Democrats are quietly rejecting the legal reforms needed to stop waves of migrants from walking through President Donald Trump’s proposed concrete-and-rebar wall.
The fundamental disagreement over border-law loopholes is rarely cited by media, even as Democrats gradually admit they can fund construction of the wall. But the disagreement over the legal reforms threatens to tie up the Senate’s high-visibility debate on immigration, which has already gotten tangled in a dispute over sanctuary cities.
The border-law problem was casually admitted on Monday by the Democrat’s top amnesty advocate, Sen. Dick Durbin. He spoke at an informal press conference on Monday, according to the Washington Times, and he said:
While Democrats have said they are open to fencing, manpower and technology, Republicans argue about half of illegal immigrants don’t come across the U.S.-Mexico border but enter legally as visitors and don’t leave.
Republicans say the border can’t be secure unless the conditions that entice people to attempt illegal immigration are solved, such as the jobs magnet, an asylum system susceptible to fraud, and easier treatment of illegal immigrant children and families from Central America than from Mexico.
… Democrats said that was reaching too far. “Believe me, we’re not going to solve that problem this week,” Mr. Durbin said.
Trump, however, has repeatedly been very clear about the need to change the laws so “Unaccompanied Alien Children” and asylum seekers cannot overwhelm the U.S. border enforcement forces. He said February 6:
We need these immigration laws changed if we’re not going to — we’re just not going to be able to continue to do this. They just come in so fast, so easy. And then you have catch-and-release: You catch people and then you have to release them right away.
Not another country in the world has the stupidity of laws that we do when it comes to immigration. And if we don’t get them changed — this isn’t politics, this isn’t Republican and Democrat. This is common sense. So it has to be taken care of.
Today, we heard the experiences of law enforcement professionals and community leaders working to combat the threat of MS-13, and the reforms we need from Congress to defeat it. Watch here: https://t.co/VPMTnko7Ik pic.twitter.com/4OaXXuj9Va
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2018
On February 10, Trump again cited the loopholes as a contributor to the MS-13 problem. “The laws are bad and have to be changed … our laws are so weak, so sad, so pathetic,” he said.
My Administration has identified three major priorities for creating a safe, modern and lawful immigration system: fully securing the border, ending chain migration, and canceling the visa lottery. Congress must secure the immigration system and protect Americans. pic.twitter.com/xV1lgfhjBU
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
Durbin’s opposition to the wall echoes opposition from his progressive allies.
“The provisions to accelerate deportation hearings of children fleeing violence – yes, children – are among the most nefarious,” said Frank Sharry, director of America’s Voice, a progressive, pro-migration lobby. “Sending Central American children back into the burning house they fled is not who we are.”
“One in five Dreamers live in the borderlands; to further militarize the region with more harmful walls or hiring unaccountable border agents would be to threaten the lives and well-being of millions of people,” said Andrea Guerrero, a co-chair of the Southern Border Communities Coalition. She continued:
to further militarize the region with more harmful walls or hiring unaccountable border agents would be to threaten the lives and well-being of millions of people. Although we do not believe any more border enforcement is needed, any bills that include border enforcement policies must be balanced and based on data, analysis, and consultation with border stakeholders, as well as oversight and accountability of Customs and Border Protection.
So far, none of the Democratic immigration proposals include any reforms to shrink or close the border loopholes.
On January 30, Breitbart News reported:
In just over two years, federal law forced immigration officials released more than 100,000 UACs into the U.S., according to the White House. UACs are defined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as migrants under the age of 18 who arrive at the border without an adult family member.
In Fiscal Year 2016, Border Patrol agents apprehended 52,147 UACs. The following year, agents apprehended an additional 42,146. During the first three months of FY2018, agents apprehended another 7,624, according to an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) report obtained by Breitbart Texas.
Current law requires immigration officials to turn over UACs crossing the border to ORR officials within 72 hours. The ORR must then “promptly place them in the least restrictive setting in the best interest of the child,” White House Director of Surrogate and Coalitions Outreach Kelly Sadler wrote in an email provided to Breitbart Texas. This often forces the ORR to release the minors to “family members or other sponsors living in the United States.” Often times these are the same family members that paid drug cartels and other violent criminals to transport these minors to the U.S. Frequently, these family members are also illegally present in the U.S., Sadler stated.
On January 23, White House officials issued a statement showing the how migrants have learned to use the loopholes to flood into the United States, saying:
- 1700% increase in the number of credible fear screening referrals from 2008 to 2016.
- As of December there were 307,555 backlogged asylum cases. Applicants can wait up to 4 years for an interview.
- As of October, Executive Office for Immigration Review (DOJ) backlog of cases stood at approximately 640,000. Without a hearing there is no resolution for years – only to be removed later.
- The median case completion time for non-detained cases is 535 days.