Joe Biden’s DHS Nominee Won’t Promise to Exclude Caravan Job-Seekers

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Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) refused to tell senators that he would exclude caravans of economic migrants from getting asylum and taking wages from American citizens.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked the nominee, Alejandro Mayorkas, during the January 19 nomination hearing, “Do you believe coming into this country illegally for economic improvement, is that a valid asylum claim? ”

Mayorkas responded, “Senator, the asylum laws are well established, and they provide that an individual who’s fleeing persecution by reason of his or her membership in a particular social group is deserving of protection.”

“Okay, but coming here for economic gain is not a valid asylum claim: Would you agree with that?” Johnson shot back.

“I believe I articulated the legal theory in it,” Mayorkas dodged.

Mayorkas did not mention that administration officials have much legal authority to expand or narrow asylum rules.

For example, President Barack Obama’s deputies widened the definitions to create a new asylum-ready “particular social group” for women who claimed they were beaten by their husbands. President Donald Trump’s deputies removed that definition. Similarly, Trump’s deputies narrowed Obama’s asylum rules to end the catch and release of roughly 3 million migrants into Americans’ labor and housing markets. That Trump decision helped raise blue-collar wages and boosted his support among blacks, Latinos, and other blue-c0llar voters.

“Biden, he’s going to help all of us,” one English-speaking Honduran in the caravan told CNN on Sunday. “He’s given us 100 days to get to the U.S. and give us legal [unintelligible] paper so we can get a better life for our kids and family.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) followed up on Johnson’s question by asking, “As a leader of DHS, it’s pretty likely you’re going to have 1000s of people coming across the border and a migrant caravan from Honduras pretty rapidly. What message would you want to give to those folks right now that are traveling north in that migrant caravan?”

Mayorkas told Lankford he would allow the caravan of Honduran economic migrants into the United States for “humanitarian relief,” including jobs. He said:

President-elect Biden and people who will be joining us in the incoming administration have spoken about the fact that there’s a commitment to follow our asylum laws, to enforce our asylum laws, and that means to provide humanitarian relief for those individuals who qualify for it under the law.

Mayorkas also hinted the administration would try to minimize the political blowback from Americans by delaying the inflow of foreign workers, saying, “That cannot be accomplished with just a flick of a switch and turned on on Day One [January 20]. That it will take time to build the infrastructure and capacity so that we can enforce our laws as Congress intended.”

A unified, pro-American GOP likely has the ability to block Mayorkas’ conformation, even though Sen. Kamala Harris will hold the swing vote in a 50-50 Senate once she is confirmed as vice president. Under Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to move forward with debates, allowing just 41 of the 50 GOP senators to block a final vote on Mayorkas.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) tried to get an answer from Mayorkas. “What is your intention with regards to that caravan that is coming to our border? Is your intention to allow them to come into the country? Will they be stopped? What’s the plan?” The exchange continued:

Mayorkas: We are a nation of immigrants, and we are also a nation of laws, and I intend to apply the law in the execution of my responsibilities as the Secretary of Homeland Security should I have that privilege.

Romney: What does that mean in this regard? Does it mean that the [caravan migrants] will be interdicted and rejected from coming into the country, evaluated one by one? What’s the plan?

Mayorkas: When people present themselves at our border, we apply the laws of our nation to determine whether they qualify for relief under our humanitarian laws or whether they don’t.

Romney: Kind of uncertain there, but I presume that means that they will not be allowed just to come into the country, that these people will be stopped at the border and processed one by one. Is that correct?

Mayorkas: I apologize if I was uncertain. If people qualify under the law to remain in the United States, then we will apply the law accordingly. If they do not qualify to remain in the United States, they won’t.

Lankford prodded Mayorkas about his welcome for economic migrants:

You and Senator Johnson had an interchange back and forth on this very straightforward question: Is economic opportunity a valid reason for asylum? You quoted the asylum statute on that, but I guess the yes-or-no question on that is economic opportunity doesn’t seem to be in the statute, as a valid reason for asylum, so I guess the question I have for you still is: “Is economic opportunity a reason that should be added to it?” It is not there. Do you believe it’s there?

Mayorkas continued to muddy the legal waters:

I’m a lawyer by profession. So I take a look at the laws and I enforce them as both a lawyer and as a law enforcement officer for nearly 20 years of my career. When one speaks of economic opportunity, what does one mean? Just generally an opportunity to make a better living? If that is what you are referring to that, my understanding is that that is not a legitimate asylum claim make.

Lankford responded:

That’s our understanding of the law as well, and it seems a pretty plain reading of it that if someone is coming to increase their economic opportunity. Obviously, almost any country in the world, any city you live in in the world, there’s improved opportunities in the United States and we’re grateful for that in the United States. But just saying hey you don’t have a lot of economic opportunities where you live doesn’t mean you open up our borders for asylum claims or say we’re gonna somehow release you into the United States and debate it.

Two GOP senators were absent from the hearing, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Many pollsters show Americans’ deep and broad opposition to cheap-labor migration — and the inflow of temporary contract workers, into the jobs needed by young and old Americans.

The multi-racialcross-sexnon-racistclass-based opposition to cheap-labor migration co-exists with generally favorable personal feelings toward legal immigrants and toward immigration in theory — despite the media magnification of many skewed polls and articles which still push the 1950’s “Nation of Immigrants” claim.

Migration moves money from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from children to their parents, from homebuyers to real estate investors, and from the central states to the coastal states.

Mayorkas has argued that Americans’ wages will rise once an amnesty means employers’ illegal workers become Americans with full legal rights.

So far, he has not explained why the flood of legalized labor — and the subsequent flood of more illegal and legal labor — will help raise wages for marginalized Americans, including mothers with small children, older people with disabilities, alienated drug addicts, and ex-convicts.

The population of marginalized Americans also includes the tens of millions of Americans stranded in the heartland states that get little funding from coastal investors who prefer to hire legal immigrants as they arrive at LAX or Newark airport.

In 2016, the voters’ understandable solidarity with their fellow Americans carried Donald Trump’s pro-American policies into the White House. Those policies helped shrink American unemployment, raise Americans’ wages, and — if Democratic analysts are to be believed — can bring the GOP back into power in 2024.

 

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