After 8 weeks of back-and-forth theatrics between Pres. Trump and Democratic Leaders (that included a 5-week partial government shutdown), the President received $75 million more in border wall funding than what Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer offered in December.
The cost for obtaining the additional $75 million for fencing was far too high -- a substantial weakening of interior enforcement, including an incentive for 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.
The 1,169-page bill also includes:
- an increase in H-2B guest worker visas;
- a reduction in detention beds used by ICE to hold criminal aliens and illegal border crossers; and
- a hiring freeze for ICE's Enforcement and Removals Operations division.
BORDER TOWNS CAN VETO FENCING
Even Pres. Trump's border wall funding comes with a major condition. Local governments are given the authority to decide on design and location of any border barriers built within their communities. In other words, local border politicians, many of which are funded by the drug cartels, have veto power over new border barriers.
With this "deal", one thing is clear. The open-borders wing in Congress understands the danger that interior enforcement has on deterring future illegal immigration, so they're set on dismantling it.
Meanwhile, many Republicans believe that building a border fence is the lone solution to stopping illegal immigration instead of requiring all employers to use E-Verify, implementing the biometric entry-exit system, and closing up asylum loopholes used by human smugglers.
WE CALLED FOR A VETO BUT NOT A SHUTDOWN
NumbersUSA mobilized our members to ask Senators and Representatives to vote against the spending bill.
Our hope was that Congress would just continue the status quo spending level of Homeland Security through another "Continuing Resolution," rather than change the spending as required in the new bill.
NumbersUSA President Roy Beck told the media:
"We are not asking that the government be shut down over this. Rather, we urge Pres. Trump to veto the bill and for Congress to pass another CR to keep the government running."
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Deputy Director for NumbersUSA
Updated: Sun, Mar 3rd 2019 @ 8:55am EST