Large and broad bi-partisan majorities of the U.S. House last night and today agreed to put significantly more money and oomph into key programs to reduce the illegal population of this country.
These are just first steps that now have to get through the Senate. But we now have several roll call votes to know where all the Members of this new House stand on illegal immigration.
READ IN THIS BLOG ABOUT ALL THE IMMIGRATION AMENDMENTS to the 2012 Department of Homeland Security spending bill . . . . .
I'm pleased to tell you that your NumbersUSA Capitol Hill Team was involved with each of the congressional offices in crafting and introducing the following amendments that were approved by the U.S. House.
HOUSE FINALLY BACKS OUR ROSEMARY JENKS' CRUSADES TO ATTACK ARIZONA 'SPOTTER NESTS' AND SUPPORT THE 'SHADOW WOLVES'
This was really quite a savory moment for Rosemary Jenks, your NumbersUSA Director of Government Relations.
By voice vote and after colorful descriptions by the sponsor, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the House approved by voice vote two amendments that would:
- set aside $1 million for the Border Patrol to use to eliminate the Mexican drug cartels' look-out posts along the borders,
- set aside $1 million for hiring additional Shadow Wolves, the extraordinarily and uniquely talented Native Americans who track illegal aliens and foreign para-military along the Mexican border.
Rep. Steve King
Over several years, Rosemary has taken Congressman King and other Members of Congress to the border to show them the outrageous "Spotter Nests" atop scores of desert hills and mountains in Arizona that are used by the Mexican drug cartels.
Rosemary has led these "tours" in climbing to the nests in the blazing summer sun and occasionally in dramatic helicopter hoverings that get to the nests more easily but less safely. They often didn't know until they were near the nests whether the well-armed spotters were absent. Of course from their vantage point, the spotters had plenty of time to leave once they saw the delegation approaching.
The "Spotters" use the nests to watch all movements by our Border Patrol and then radio to smugglers of drugs and people where to avoid and where to hide based on the location of the Border Patrol.
The Native American Shadow Wolves have played a key role in our understanding of the problem of the Spotter Nests and other issues along the border. On-the-ground federal personnel in Arizona have also confirmed the nest locations (off the record, of course). They have told us that higher-ups will not authorize eliminating the Spotter Nests.
We always thought government officials and the news media would find it outrageous that foreign criminal agents are occupying U.S. territory so cavalierly with little challenge.
We were wrong.
A number of Congressmen have tried to get first the Bush Administration and then the Obama Administration to take out these Spotter Nests. But for unexplained reasons, both Administrations have preferred not to challenge the drug cartels.
Rosemary (with me in hand at times) has tried to "sell" this story over the years to many news media outlets, including NBC and Fox. This story is ready-made for dramatic TV investigative reporting. But again NOTHING. We suspect that the government in each case has scared reporters off the story by denying the existence of the Spotters.
Nobody has pursued this strange situation of sovereignty infringement like Rep. King. His amendment is one more effort to push the feds into either doing something about the Spotters Nests or taking Congress into its confidence as to why our government is willing to have drug cartels greatly improve their ability to move illegal aliens (and drugs) past our Border Patrol on a daily basis.
NEARLY 20% INCREASE IN FUNDING FEDERAL TRAINING OF LOCAL POLICE TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS UNDER 287(g)
This was a tremendous step victory for all of you who want to see more immigration enforcement from local police.
Although the open-borders groups constantly try to end the federal 287(g) program, we won this amendment 267 to 151.
And 36 Democrats bucked their Party's general opposition to local police enforcement of immigration laws, voting with all but one Republican to actually increase local participation.
Rep. Ed Royce
This was the first immigration amendment that came up last night in a two-day marathon of appropriations amendments. It was offered by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) who asked to move money from the Office of the Secretary of Management at DHS and add it to money already included for DHS to facilitate new agreements with local governments under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Lots of city, county and state law enforcement agencies have asked to be part of the program but can't because of a huge waiting list for training.
The holdup is lack of money appropriated by Congress for the training that must take place before local agencies are allowed to enforce certain immigration laws.
Royce's amendment would add nearly 20% to the funding for such training.
The opposition on the floor was led by Rep. Price (D-N.C.) who was in charge of these appropriations the previous four years and tried to starve the 287(g) program. He took the microphone and argued not only against Royce's amendment but against allowing the local enforcement program to continue at all.
Fortunately, Price is no longer in charge.
HOUSE CRUSHES REP. POLIS' EFFORT TO END LOCAL ENFORCEMENT OF IMMIGRATION LAWS
Late this afternoon, Boulder's Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) surprised us by taking advantage of the open amendment process and offered an amendment that not only would negate our victory from last night on the Royce amendment but would remove ALL FUNDING for the 287(g) program.
Rep. Jared Polis
This set up a wonderful opportunity for voters nationwide to find out who stands with the open-borders lobbies who oppose virtually every kind of enforcement against illegal immigration. They have been calling for Pres. Obama to just shut down 287(g) by executive fiat. So, Rep. Polis gave every Member of the House a chance to stand in solidarity with the open-borders groups.
Distressingly 107 Members of the U.S. House were willing to do that. We will provide the list of these pro-illegal-immigration Members on our website as soon as we get it.
But reassuringly, Rep. Polis' attempt to show Pres. Obama that doing away with local enforcement is politically popular failed miserably.
U.S. Representatives voted 312 to 107 to continue the federal program for local enforcement of immigration laws.
All 231 Republican votes were for 287(g) local enforcement.
And 81 of the 188 Democratic votes (43%) also stood behind local enforcement.
While the open-borders groups may be able to brag to Pres. Obama that they are the voice of the majority of Democrats in the House, it is a very narrow majority in the minority Party.
What we can say is that there is an overwhelming majority (74%) of the entire House -- a BROAD BI-PARTISAN majority -- that backs local enforcement of immigration laws.
And we now know the names of the fringe minority who don't.
These votes should be reflected on our NumbersUSA Immigration-Reduction Report Cards later Friday.
$5 MILLION MORE FOR FEDERAL CENTER THAT ASSISTS LOCAL POLICE WHEN THEY ENCOUNTER ILLEGAL ALIENS
John Barrow, the Democratic Representative for Savannah and Augusta, Georgia, is a great leader of that "43% Pro-Enforcement Wing" of Democratic Representatives.
Rep. John Barrow
He championed a great amendment last night that would move $5 million from the DHS administration budget to add to the salaries and expenses for the Law Enforcement Support Center.
This is the national call center that provides assistance to state and local law enforcement when they are dealing with illegal aliens.
The Center has been woefully under-manned and under-funded.
While there remains quite a debate about how much state, county and local law enforcement should be REQUIRED to do in enforcing immigration laws, surely nearly everybody can agree that the federal government should assist those jurisdictions that ASK for help in identifying and processing illegal aliens.
Rep. Barrow's amendment augments beautifully Rep. Royce's amendment on 287(g), which is also about helping those jurisdictions that don't want to put the welcome mat out for illegal aliens.
LEADERS OF BOTH PARTIES APPARENTLY DECIDED THEY DIDN'T WANT MANY ROLL CALL VOTES ON IMMIGRATION AMENDMENTS
Interestingly, after the lop-sided win for Royce's 287(g) amendment early last night, both Democratic and Republican leaders basically quit asking for roll call votes on immigration amendments the rest of the evening.
Rep. Barrow's amendment was approved by voice vote, with nobody challenging and asking for a recorded vote.
I am most pleased to see Democratic leaders decide that recorded votes showing the majority of Democrats opposing enforcement would be bad politically. This shows that the Democratic leaders are aware that the current Party line of opposing most immigration enforcement (unless tied to an amnesty) is politically unpopular.
My guess is that Democratic leaders were not particularly pleased with Rep. Polis' grandstanding late this afternoon and putting so many of the anti-enforcement Democrats on record.
THE FACT THAT 130 MEMBERS VOTED TO ALLOW VIOLENT ILLEGAL ALIENS TO BE RELEASED INTO OUR POPULATION SHOWED THE NEED FOR THE AMENDMENT TO STOP THE PRACTICE
Rep. Chip Cravaack
We won 288 to 130 on the amendment to block funding that allows the Administration to release violent illegal aliens into the U.S. population while awaiting deportation.
The amendment came from freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.). Some of our NumbersUSA members wondered if this wasn't just a creampuff amendment that would allow 435 Members of the House to get a pro-enforcement vote. After all, who could be in favor of releasing violent illegal aliens into our communities?
But 130 Members opposed the amendment. You'll see their names on our website as soon as we get them.
OTHER OF OUR AMENDMENTS THAT PASSED BY VOICE VOTE
- Amendment by Rep. Poe (R-Texas) to withhold certain federal funds from cities that have sanctuary policies that prohibit local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
- Another amendment by Rep. Poe that prohibits the President and Administration from using the "deferred action" tool to give temporary amnesty to large numbers of illegal aliens. As defined by law, deferred action on deportation of an illegal alien is supposed to be case-by-case based on very special circumstances. Instead, the Administration's use of "deferred action" last year has grown from an average of 900 cases a year to 12,000 last year.
- The final bill included an amendment by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) requiring all contractors with the federal government to use E-Verify. Although this is already required by Pres. Obama's executive order in 2009, this amendment would eliminate the ability of this or any future President to cease the requirement. We were pleased that this amendment was so persuasive that appropriations leaders added it to the underlying spending bill before it was brought to the floor.
'STEP VICTORIES' ARE ONLY THE BEGINNING OF THE ROAD TO TRUE IMPROVEMENT -- BUT WE CAN'T GET THERE WITHOUT THESE ESSENTIAL FIRST STEPS
I hasten to explain that we call the votes "step victories" because they are just a step in the process. Until they are part of legislation signed into law, nothing actually gets better. Improvements that are still there in a signed bill are the only things that can truly be called "victories."
(1) The House has the responsibility of starting appropriations bills. (2) Then the Senate takes up the passed bills and either approves them in entirety or (3) amends them and (4) sends them back to the House (5) or to a Joint Conference committee to iron out the differences (6) after which the compromise conference bill goes back to both Senate and House for another approval vote, (7) and at the end of whatever scenario a bill goes to the President to sign or veto.
Nonetheless, you can't get to the President's desk unless somebody somewhere first approves what you want. That happened last night -- SEVERAL TIMES!
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHOSE PHONE CALLS AND FAXES THIS WEEK AND THE LAST 5 MONTHS HAVE LED TO SUCH GOOD VOTES LAST NIGHT AND TODAY.
I HOPE YOU FEEL A DEEP SENSE OF SATISFACTION WITH THESE 'STEP VICTORIES.' WE'LL KEEP YOU INFORMED AS THE APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS MOVES FORWARD.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Jul 24th 2017 @ 2:59pm EDT