The Democrats who refuse to fix border-law loopholes are encouraging a mass movement of illegal immigrants into the United States, White House officials said Monday.
“The president has talked about [fixing] these [border] issues since the day he declared his candidateship [and] there is only one group of people in Congress which is trying to prevent this from happening, and that is congressional Democrats in the House and Senate,” a senior White House official said Monday.
The Democrats’ refusal to fill the well-understood loopholes “can only be construed as favoring ‘Large amounts of illegal immigration in the future’ as the new official plank of the Democratic Party,” the official added.
The statement comes after GOP and Democratic leaders blocked nearly all of President Donald Trump’s immigration-reform agenda in the 2018 omnibus budget and as a growing number of Central American migrants march towards the border.
Many migrants hope to exploit the various border-law loopholes which force border officers to “catch and release” the migrants who claim to be Central American youths — dubbed “Unaccompanied Alien Children” — or who claim to have a “credible fear” of persecution in their home country.
Hundreds of thousands of unskilled migrants have used those loopholes to overwhelm border controls and to get into the United States since 2011.
Democrats will soon receive another legislative package of proposed legal fixes, the official said. The package is being prepared by officials at the Department of Homeland Security.
Any legislator who opposes the reforms, he said, is “basically saying you want there to be endless numbers of new waves of illegal immigrants that would be eligible for a theoretical future DACA-type program and you’ ll never solve the problem.”
The planned DHS reforms would allow officials to treat youths from Central American countries in the same fashion as youths from Mexico and Canada, to exclude migrants if they are gang members, and allow border ofiicals to better screen applicants for asylum. Officials also want some authority to downgrade an asylum request if the asylum-seeker declines to seek asylum in safe countries lcoated between their home country and the United States, officials said.
A list of fixes was sent to Democratic and the GOP leadership in October 2017.
However, nearly all Democrats, plus a roughly ten business-first Republicans, voted against Trump’s immigration reforms on February 15. On the same day, nearly all Democrats voted for Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins’s bill which would have amnestied illegals who arrived before June 30.
In March, GOP and Democratic leaders also denied Trump’s 2018 funding request, leaving him with only enough funds to build 50 miles of additional border fencing and to hire a few hundred extra immigration agents. Congressional leaders also refused to significantly expand the number of detention beds that can be used to keep migrants in custody while their asylum claims are heard by the backlogged courts.
Many Democratic and GOP legislators favor the northward flow of cheap-labor migrants to employers in their districts. However, Republicans oppose legalization of the migrants, fearing they will eventually vote for Democratic candidates.