Immigration hard-liners say a proposed border security bill from Republican lawmakers doesn’t do nearly enough to address systemic flaws in the U.S. immigration system.
The draft legislation from Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn and Texas GOP Rep. Michael McCaul calls for more detention space and immigration judges on the border to speed up deportations, as well as heavier criminal penalties for illegal aliens who return after being removed.
But advocates of tougher immigration enforcement who’ve seen the draft say it does nothing to address certain problems on the border and in the interior of the country. The bill doesn’t provide for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, penalize businesses that hire illegal immigrants, or mandate the employment verification system E-Verify, reports the Washington Post.
Without those provisions, the law won’t reduce incentives for illegal immigrants to come to the U.S. in the first place, says Jessica Vaughn, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.
“There’s not a single thing about work-site enforcement or anything at all against employers,” Vaughan told the Washington Post, “It’s tinkering around the margins.”
Cornyn and McCaul’s proposal comes as many of Trump’s executive orders to crack down on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities are held up in federal courts. The bill seeks expand the sources of funding that could be withheld from cities and states that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. It would also provide a legislative remedy to a California judge’s ruling that only Congress, and not the president, can place conditions on federal funds. (RELATED: President Trump Said He Will Defund Sanctuary Cities. It’s Unclear How It Will Get Done.)
Both of the bill’s sponsors have downplayed the need for a barrier along the entire U.S-Mexico border, which is the centerpiece of Trump’s border security strategy and a top item on immigration hawks’ wish list. Cornyn said in April that “there’s parts of our border which it [the wall] makes no sense” and that when Trump talks about a wall, “he’s speaking metaphorically.”
Robert Law, director of government relations for the Federation For American Immigration Reform, says the lack of commitment to the border wall means Congress “keeps missing the mark” on immigration enforcement.
“It’s the same failed attempt every single Congress,” Law told WaPo. “New Congress, and nothing changes in actually securing the border.”
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