House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) says his border bill is the “strongest” border bill ever introduced in Congress. Yet, according to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), it does nothing to change President Obama’s immigration policies that allow illegal aliens to stay in America when they get here.
On Fox News Wednesday morning, host Martha MacCallum asked McCaul, “whether or not there’s enough internal enforcement in that bill?”
McCaul punted the question:
Well let me just say, the internal enforcement piece will be handled by the Judiciary Committee. That’s unrelated to Homeland Security. My committee deals with the border itself. When I go home, the number one mantra I hear is: ‘Mr. Chairman, when are you going to secure that border?’ That’s my constitutional responsibility. The administration has failed to do this. We’re going to take the discretion of the Department and we’re going to mandate how they get this thing done through the deployment of assets, the deployment of military assets from Afghanistan, and other places to the Southwest border. Maritime as well. We also fully fund the National Guard. We allow the CBP [Customs and Border Protection] to have access to federal lands.
McCaul didn’t explain, however, how all those extra “assets” he wants to throw at the border will be able to do anything substantive if the Obama administration is still allowed to conduct “catch and release” immigration policy—which is the heart the argument Sessions made against his bill on Tuesday:
One of the most dramatic ways in which the President has undermined immigration enforcement is by ordering agents to release apprehended illegal border-crossers by the tens of thousands. Yet the pending legislation does nothing to end this endemic practice of catch-and-release, ensuring large amounts of illegal immigration will continue unabated. The Chairman McCaul proposal does not include the following reforms needed to achieve a sound immigration system: it does not end catch-and-release; it does not require mandatory detention and return; it does not include worksite enforcement; it does not close dangerous asylum and national security loopholes; it does not cut-off access to federal welfare; and it does not require completion of the border fence. Surprisingly, it delays and weakens the longstanding unfulfilled statutory requirement for a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system.
For his part, Rep. McCaul used his Fox News hit to describe his bill as the best border security bill in the history of Congress:
This is a very—probably the strongest border security bill ever presented to the Congress. And it’s my sincere hope that we all unite behind this bill because it’s so important when you look at the threats that are out there not only by the drug cartels that we know about with the drugs coming in poisoning our kids but also the terrorist threat that exists. It’s no longer time to wait. We now have the Senate. Now I believe it’s time to act.
In response to McCaul’s comments, a congressional GOP aide notes that the Senate “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill was also once sold as the strongest border security bill in history:
We were also told the Senate amnesty bill was the strongest border security plan ever presented to Congress. How exactly can the ‘strongest border security bill ever presented to Congress’ fail to require the deportation of a single illegal border-crosser? Why would Congress give the President $10 billion for DHS border funding, knowing full well he will use that money to transfer illegal immigrants into US communities? Remember: illegal immigrants turn themselves in to border patrol, knowing they will have a reasonable shot at being released and getting jobs, benefits and even asylum in the U.S. How does this bill not fix that? There are more than 100,000 illegal immigrants from last year alone who arrived in the border surge and were released into American cities. This bill does not require a single one of them to be returned, nor the next 100,000 who will show up and be released into the country. It’s just a never ending-cycle of illegal immigration. Are we really going to ignore the elephant in the room here: that we have a President who will use every dime of new border funding to bring more illegal immigrants into the United States?