Sen. Richard Durbin has announced the death of his “Gang of Six” amnesty-giveaway bill and tepidly promised to develop a replacement bill sought by the party’s pro-amnesty base.
But Durbin also listed a series of basic immigration problems he and his allies deliberately ignored during their media-aided effort to rush an amnesty rough Congress. That sudden recognition of well-known problems suggests that the Democrats leaders are trying to avoid another self-defeating debate on amnesty that would further damage many of their 2018 candidates.
Durbin said Wednesday morning:
We came up with an agreement. We presented it to the president through Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican, on January 11. [The President] rejected it, so, as of today, we really don’t have a bill before us, and we are starting anew with a conversation about what to do to meet the president’s challenge.
Durbin’s push for amnesty played the largest role in creating this political illegals-before-Americans disaster for the Democrats, which has boosted GOP morale, narrowed the Democrats’ generic polling advantage, and has given the GOP a hard-hitting emotional argument to turn out their base and to win over swing-voters in November.
Much of the credit for the victory goes to the civic groups which made sure the GOP leadership recognized the electoral risks in endorsing an amnesty. Those pro-American groups include NumbersUSA, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Durbin issued his death notice with a tepid promise to develop a new bill by the first week of February, or else draft a bill via Senate negotiations in the second week of February. Durbin began by first sugar-coating the Democrats’ amnesty-induced government-shutdown defeat:
We had our ups and downs, a rocky weekend, just a few days ago, relative to funding the government and whether we were going to take this issue up.
I thought it ended on a positive note when [Majority Leader] Senator [Mitch] McConnell came to the floor and made an express promise to this chamber and members on both sides of the aisle … he said, if we have not reached an agreement on this issue by February the 8, at that point we will open a process on the floor of the United States Senate with what he characterized as a level playing field and open amendment — an open amendment process. That, to me, is an opportunity, but I hope we can avoid that opportunity and reach an [amnesty] agreement as he asked us to [before] February 8.
Durbin then explained at length why his hope of an agreement is very unlikely, as he listed a series of critical issues that we ignored by the “Gang of Six” amnesty, which would have provided work-permits or citizenship to roughly 8 million illegals, according to a White House assessment.
Durbin’s backhanded admission of failure will deter other Senators from supporting a February amnesty in the face of numerous polls which show deep public hostility to any immigration deal that make it harder for Americans to get good jobs.
The basic complexities cited by Durbin have been ignored by pro-amnesty Democrats, business-first Republicans, and the credulous D.C. media — even as independent media in D.C. has extensively explored the economic and civic impacts of large-scale migration. Durbin explained:
Now to achieve this goal, I think we understand we have to be mindful of one another and the realities that we face. There are a lot of issues relative to immigration. The list is pretty lengthy and there are important issues that should be considered. It is unrealistic to think that we are going to propose or even agree on a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill in 14 days.
What we can do is to address the president’s challenge dealing with DACA and those DACA-eligible so-called dreamers. What we can do is address border security in a realistic and honest way.
These complexities, according to Durbin’s post-“Gang of Six” analysis, include:
I took a look this morning at some of the publications of the Department of Homeland Security to try to get an understanding of what our challenge is when it comes to undocumented in the United States. Where do they come from? How do they come to this country and how do they stay in this country if they don’t have legal authority to do so?
It turns out that each year, for example, the Department of Homeland Security tells us 50 million, 50 million visitors, come to the United States from visa-waiver countries … out of those 50 million, about 1.5 percent end up staying longer than they’re supposed to. We end up with hundreds of thousands of undocumented people here by visa overstays …
In addition to that, when I take a look at the asylum issue [which] is the one that’s always raised by the Department of Homeland Security. Those who present themselves in the United States at the border or otherwise and suggest that they have a credible fear in returning to their home country …
I also want to address this issue about unaccompanied children coming to our border. I understand that challenge. The numbers have risen dramatically in prior years, and we have to take it seriously …
So the conversation continues this afternoon on a bipartisan basis among the Senators in the United States Senate to meet the president’s challenge, to accept that challenge and to come up with a bipartisan measure.
Then Durbin retreated back to blaming the President for Durbin’s disaster.
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) January 19, 2018
Even though Trump has issued numerous statements, documents and tweets carefully describing his demand for a funded border security wall, enforcement reforms, plus an end to chain migration and the visa lottery, Durbin insisted that he does not know what Trump wants, saying:
I don’t know the position of the President of the United States now. I couldn’t express it after the experience we had a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know where he stands. He has never issued anything by way of a suggested piece of legislation. We haven’t heard from him. So we have to do our part. We have to meet our responsibility here in the Senate, hope that the House does the same, and that at some — at some point the White House will join us in solving this problem which the president actually created on September 5 of last year. I yield the floor.
Trump’s statements, especially his October 8 immigration principles, offered fixes for all of the issues that Durbin has just admitted.
Durbin declined to mention the President’s core demands for an end to chain migration and to the visa lottery.