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‘Antithesis of American Interests:’ Immigration Reformers Blast GOP Omnibus as ‘Betrayal’ to U.S. Workers

Wall Prototypes
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Washington, D.C.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s omnibus spending bill is a “betrayal” of American workers and the “antithesis of American interests,” pro-American immigration reformers say.

Reformers — who have been allies of President Trump for his efforts to reduce illegal and legal immigration levels — are blasting Ryan’s GOP spending bill, which has already passed the House.

In a statement, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) President Dan Stein said the spending bill does not include a single immigration reform provision that would give relief to America’s working and middle class, which has suffered from poor job growth, stagnant wages, and increased public costs to offset the importation of millions of low-skilled foreign nationals.

Stein said:

Nearly halfway into the fiscal year, Congress has already passed five stopgap spending bills to fund the federal government, punctuated by two brief government shutdowns. This intolerable situation should have ended this week with the passage of a clean omnibus spending bill and a commitment by Congress that they would address other pressing issues, including immigration, later through regular order. Congressional leadership and the business lobby had other plans, however, as the omnibus released last night leaves our nation’s security at risk and sets up a betrayal of the most vulnerable American workers who have seen their jobs and wages decimated by bad immigration policies. [Emphasis added]

This omnibus was an appropriate vehicle to provide full funding for the construction of a border wall – an essential tool for regaining control of our borders and stopping illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and terrorism. Instead, it contains a paltry $1.6 billion for repairs, drones, and pedestrian fencing – no wall construction. Even worse, the measure explicitly restricts funding for any of President Trump’s border wall prototypes, only allowing spending for designs deployed before the prototypes were constructed. If Congressional leadership told the president he was getting money for his signature campaign promise, he was lied to. [Emphasis added]

And while adequate funding for the wall was not included, powerful business interests are inappropriately using the must-pass spending bill to expand their access to cheap foreign labor. Congressional leadership included a provision in the omnibus that allows the Department of Homeland Security to double the number of H-2B visas available in the current fiscal year. Opening the door for a significant increase in guest workers is not only unwarranted, but harmful to the interests of American workers. Moreover, this controversial provision has no place in a spending bill and should instead be debated openly along with other unsettled immigration matters after the government is funded. [Emphasis added]

It was also troubling to see the White House push for the inclusion of a DACA ‘fix’ in the spending bill, especially after Democrats backed away from previous demands to do so. The deal that was pushed by the White House and rejected by Democrats would have traded border wall funding for an extension of the DACA program. [Emphasis added]

Any action to resolve status for DACA beneficiaries before long-promised comprehensive enforcement provisions and legal immigration reforms are fully implemented is merely a crude attempt to deceive the American people. We know from long and bitter experience that enforcement promises will not be kept. Worse yet, amnesty will lead to a new and even greater wave of illegal immigration. [Emphasis added]

The bottom line is this: there are no immigration-related provisions in the omnibus that are consistent with what President Trump and congressional Republicans told the American people they would do when they were sent to Washington. [Emphasis added]

The spending bill:

  • Does not fund any of Trump’s proposed border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Only allocates funding for 33 miles of southern border fencing
  • Expands the H-2B visa program to import about 100,000 foreign workers to take U.S. blue-collar jobs
  • Continues funding sanctuary city jurisdictions that protect criminal illegal aliens
  • Does not allow for an increase in federal immigration officers
  • Does not allow for more detention centers to house illegal aliens while they await trial
  • Does not reduce legal immigration levels to raise the wages of America’s working and middle class

Center for Immigration Studies Director Mark Krikorian — a group that also represents Americans in the immigration debate — called the spending bill the “catch-and-release immigration budget” because the legislation only funds about 40,000 beds in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.

This provision will force federal immigration officials to continue releasing illegal aliens into the public, as they do not have the resources or space to detain them.

Trump’s populist immigration agenda, wherein he has called on the Republican-controlled Congress to reduce overall immigration levels to raise the wages of American workers, has largely fallen on deaf ears in the GOP leadership.

Despite immigration being the most important issue to Republican voters in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, Republican lawmakers have refused to take up the issue, as Trump has. Instead, the Republican leadership is planning to tout their tax reform legislation as their biggest achievement, though half of swing voters say the tax cuts will have “no impact” on their vote in the midterms.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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