Ryan’s No-Details Amnesty Leaves GOP Reps to Argue Over Wall, Border Security

border wall
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President Donald Trump wants a concrete-and-steel border wall, but the scant details about Speaker Paul Ryan’s amnesty briefing on Thursday prompted intra-party debates over the design, funding, and priority of the border-barrier project, according to reports from Capitol Hill.

Fox News reporter Chad Pegram cited comments from Rep. Steve Scalise, Ryan’s main whip and enforcer in day-to-day operations, saying “use technology and other means to truly secure the border.”

But “technology and other means” is jargon that anti-wall advocates use to divert Congress’ attention and money from the deployment of a real concrete-and-steel wall. For example, advocates in the 2000s used the promise of mobile TV-cameras, drones, and camera-carrying balloons to help steer money and attention away from plans to build a 600-mile, double-layer fence on the border. Those expensive tools were bought, deployed, repaired, redeployed and mostly removed, leaving the fence unbuilt across long stretches of the border in November 2016.

Ryan offered only a broad overview of his amnesty bill during the Thursday morning meeting. Most reporters spent the rest of the day asking legislators about the amnesty for the illegal immigrants, but they asked few questions about other aspects of the legislation, or why Americans must pay for yet another amnesty.

Fox’s Chad Pergram, however, noticed that some GOP legislators were arguing over what “border security” means: Is it a forever concrete-wall backed up by stronger border-laws — as Trump wants — or will the wall consist of a few miles of fence plus many digital drones that can be turned off the day after Trump leaves office? Would it include legal reforms to close border-wall loopholes or reforms to stop the northward flow of “Unaccompanied Alien Children” into U.S. asylum courts?

Rachel Bade, a reporter at Politico, reported that the 23 Republicans who are fronting the amnesty bill — dubbed “Moderates” or “Mods” — want funding for the border barrier to be blocked until the DACA amnesty is unstoppable.

That is amnesty-before-wall demand is a rejection of what mainstream conservatives say is the primary lesson from President Ronald Reagan’s disastrous 1986 amnesty.

Reagan allowed the amnesty to be established before security measures were implemented. But once the Democratic and business groups pocketed their amnestied voters and customers, they reneged on their security commitments to Reagan, ensuring no security, but more migration, more Democratic voters, and more amnesties.

This time around, Trump’s allies are demanding the border-wall money be put into an account where the President can save for building his wall over several years.

But the “moderates” are in the driver’s seat and may use their power to diminish Trump’s wall. They are quietly backed by Ryan, by major donors, and by business groups — and they are demanding written concessions or else they will trigger the discharge-petition amnesty in cooperation with Democrats. Their confidence was made clear by GOP Rep. Jeff Denham, who survived a 2016 Democratic wave in his California district with aid from Trump voters. Denham told Fox News:

The political opponents of an effective wall have proved powerful. So far, Congress’ pro-migration caucus rejected major funding for Trump wall in two annual budgets, despite that wall being a central part of the mandate won by Trump in November 2016.

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