NumbersUSA’s Government Relations Director Rosemary Jenks informed Members of Congress that her organization will score against affirmative votes for the budget deal (Conference Report to Accompany H.J. Res. 31). She cited provisions that encourage the smuggling and trafficking of children, reduce funding for ICE detention beds, and double the number of H-2B seasonal guest workers for the fiscal year. NumbersUSA is advocating passage of another continuing resolution to give Congress time to fix numerous problems in the pending measure.

Jenks sent Members of Congress the statement below.

“Among the many problems in the Conference Report to Accompany H.J. Res. 31 is a provision (Sec. 224) which prohibits ICE from cooperating with Health and Human Services to detain or remove illegal alien sponsors of unaccompanied alien children (UACs). These sponsors often are the very people who actually paid the cartels to smuggle the children into the United States, putting them at great risk of kidnapping, sexual assault, murder, or even being abandoned in the desert to die. According to ICE, close to 80% of the sponsors or household members of sponsors of the 224,000 UACs HHS has released since 2014 are in the country illegally. While most smugglers face felony charges for smuggling, this provision would exempt these sponsors—even if they have been convicted of certain other crimes—from the consequences of their immigration crimes.

“NumbersUSA cannot remain silent in the face of a bill that condones and encourages the smuggling and trafficking of children. Section 224 is exactly the kind of “loophole” that led to the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, and, if enacted, it will be an incentive for more people to put their children in harm’s way.

“Similarly, NumbersUSA cannot support the war on ICE that some in Congress are waging, and that is reflected in the provisions of this bill that reduce funding for detention beds and freeze hiring of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field personnel. We strongly support the men and women of ICE ERO who put their lives on the line everyday to protect our communities, and Congress should, too.

“Further, this bill shows contempt for the most vulnerable American workers by authorizing DHS to nearly double the available H-2B visas for the remainder of FY 2019. Wages in most H-2B industries have only barely begun to increase in our booming economy. Americans working in these jobs deserve to see their wages rise. Moreover, there are still more than 50 million working-age Americans who are outside the labor force and need to be brought in. Employers should recruit them, rather than importing cheap foreign labor.

“While 55 miles of new fencing, restricted to the Rio Grande Valley and restricted in design, may be better than nothing, it cannot be worth the safety and lives of children or the economic success of American workers.

“Vote NO on the Conference Report to Accompany H.J. Res. 31.”

NumbersUSA is urging citizens to call their Members of Congress in opposition to the budget deal.

Updated: Thu, Feb 28th 2019 @ 2:35pm EST