Critics Say Deal Erases Country’s Borders Under Guise of Tightening Control
Amid mounting public outrage at the soaring numbers of illegal migrants, including criminal elements, flooding across the open southwest border, a Senate deal to resolve the crisis was finally unveiled early this week, triggering immediate blowback from GOP leaders.
Border security has become a top issue going into a 2024 presidential election. As the Biden administration’s approval ratings plummet, the White House is urgently seeking a border deal combined with aid packages to Ukraine and Israel.
Negotiators who crafted the bill says it aims to overhaul the immigration system, and particularly, to quell the chaos at the border that has ballooned out of control since President Biden took office three years ago.
“Even Democrats now use the word “crisis” to describe what has erupted on President Biden’s watch,” wrote the Washington Examiner.
Those who negotiated the deal said it is a long-overdue revamping of the country’s border controls, giving U.S. presidents new tools to try to stem the wholesale collapse of the current system.
Detractors say the bill’s provisions continue the present intolerable situation of allowing illegal immigration in excessive numbers under the pretense of tightening border controls.
Deal Enables 5,000 Illegal Migrants A Day
Critics acknowledge the bill would expand the government’s deportation force and try to speed up immigration court hearings. The deal includes a new expulsion power similar to the pandemic-era Title 42 policy, which allowed the U.S. to compel illegal immigrants to return to their native Mexico (Return to Mexico Act).
All of this would kick in, however, only after the migrant flow averages more than 5,000 a day.
The core objection raised by GOP lawmakers is precisely this point: the deal in effect greenlights 5,000 migrants to cross the border daily, which would permit up to 150,000 illegal crossings per month, before a new “shutdown” authority could be invoked.
The proposal would also provide billions in taxpayer dollars to bail out sanctuary cities and states that continue to provide social services to illegal immigrants. It would pour massive amounts of money into Customs and Border Protection, ICE and Citizenship and Immigration Services.
It would also pay migrants’ attorneys’ fees in the deportation process, and continue to fund non-profit organizations that are pushing for open borders, and deliberately facilitating mass migration into the U.S.
“The deal is a backroom political ploy that would make permanent Biden’s tools for causing chaos and an open border. The American people will not be fooled by this,” The Heritage Foundation wrote in an op-ed in The Hill.
Should Illegal Immigrants Receive Work Permits?
The sweeping Senate deal, spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, would expand legal immigration by 50,000 spaces a year and grant immediate work permits to illegal immigrants.
Critics harshly criticized this provision, arguing that work permits for illegals would only incentivize more asylum fraud, enabling all kinds of criminal conduct from illegal drugs pouring into the country to child trafficking to cartels making millions off the southern border.
Citing data from 2023, a Republican Homeland Committee Report affirmed that “the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has arrested 35,433 aliens with criminal convictions or outstanding warrants nationwide, including 598 known gang members, 178 of those being MS-13 members (a violent, criminal gang).”
“In addition, the CBP, including Air and Marine Operations, has seized 27,293 pounds of fentanyl, coming across the Southwest border—enough to kill more than 6 billion people.”
Since taking office, President Biden has allowed upwards of 6 million people into the United States through the southwest border, and perhaps closer to 8 million when including those who crossed over undetected—called “got-aways,” according to the House Republican Homeland Security Committee.
“To put this into perspective,” writes Attorney Bobbie Ann Cox, a high-profile conservative activist, “the Obama administration considered 1,000 attempted illegal crossings in a day to be a “crisis,” and yet under Biden, the number of actual illegal crossings are approximately 9,700 a day, using December 2023 numbers.”
“That’s about ten times the number that Obama considered a ‘crisis.’”
“While monthly apprehensions and encounters continue to increase, DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas continues to double down on his “mass-parole” programs, facilitating the entry of inadmissible aliens into the United States at a scale never before seen,” the House Homeland Security report stated. [See Sidebar]
Democrats Protesting Border Chaos
“It’s not just Republicans and border officials who are complaining about unsustainable numbers of migrants,” a USA Today article said. “It’s also Democratic mayors of some of the largest cities in the country – Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Denver – who are begging Biden to do something.”
“They can no longer afford to house and help all the undocumented individuals heading to their cities. It’s bankrupting them,” the article said.
Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the Democrats’ lead negotiator, said his party knows something must change.
“Americans know our immigration system is broken. They see how our current laws leave the border in chaotic conditions,” he said in a statement. “Americans have been begging Republicans and Democrats to stop using the border as a political weapon.”
Some elected Democrat officials have refused to wait for Congress to pass new laws. Last week, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, ordered the state’s National Guard to assist law enforcement officers attempting to cope with the spike in migrants crossing the border.
“With this Executive Order, I am taking action where the federal government won’t,” Hobbs announced.
Texas’s Governor Abbott, a Republican, has taken similar bold initiatives to quell the flow of illegal aliens along the Texas border with Mexico. [See Sidebar]
Republicans Tear Into Proposed Border Deal
“I’ve seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created,” Speaker of House Mike Johnson said, after details of the border deal were released. “If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival.”
“Mr. Biden already had enough tools to secure the border without needing Congress to pass anything. He already has the authority he needs to end this crisis at any time,” the Speaker said.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, said the deal merely provides the semblance of border security reform. In reality, he said, it’s a “mass migration rubberstamp.”
The deal will give President Biden billions of dollars more “to continue funding an unlimited illegal immigration agenda, an outcome that is terrible for the American people,” the senator said at a press conference.
He was joined by Republican Sens. Rick Scott, (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Eric Schmitt (Mo.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Mike Braun (Ind.) who offered their own critiques.
Rep. Scott criticized the emerging deal for getting rid of the six-month waiting period for work permits. “That will turn up the ‘electromagnet,’ bringing in illegal immigration and it’s just plain wrong,” he said.
Sen. Ron Johnson said the bill is a “Rube Goldberg-type solution” to the border crisis, referring to the American cartoonist who was famous for creating elaborate contraptions to perform simple tasks.
“This doesn’t have to be complex, this should actually be pretty simple,” Sen. Johnson remarked, slamming the plan to spend billions to “hire more border patrol agents” to process 4,000 to 5,000 migrants a day.
“Shouldn’t we shut down the border and keep it under 1,000 so it doesn’t overwhelm the current system, as opposed to propping up the system so it can accept 4,000 or 5,000 people a day?” he wondered.
“We’re told we’re going to fund sanctuary cities. Isn’t that stupid? Taking better care of illegal immigrants is a surefire way to get more to come,” he said.
“There are so many aspects of this bill as we understand it that make no sense whatsoever,” Sen. Johnson added.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., spoke for many of her Republican colleagues, vowing to vote against the border deal.
“Americans want Congress to pass legislation that secures the border to keep our nation safe. This bill falls short of that obligation,” she wrote. “I cannot vote for a bill that funds the security of other nations while leaving our own border security in jeopardy.”
Senate Deal Seeks to Revive Some Trump Policies
The border deal is part of a $118 billion national security bill, which includes money to support Ukraine’s struggle, funding for Israel’s war with Hamas, and money slated to enhance U.S. and its allies deterrence of Chinese aggression.
The linchpin of the bill consists of the border provisions, with the president and Democrats hoping they can sway Republicans unwilling to pump tens of billions of dollars more into Ukraine, observers say.
[Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer has been pivotal in stalling Senate approval for a stand-alone bill granting billions in U.S. aid to Israel, insisting it be linked to Ukrainian aid.]
A Washington Times article noted that several of the border deal’s provisions revive the get-tough Trump policies that President Biden spent years erasing. The deal also specifically cancels tools the Biden administration used to loosen immigration enforcement, such as “parole” — the catch-and-release practice that allowed millions of unauthorized migrants to disperse into American communities.
Whether authorities truly believed that those on “parole” would show up for court hearings (knowing they were likely to be deported), catch-and-release was responsible for allowing millions to burrow into American communities, permanently out of reach of authorities.
Ending that practice is now one of the chief goals of the Senate border deal that President Biden has embraced.
Oh, the irony.
Bereaved Mothers Air Allegations at Mayorkas Impeachment Hearing
A January 19 House Committee hearing, led by Chairman Mark Green, R-TN, led an inquiry as part of historic impeachment proceedings against DHS Secretary Mayorkas for refusing to enforce immigration laws. The move, if successful, would make Mayorkas the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in nearly 150 years.
The hearing examined the impact of the border crisis on the lives of ordinary Americans across the country. Committee members heard the testimony of Tammy Nobles, whose autistic daughter, Kayla Hamilton, was tragically assaulted and murdered by an illegal alien.
The suspect was a known member of the violent and prolific MS-13 gang, and had an extensive criminal history prior to entering the United States and being released in 2022, a NY Post article said.
If federal border agents had properly screened the suspect, even just by checking his tattoos, they would have realized he was a member of the gang — disqualifying him from entry into the United States, Nobles argued.
Nobles was joined by Josephine Dunn, whose daughter, Ashley, was killed on May 26, 2021, when she unknowingly ingested five milligrams of fentanyl smuggled from across the border.
The two mothers echoed the sentiments of many who ascribe countless fatal and violent crimes committed by unvetted illegals to the failure of Mayorkas to enforce the laws of the United States and secure the border.
Impeachment takes just a majority vote in the House (for which a date has not yet been set up.) The matter then moves to the Senate where it takes a two-thirds vote to convict and remove someone. That is highly unlikely, given Democrats’ control of the chamber.
A victory in the House would nevertheless be significant symbolically. It would send a sharp message to the Biden administration about the public’s repudiation of what many consider the most egregious of his Homeland Security policies.
Texas Battles Biden Administration Over Right to Install Razor Wire Along Its Border
An epic court battle is playing out between Texas and the Biden Administration over the issue of the right of an individual State to protect its borders if the federal government fails or refuses to do so.
As part of Operation Lone Star, Texas has been installing razor wire along its border to bar illegals from entering. After the Biden administration ordered the razor wire cut and removed, Texas sued the federal government.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Texas, ordering the federal government to cease removing the razor wire while the litigation is wending its way through the courts. President Biden appealed the injunction to the United States Supreme Court which, on January 22nd, in a 5-4 decision, reversed the 5th Circuit’s injunction.
According to the high court’s ruling, while the litigation continues, the Biden administration can start removing the barbed wire to allow illegals easier entry into the United States. The decision does not obligate Texas to remove the barbed wire nor does it prohibit Texas from installing new barbed wire, according to attorney Bobbie Cox. The tug of war between Texas and the federal government thus continues.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on January 24th in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, saying the federal government “has broken the compact between the United States and the States, failing to enforce federal laws protecting States, including immigration laws on the books right now.”
The governor’s letter quoted from the opinion of Justice Scalia who dissented from the majority: “James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and the other visionaries who wrote the U.S. Constitution foresaw that States should not be left to the mercy of a president who does nothing to stop external threats like cartels smuggling millions of illegal immigrants across the border.”
“That is why the Framers included both Articles obligating the federal government to “protect each [State] against invasion,” and affirming “the States’ sovereign interest in protecting their borders,” Gov. Abbot wrote, quoting from Arizona v. United States, (Scalia, J., dissenting).
Abbott went on to explain that “the failure of the Biden Administration to fulfill the duties imposed by [the Constitution] reserves to this State the right of self-defense.” For these reasons, the governor said, “I have declared an invasion under Article I, § 10, Clause 3, to invoke Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself.”
“That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary,” the governor wrote, adding that “the Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border.”
As an indication of the level of support Abbott has garnered, “the governors of 25 states are publicly backing Texas,” reports attorney Bobbie Cox.
NY Mayor Eric Adams: ‘Migrant Crisis will Destroy NY’
In a bombshell announcement, Mayor Eric Adams, NYC’s Democratic governor, warned in September 2023 that the raging migrant crisis will “destroy” New York City.
He slammed President Biden for ignoring his pleas for help, saying the White House has given “no support” for the thousands of asylum seekers arriving each month.
“I’m gonna tell you something, New Yorkers, never in my life have I had a problem that I didn’t see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this,” Adams said at a town hall on the Upper West Side. “This issue will destroy New York City.”
“Month after month I stood up and said this is gonna come to a neighborhood near you. Well, now we’re here, we’re getting no support on this national crisis,” Adams said.
The mayor said NYC now receives around 10,000 migrants a month, “at first from Venezuela, but then Ecuadorian nationals and Russian-speaking individuals came up from Mexico as time went on.”
“Now we’re getting Western Africa, now we’re getting people from all over the globe that made their minds up that they’re gonna come through the southern border and coming to New York City,” Adams said. “We’re up to 110,000.”
He blasted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as a “madman” for busing illegal border crossers to New York and other liberal cities. “110,000 migrants we have to feed, clothe, house, educate the children, wash their laundry sheets, give them everything they need, health care,” Adams said.
The financial cost alone has reverberated throughout the city as the government is spending millions to house the migrants. The Department of Homeless Services has given $35 million to two NYC hotels to house migrants, reported the NY Post.
“Every community in this city is going to be impacted. We have a $12 billion deficit that we’re going to have to cut. Every service in this city is going to be impacted,” Adams said. “I said it last year when we had 15,000 and I’m telling you now with 110,000. The city we knew, we’re about to lose,” he repeated.
‘Sanctuary State’ Policies Slammed
Other elected NY officials have echoed Adams’ alarms. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, has castigated “New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s ‘Sanctuary State’ policies for further incentivizing this dangerous surge in illegal immigration.”
“Now we have reports of murder and assaults committed by illegal immigrants in Upstate New York,” Stefanik said in a statement. “Enough is enough. It is time for Joe Biden to secure our Southern and Northern Border and the quickest way to do that is to sign into law the House Republicans’ Secure the Border Act. That is the strongest border security bill in history and would put an end to the Biden border crisis.”
Secure the Border Act of 2023 mandates construction of at least 900 miles of border wall, a signature Trump policy.
It would limit eligibility of aliens to receive parole or asylum, and of some unaccompanied alien children to remain in the United States. It would also require all U.S. employees to use E-Verify, the federal web-based system for confirming eligibility to work in the United States.
The bill passed with broad Republican support in May but without Democratic backing, it stalled.