal aliens, prior to the stay issued by Judge Andrew S. Hanen, in response to litigation filed by 26 states. On Monday, the Obama administration filed an appeal with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, as well as a request for an immediate stay of his own injunction from Hanen. Joyce R. Branda, acting assistant attorney general, had the temerity to insist that the “balance of hardships” that would befall illegals if Obama’s agenda could not be implemented, "tips decidedly in favor of a stay.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest further revealed just how hypocritical the Obama administration is willing to be in pursuit of their agenda, suggesting that "if (Hanen) won’t grant a stay for the full injunction, then (he) should just grant a stay so that we can move forward with these executive actions in other states,” the administration claims are in favor of Obama’s agenda. As the Washington Times reveals, that request is "a stunning reversal for the administration, which for years has argued against treating some states differently in immigration, saying there needs to be uniformity across the country for immigration policy to make sense."
In other words, the Obama administration’s oft-used “by any means necessary” approach to governance is once again in play.
Despite the administration’s transparent hypocrisy, the GOP remains a divided party regarding a possible shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is attempting to push a strategy that avoids a direct link between DHS funding and Obama’s immigration agenda. He has scheduled votes later this week using that strategy. He believes separating that agenda from DHS funding is "another way to get the Senate unstuck.” Another option being discussed is a continuing resolution to maintain DHS funding for a relatively short period of time while courts decide the fate of Obama's immigration actions.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had other ideas. “We need to fund the Department of Homeland Security. We cannot shut down the Department of Homeland Security,” he insisted, ignoring the aforementioned reality that no real shutdown will occur. Other Republicans regurgitated the same argument, adding the familiar lament that any DHS shutdown would amount to a “political debacle” inevitably blamed on their party. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) offered another toothless solution, suggesting the Senate could hold a nonbinding vote expressing support for the judge’s ruling, even as the DHS would get its funding.
What is clear is that the GOP remains in mortal fear of getting blamed for a government shutdown, despite the reality that the last one did so much “damage” to their party, Americans handed them a victory of blowout proportions in the 2014 mid-term election. And the message behind that blowout was clear: put a stop to this administration’s lawless agenda.
Yet they remain paralyzed by self-inflicted fear, as Democrats endeavor to link the failure to fund the DHS to providing an opportunity for terrorists. "Let's pass funding for Homeland Security today to show unity against terrorists,” tweeted Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
All well and good, but perhaps a better arena to demonstrate unity against potential terrorists would be a public investigation of the Obama administration’s immigration policies vis a vis Muslim nations. Between 2010 and 2013, nearly 300,000 immigrants from terrorist hot zones have been allowed to emigrate to America, including 41,094 Iraqi nationals Moreover, the State Department insists it will quadruple the number of refugees from Syria, despite the reality that ISIS is embedded in that war torn nation. Those totals represent more immigrants than the administration has allowed to enter America from Central America and Mexico combined. And all of this is occurring even as FBI director James Comey admits his agency has opened up cases against individuals suspected to having ties to ISIS in 49 out of 50 states.
Despite this reality, it is virtually certain any attempt to question an administration that seems to be working at cross purposes with itself—and against the interests of the American public--would be branded “Islamophobic.”
As for GOP branding, “timid” is the operative word, and no one illuminates that timidity better than Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who offered the most viable solution to the current impasse. “I would advocate to the GOP the thing that they’re looking at is a surrender on this, they’re going to get the blame if Homeland Security is shut down, even though it’ll largely operate nonetheless,” he states. "So, if you’re going to get the blame, I think what they ought to do is abolish the filibuster and actually pass the budget for Homeland Security, which leaves out any of the funding in the immigration service for the unlawful, illegal executive amnesty of the president, and then send it on to the president.”
In a previous column on the same subject he reminded Americans it was former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) who already exercised the nuclear option, allowing a simple majority of 51 votes to end a filibuster instead of the 60 vote threshold Democrats have used to block a vote on the current bill four times. "Democrats showed in 2013 their willingness to trash Senate procedure for a mess of pottage — three judges on one court,” he writes. "If Republicans stand pat now, what’s to stop Democrats from abolishing the filibuster altogether when it suits them in the future?”
Absolutely nothing, which is exactly why the GOP should seize the initiative. Krauthammer notes the gigantic upside for doing so. "If you send (the DHS defunding bill) on to the president and he has to do a veto, a public act where he vetoes the funding for the department, the narrative will be that the president, in order to protect an unlawful action on immigration that is extremely unpopular anyway, is risking the security of the country.”
As of this writing, Krauthammer’s advice is being conspicuously ignored by a GOP best described as a political party more than willing to make the appearance of putting up a fight, rather than a party willing to actually engage in one. In doing so they are also ignoring Judge Hanen’s rationale for staying Obama’s agenda. “The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” Hanen explained in his ruling, adding that legalizing millions of illegal aliens is a “virtually irreversible” action. It would be wise for the GOP to consider that their determination to squander the mandate handed to them in last year’s election could be equally irreversible.
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