A copy of President Donald Trump’s draft immigration and amnesty bill includes many legal reforms which would fill the “catch and release” loopholes used by migrants to walk through the border.
Without those legal changes, migrants could use the U.S. courts to walk through Trump’s concrete-and-rebar border wall, no matter high or thick he may have it built.
“A physical wall without the legal reforms needed to make it work would just become ‘Trump’s Folly’ — a big, beautiful lonely thing in the desert that doesn’t work,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Yet those legal changes are also a tough nut for Democrats who see themselves as the champions of victims, including victims of Central American crime, poverty, or domestic abuse. “They really have convinced themselves that people coming from South America are [moral] equivalents to Jews fleeing [the Nazis], and the response [should be] anyone who manages to claw his way into the U.S. cannot ever be sent back because that would be a moral abomination,” he added.
But if Democrats oppose the legal changes, Trump is less likely to accept a deal which funds a $25 billion border wall that can’t stop the northward flow of migrants using the “Unaccompanied Alien Children” (UAC) or asylum loopholes.
The opposition was underlined on January 16 by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who suggested to DHS chief Kirstjen Nielsen that Trump’s legal reforms could kill many innocent young women:
One of the things on your must-have list, which you passed out on Tuesday and brought to us again today in a different form, relates to asylum protection. and you use the example of a child at the border of being coached, to use the words “credible fear” and that triggers a certain reaction. But I would like to call your attention to something that I hope can add another perspective. It’s an article entitled “When Deportation Is a Death Sentence,” written by Sara Stillman, published in the New Yorker. I want you to read it. I hope you’ll read it. It talks about what happens when the agents who are involved in this don’t ask the right question, don’t hear the answer, and send many women back to their death.
But Trump’s need for the legal reform is being highlighted by a January 29 report from the White House, which showed how migration patterns are rising to pre-Trump levels because huge numbers of migrant have jammed up the asylum courts. The jam forces border officials into “catch and release” policies, allowing the migrants to disappear into the nation’s huge population of illegal immigrants.
In December, officials apprehended over 4,000 [younger migrant] UACs and 8,000 [people in] Family Units—an increase of 30 percent and 68 percent respectively since October.
As such, as part of its legislative immigration framework, the White House has asked Congress to amend the often-exploited Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) to provide special protections for UACs who are victims of trafficking and safely repatriate them, whatever their nationality, and override the Flores consent decree that curtails law enforcement’s ability to detain entire family units.
For example, federal laws and court decisions require officials to quickly release most migrants into the United States who demand asylum and claim to have a “credible fear” of persecution if they are sent home. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced January 31 that:
USCIS is responsible for overseeing the nation’s legal immigration system, which includes adjudicating asylum claims. The agency currently faces a crisis-level backlog of 311,000 pending asylum cases as of Jan. 21, 2018, making the asylum system increasingly vulnerable to fraud and abuse. This backlog has grown by more than 1750 percent [17.5 times larger] over the last five years, and the rate of new asylum applications has more than tripled.
— USCIS (@USCIS) February 2, 2018
DHS is also changing its organization to help blend once-separate border security and interior security far from the border — also pressuring Republicans and Democrats to accept interior enforcement of border laws. According to the Washington Examiner:
“We used to distinguish between border security and interior enforcement. Now we’re lumping it all under border security,” [Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke] Duke told hundreds of Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, and related sub-DHS agencies at the Border Security Expo. “We don’t believe we can segregate and say we’re going to look at the physical border, even at the border, ports of entry, between ports of entry, and then the interior piece. That’s all part of the system.” …
“And we … kind of combined ICE’s interior enforcement and CBP’s border security. That’s a system because persons who are seeking to do harm to the United States bring in drugs or enter illegally know every vulnerability we have. And if the vulnerability is an interior enforcement thing like an unaccompanied child or a family, they will know that. And so we don’t believe we can segregate and say we’re going to look at the physical border,” she added.
Breitbart News was provided with a recent draft of the White House’s immigration-and-amnesty “framework” bill. The bill includes many measures to remove and replace the thick layer of laws and court decisions that have created the loopholes used by hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants. The draft includes Sen. John Cornyn’s “Protecting Children and America’s Homeland Act,” which would:
Allow a border officer and a judge to ensure fast-track, one-week deportation of people who claim “credible fear” of harm if they are returned. That change would include the women in the New Yorker article cited by Durbin, and would sharply limit legal appeals.
When an asylum-seeker asks to stay in the United States, the applicants would have to show they are likely to win the resulting court hearing before they can stay. If allowed to stay pending a court case, the migrants will not be allowed to get work permits.
The homeland secretary would detain the asylum-seeking youths unless the secretary decides to release the youths to the Department of Health and Humans Services pending the court hearing. The scale of the homeland department’s detention facilities will expand up to roughly 49,000 jail beds.
The law would narrow the ability of the Department of Health and Human Services to let the relatives of migrants take custody of non-adult migrants while their approved asylum claims are waiting to be heard by immigration judges. Sponsors would face tougher penalties for fraud, as well as penalties if the youth does not attend planned legal hearings.
Youths who miss court hearings would be repatriated.
The proposal would also allow expedited repatriation of people who ovrstay their legal visas, gang members and other illegals, likely spurring opposition by California Democrats and the Hispanic politicians now trying to shield the huge resident population of 11 million illegals from enforcement.
The bill excludes itself from the Administrative Procedures Act and the Paperwork Reduction Acts, effectively allowing the DHS to write new fast-track regulations.
Democratic politicians and their ideological allies will oppose many of these changes. For example, on January 16, Hawaii Democrat Sen. Maize Hirono urged Nielsen to provide free lawyers to the migrants:
The statistics from the Executive Office of Immigration Review shows the vast majority of children do show up [to court] and almost every child who has legal representation does show up … We know there are children as young as three or four … It is very true that if they are accompanied by a lawyer that they are more likely to succeed in their request for asylum or whatever the refugee status. If you would like to see all the children return for their hearings, don’t you agree providing counsel is a good way to do that?
Donald Kerwin, the executive director of the Center for Migration Studies of New York, wrote in TheHill.com that Trump’s popular reforms are “nativist”:
In his first State of the Union address, President Trump set forth his framework for a “fair compromise” on immigration. Yet the president’s plan is neither fair, nor a compromise. Instead, it would fundamentally alter the U.S. immigration system — and the nation’s identity — for the worse. It would decimate U.S. families, spend wastefully on a border wall, diminish diversity, and weaken protections for asylum-seekers and unaccompanied minors. You might call this plan the nativist version of comprehensive immigration reform.
The Washington Post editorial board declaimed January 27 that any changes to the immigration rules should be rejected until after the Democrats get amnesty for the roughly 3.25 million ‘dreamers’ in exchange for the border-and-concrete wall — without any closure of the loopholes. The editorial said:
A massive enforcement crackdown that would target not only undocumented immigrants who are long-term residents of this country, but also asylum seekers, including children, who are fleeing violence and oppression.
Congress should schedule all those proposals for debate this spring, along with a pathway to legality for 11 million illegal immigrants, plus protections for the more than 200,000 Haitians, Nicaraguans and Salvadorans whose temporary protected status has been revoked by the administration.
“Tightening the rules for UACs is something [Democrats] are much more likely to oppose vigorously than the wall,” said Krikorian. He continued, saying:
[Any] deal that did not have UAC reforms in it, there would be little point in the whole thing. I’m afraid that if push came to shove … if [Trump] were faced with a bad deal or no deal, I’m afraid he would choose a bad deal because it is deal.
To read more about the draft bill, click here.