“Gang of 8” negotiator AZ Sen. Jeff Flake told Breitbart News Monday that Democrat negotiators strongly resisted the inclusion of any provisions or “triggers” ensuring the nation’s southern border is secured as a result of the immigration bill. Flake said that “border security is paramount” and winning acceptance of the language was the biggest fight with Democrats.
The language in the “Gang of 8” bill requires the DHS Secretary to present to Congress a plan to secure the border within 6 months of passage. The plan has to meet a goal of 100% awareness of the border, meaning we can observe the entire border, and 90% interdiction, meaning that 9 out of 10 people attempting to enter the country illegally are apprehended. It is unclear how this could be accurately measured, since if you don’t apprehend someone, you don’t know they entered.
Once the plan is submitted, illegal immigrants currently in the country can apply for a “resident provisional” visa and live and work in the country legally. After 10 years, these immigrants can apply for permanent legal residence, i.e green card. According to Flake, Democrats wanted a much faster path to citizenship, but he and fellow GOP negotiators felt the 10 year window was necessary to ensure the border was secured.
Asked what would happen in 10 years if the border was 70% secured instead of 90%, Flake answered after a long pause, “I just don’t think we are going to be in a position like that. We are making the resources available.”
This may be the fundamental challenge facing supporters of the “Gang of 8” bill. There is considerable language on securing the border and even a requirement to review progress after 5 years. In the end, however, there is no guarantee that the border is secure before 11 million immigrants are fully legalized. It is simply a very long, and detailed, hope and a prayer.