President Biden and congressional Democrats are using the so-called “bipartisan compromise” Senate border deal to play a political shell game. They pretend that the proposed bill, which was put together behind closed doors by a handful of negotiators, would secure the border. It would not. The American people should not be fooled by such chicanery. Even the Democrats’ lead negotiator, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, had a moment of candor when he texted that the proposed bill never actually shuts down the border.
The proposed bill’s proponents are trying to make former President Donald Trump the scapegoat for the border crisis by accusing him of torpedoing the proposed Senate bill for his own political purposes. Their gambit backfired. Senators from both parties killed the border deal, 50-49. Democrat Senators Bob Menendez, Alex Padilla, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey voted no. So did Democrat Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders who caucuses with the Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could not even muster enough members of his own party to move this fatally flawed border deal forward. In a desperate p rocedural maneuver to keep the proposed bill alive for another vote in the future, Senator Schumer voted no.
The proposed Senate bill should never have seen the light of day in the first place. It is a Trojan horse intended to provide President Biden with political cover for the catastrophe he created with his own disastrous open border and catch-and-release policies since he took office. The only compromise the Senate “bipartisan” bill would accomplish is to compromise the security and wellbeing of the American people.
President Biden already has all the legislative emergency authority he needs in the existing immigration legislation to truly close the border. Instead, on Day 1 of his administration the president signed a set of executive orders that reversed many of the Trump administration’s border security policies that were working, such as the Remain in Mexico program and the border wall. A president who has refused to use the authority he already possesses to end the border crisis that he created certainly cannot be trusted to enforce any new security provisions that are full of loopholes anyway.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has tried in the past to negotiate a real bipartisan immigration reform bill that emphasizes border security, characterized today’s proposed “bipartisan” bill as a “parody.” He said that it was “written to mock and troll people who believe our borders should be secured.”
To start with, the proposed Senate bill would have appropriated three times as much money for Ukraine than it would have appropriated for securing the U.S. border from the invasion of illegal immigrants into the country. It provides a great example of putting America last.
Second, while establishing more streamlined procedures for provisional noncustodial removal proceedings to adjudicate asylum requests, individuals referred to such proceedings would be considered for alternatives to detention for the duration of the proceedings. That is a fancy way of saying catch-and-release, especially considering that the proposed bill would only fund enough additional beds to detain a handful of illegal immigrants for just a few days.
Third, the bill would grant new emergency authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security that sharply reduces a president’s existing emergency authority to close the border completely. It is false that the proposed bill would expand the president’s emergency authority.
The president already has emergency authority in the existing law to halt all admissions of illegal immigrants at the border if he deems necessary. On the other hand, the proposed Senate bill would provide that “border emergency authority” only comes into play after thousands of illegal immigrants a day have been waved into the country. This border emergency authority would provide the Homeland Security Secretary the discretion to exercise it if the 7-day average number of cumulative encounters of inadmissible illegal immigrants is between 4,000 and 5,000 per day. The Secretary would be required to exercise the authority if the 7-day average is above 5,000 per day.
In short, somewhere between at least 1.460 million and 1.8 million illegal immigrants per year would be allowed to enter the country before the Secretary of Homeland Security would be either allowed or required to trigger a halt to further admissions for emergency reasons. Those yearly limits assume that the triggers for invoking emergency authority to halt further entry are in force for the entire year and apply to all illegal immigrants without exception. But that is not the case. The proposed bill is full of loopholes, which President Biden and his Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who escaped impeachment by the skin of his teeth, would certainly exploit when given a chance.
The proposed bill would authorize the president to suspend the border emergency for up to 45 days if it is in the national interest. This provides an easy way for President Biden to conjure up an excuse like climate change to get around the emergency caps.
The proposed bill also provides that the emergency authority may only be activated for parts of each calendar year during the first three calendar years. It can be activated no more than 270 days in the first year, 225 days in the second year, and 180 days in the third year, respectively. For the balance of the year, it appears that anything goes.
Moreover, unaccompanied children crossing the border anywhere, together with a minimum of 1,400 illegal immigrants entering the U.S. across southwest land ports of entry daily, are not counted in calculating the numbers of illegal immigrants subject to the caps. Unaccompanied children would be provided with legal counsel at taxpayers’ expense.
The proposed bill’s supporters claim that the standard for an eligible asylum claim is stricter than what exists today, and that adjudication of the claims will be much faster – 90 days instead of years. The problem is that for the first time Homeland Security bureaucrats, rather than independent immigration judges, would be adjudicating asylum cases. Do we really want the likes of Secretary Mayorkas and his minions to make such judgments, backed by the liberal U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that would have sole jurisdiction over any challenges?
In sum, this fundamentally flawed proposed bill, which its negotiators have tried to foist on the American people, is full of loopholes that would provide opportunities to the Biden administration to keep the border open with political cover. And the proposed bill would tie the hands of Donald Trump, if he is reelected, or any other future president committed to truly closing the border to illegal immigrants.
Fortunately, the ruse has been exposed. The much-hyped immigration deal went down to defeat by a bipartisan vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.