House Democrats Outdo Themselves with an Unserious Border Security Proposal, Part 1

By Dan Cadman on February 4, 2019

The summary of a bill cooked up by Democrats in the House majority reflects just how unserious they are on the whole subject of border security and immigration control.

The Democrats' proposal not only freezes Border Patrol agent resources at current levels, it cuts by $10 million from the funding request for relocation and retention programs. But look at how it's packaged in the summary:

  • Provides the following increases for the Border Patrol:
    • $35.1 million increase for Border Patrol relocation and retention programs, $10 million below the request; [Emphases added.]

After engaging in that interesting bit of "increase/decrease" linguistic acrobatics, the summary goes on to describe as loosely as possible the Democrats' proposal to provide a half billion dollars more than requested for "humanitarian concerns".

The description of what the humanitarian concerns entail — "medical care, more efficient transportation, food and other consumables, and ... one prototype temporary holding facility (72 hours or less)" (emphasis added) — makes clear that they are not interested in halting the illegal flow of human beings across our borders, but rather in processing them into, through, and out of the system for resettlement as quickly as possible, while doing nothing to either impede or dissuade others from making the journey. But isn't that what "border security" is supposed to be all about? Stopping the flow, not making everyone more comfortable along the way?

Here's another example of linguistic acrobatics. According to the summary, the bill:

  • Funds an Average Daily Population (ADP) of 35,520, for the remainder of FY19, including 34,000 adult beds and 1,250 family beds, with the intention that family detention be phased-out by the end of FY19;

and yet at the same time it:

  • Statutorily limits ADP associated with interior enforcement to 16,500 between enactment and the end of FY19 (this is the approximate ADP level during the last three months of the Obama Administration).

In other words, if enacted into law, this bill would so severely limit the amount of detention space available for ICE's enforcement work in any place away from the immediate vicinity of the border that, if you can get past the Border Patrol, its olly olly oxen free.

The 16,500 beds that would be left to the agency by October 1, when federal fiscal year (FY) 2019 ends, is so limiting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would be in the invidious position of not even having enough space to lock up the hardened criminals it encounters in the interior. This neatly shifts blame away from sanctuary jurisdictions and onto ICE as some of those alien criminals that agents either release, or are forced to ignore for lack of beds, engage in horrific crimes as the result of being left on the streets of the affected communities.

But those aren't the only forced shifts in priorities for the agency that the Democrats demand. The bill would prohibit ICE from "placing sponsors of unaccompanied children into removal proceedings based on information provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement [ORR], with exceptions for those convicted of serious crimes, with serious pending criminal charges, or who may pose a danger to the child."

In other words, the illegal alien parents or other relatives who paid cartels and gangs to have a child smuggled — and possibly physically or sexually abused along the way (credible studies suggest that one-third are victims of such abuse) — will continue to be permitted to conveniently pick him or her up from ORR without fear of arrest, thus putting the U.S. government in the morally repugnant position of completing the smuggling arrangement. What can this possibly do but encourage more of the same?

The bill also specifies that no funds may be used to implement the binding guidance issued by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which he ruled that individuals claiming asylum based on the threat of gang violence or domestic abuse do not fall within the category of "particular social group" members, and therefore are not entitled to protection — even though Sessions' ruling appears to be entirely consistent with the legal notion that one is a member of a particular social group only if it is because of immutable characteristics over which one has no control.

Finally, the House bill would apportion massive amounts of funding to radically expand use of alternative-to-detention programs instead of actual confinement for immigration law violators. While this probably sounds superficially attractive because most people dislike thinking about human beings put into lockdown in a jail-like environment, it's the equivalent of offering the president magic beans in lieu of real border security. I'll explain that in Part 2.

Read Part 2

Topics: Politics