During his hearing on Tuesday, Acting Director of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, told Senator Graham (R - S.C.) that if the 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, also known as the Gang of Eight Bill had passed, many of today's border security hurdles would be moot. Tuesday's hearing allowed Acting Director McAleenan to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the overwhelming numbers of migrants from Central America trying to enter the United States.
On the topic of the Gang of Eight Bill, Sen. Graham posed the question: "If we'd passed th(is)... bill, do you agree that most of the problems we're dealing with, if not all, would not exist?" To which McAleenan replied: "We'd have 20,000 additional border security agents, we'd be a lot more secure on the border."
Later in the hearing, Sen. Graham returned to questioning McAleenan on the failed 2013 bill, asking:
Isn't there generally a trade-off in a deal, where one side gets something and the other side gets something? Hasn't the old trade-off been, we'll give a pathway to citizenship for non-felons in return for border security?
This commentary from McAleenan and Senator Graham could foreshadow some trouble for Graham's current immigration reform bill, S.1494, The Secure and Protect Act of 2019, which is still in committee in the U.S. Senate. Senator Graham is touting the bill as a way to halt the massive influx of illegal immigration currently being seen at the Southern Border. His bill would require immigrants seeking asylum to make their claim in their home countries and allow alien minors to be held in detention for up to 100 days. As it stands, The Secure and Protect Act of 2019 does not include any mass amnesties or extralegal pathways to citizenship, it simply lays out an enforcement plan to amend several legal loopholes that are currently being exploited by aliens at and near the border.
Nevertheless, the intended notion by both Acting Director McAleenan and Sen. Graham that the U.S. would not be facing its current border crisis if the Gang of Eight Bill had been brought up and passed by the house and subsequently signed by then President Obama could not be farther from the truth. In actuality, the situation today would be much worse if S. 744 had passed in 2013.
The Gang of Eight Bill, S. 744, had many ultimately fatal flaws; in a letter warning other senators about such defects Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) stated:
We need immigration reform, but the American people deserve better than a 1,000-page bill that makes our immigration system more complex and less accountable without truly ensuring border security. Americans expect their government to end the lawlessness, not surrender to it. S.744 fails to deliver anything more than the same empty promises Washington has been making for 30 years.
Plus, despite the Senator's and Acting Director's claims on Tuesday, every amnesty bill passed in recent history has spurred exceptionally large surges of illegal immigration at the southern border. In fact, the current surge being experienced at the border comes after talks of amnesty last summer with the Goodlatte-Ryan-Denham Amnesty Bill of 2018 which proposed amnesty for millions of DACA recipients whose status was in danger of being changed. On top of that, the massive wave of immigrants that ascended on the U.S./Mexico border in 2014/2015, comprised of more than 3.1 million new aliens both legal and illegal, was brought about by talks surrounding the Gang of Eight Bill and President Obama's DACA program. Americans realized that a bill proposing amnesty to 11,000,000 illegal aliens, like the Gang of Eight Bill, which would also create no real enforcement opportunities or demands was not the right course of action in 2013, just as Americans realize it is not the right course of action today.
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Updated: Thu, Jun 27th 2019 @ 10:20am EDT