The Republican leadership’s new border security bill is the deceptive first stage of a campaign to pass a wage-shrinking amnesty bill, say conservative immigration reformers, including GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions.
The proposal “does not end catch-and-release [of new border crossers]; it does not require mandatory detention and return; it does not include worksite enforcement [and] it does not close dangerous asylum and national security loopholes,” said a strongly worded Jan. 20 statement from Sessions.
The bill “does not cut-off access to federal welfare; and it does not require completion of the border fence. … It [also] delays and weakens the longstanding unfulfilled statutory requirement for a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system,” said Sessions, who argues that the GOP can win the 2016 election with a low-immigration, high-wage platform.
That bill “is nothing more than theatre to create confusion and prey on the naivety of the public in order to pass amnesty,” stage by stage, said Dan Horowitz, an advocate at Conservative Review.
The bill “throws a lot of money at the border agencies without making the needed policy changes that would deter illegal immigration, such as tighter workplace verification and consistent repatriation of illegals,” Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Caller.
The insincerity of the bill’s authors, she said, is highlighted by its approval of only 27 miles of fencing along the 2,000 mile border with Mexico, she said.
“Twenty-seven miles is a is a drop in the bucket. … It tells you that this bill is meant to be a token border security bill, not a serious attempt to address the problem,” she said.
The bill will be debated and perhaps modified in a committee meeting Wednesday, Jan. 21, the day after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. That time slot will minimize public recognition of the bill’s weaknesses, say critics.
The bill was drafted by Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. It provide extra money for border security, demands border officials develop a better plan for blocking illegals, but sets no significant penalties if top officials choose to not block illegals or build the 27 miles of fencing.
Prior laws have required hundreds of miles of fencing, plus a computer system to log the arrival and departure of tourists, business visitors, students and temporary workers. Roughly 40 percent of illegals arrived by air and overstayed their visas. Only short sections of the border have fencing, and the tracking system has not been built.
McCaul’s office rejected the criticism.
The committee “deals solely with the problem at our southern, northern, and maritime borders,” not interior enforcement, said a statement from McCaul.
“The bill matches resources to needs, putting 27 more miles of fencing where fencing is needed… In our conversations with outside groups, experts and stakeholders, we learned that it would be an inefficient use of taxpayer money to complete the fence,” the statement said.
“We are using that [saved] money to utilize other technology to create a secure border,” said the statement.
“My constituents in my home district and my home state of Texas spoke loud and clear. They want the border secured,” the statement added.
The other bills are expected to include business-backed provisions allowing companies to import hundreds of thousands of foreign food-sector workers and blue-collar workers, plus an unlimited number of university-trained foreign workers and their families.
The GOP’s base is overwhelmingly opposed to an amnesty, and the eventual GOP candidate in 2016 will need those voters to enthusiastically support his campaign. For example, a January 2015 poll by The Washington Post showed that 89 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of swing-voting independents and 32 percent of Democrats oppose Obama’s November effort to block repatriation of all 12 million illegals, and to award work permits to at least four million illegals who have U.S-born children. The poll’s results are similar to polls taken in late 2014.
“The politicians in both parties understand that Americans are overwhelmingly against their amnesty agenda,” Horowitz told TheDC. In November, “67 percent of blue state voters in Oregon rejected an effort to grant drivers licenses to illegal aliens, even though proponents of the ballot measure outspent opponents by 10-1,” he said.