Two immigration bills are making their way through the House of Representatives, both of which address the Biden border crisis and seek to stem the tide of illegal migration at our Southwest border. To discuss the bills and the potential impact on the border crisis, we are joined on Parsing Immigration Policy by two experts with over thirty years of experience in immigration policy on Capitol Hill.
George Fishman, the Center for Immigration Studies’ Senior Legal Fellow, examines the details of the “Border Security and Enforcement Act of 2023” (H.R. 2640), introduced by U.S. Representatives Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) in the House Judiciary Committee. Fishman explains how the bill provides necessary enforcement tools, while the language forces DHS to use them, rather than relying on the administration’s good faith. It ends the abuse of the parole power, and creates a Title 42-like authority that does not require a public health emergency. H.R. 2640 also strengthens the present detention mandate for those crossing the border illegally by requiring those migrants be returned to Mexico, if detention is not possible. Finally, the bill makes E-Verify mandatory for all employers.
Andrew Arthur, the Center’s Resident Fellow in Law and Policy, discusses the “Border Reinforcement Act of 2023” (H.R. 2794), introduced by U.S. Representative Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Arthur explains that the bill would, among other things, require the Biden administration to complete the Southwest border fencing system, which includes cameras, lights, all-weather roads, and the installation of fiber optic cable along the border line. It also authorizes the Border Patrol to increase staffing at the Southwest border by 5,000 agents, added to the current 17,000; the Biden administration recently put forth a proposal increasing the number of agents by fewer than 350.
The bills will likely be joined and sent to the House floor in May after Title 42 is lifted. Passage of the package in the House will be challenging, given the narrow Republican majority, but depending on what the border looks like post-Title 42, it is possible some Democrats in the House and Senate could support the legislative package.
In his closing commentary, Mark Krikorian, host of the podcast and the Center’s Executive Director, highlights the out-of-touch views many lawmakers – on both sides of the political aisle – have toward immigrants workers, viewing them primarily as a source of low-cost domestic help.
Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Andrew Arthur served as a Counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, where he performed oversight of immigration issues.
George Fishman served for two decades as the Republican Chief Counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee with jurisdiction over immigration.
Voices in the opening montage:
- Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
- Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
- President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
- Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
- Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
- Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
- Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
- Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
- Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
- Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".