The GOP-run House appropriations committee has voted to restore President Barack Obama’s 2014 catch-and-release rules by deliberately defunding Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ July asylum reform.
The Sessions reform ended Obama’s expanded asylum-rules which have encouraged tens of thousands of migrants from Central America to walk through the border wall by just declaring a “credible fear” of violence from spouses or criminal gangs. Recent media reports say that Sessions’ reforms are successfully sending the vast majority of migrants homewards before they can use the catch-and-release laws.
The vote “is just insane,” said Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA. “This needs to be taken out … this [bill] should not go to the floor with this abomination.”
The House Committee on Appropriations voted Wednesday afternoon to bar government officials from spending any time or money on Sessions’ reform. The vote was taken as legislators debate and vote on amendments to the 2019 spending bill. The bill will be reviewed next by the rules committee — which is controlled by House Speaker Paul Ryan — and then will be sent to the floor for a vote.
The pro-migration language is likely supported by a majority of the House. Nearly all Democrats and many business-first Republicans favor the large-scale migration of new workers, consumers, and possible future voters.
The critical amendment was proposed by North Carolina Democrat David Price. It was passed on a voice-vote with support from retiring committee chairman New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, and from the new chairman of the homeland defense subcommittee, Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder.
.@RepKevinYoder SUPPORTS the price amendment. He spoke of deep compassion for domestic violence victims. It would be a HUGE deal if this amendment passes. This would repeal Matter of AB guidance. Wow
— Josh Breisblatt (@jbreisblatt) July 25, 2018
The only GOP member who spoke out against the easy-migration rules was Texas Rep. John Carter.
WOW the amendment PASSES, on a VOICE VOTE. The @HouseAppropsGOP committee just PASSED an amendment, defunding implementation of the Matter of AB memo by USCIS. WOW.
— Josh Breisblatt (@jbreisblatt) July 25, 2018
Price posted his amendment at his website, saying ” The first amendment offered by Rep. Price will prevent any funds to be used to implement Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ guidance that victims of gang violence and domestic violence will no longer qualify for asylum in the United States.”
In the hearing, Price urged that “prosecutorial discretion” be used to end the deportation of “non-criminal” illegal immigrants. “This has been the policy of past administration, what is going on now is the radical policy,” he said.
The amendment is needed because Sessions’ policy reverses Obama’s 2014 change and ignores the danger of gang violence in Central American countries, Price said. The administration is “giving those who seek refuge a virtual death sentence … [and is] one of the many heartless steps the Trump administration has taken,” he said.
“What Sessions has done would close the door almost completely,” he said.
Domestic violence “should be a factor in an asylum claim,” Yoder responded.
Sessions’ asylum reform is designed to repair the damage caused by Obama’s pro-migration policies.
Obama’s policies created a wave of Central American migrants who have clogged the nation’s asylum courts.
This rush of migrants has delayed migrants’ hearings for several years, forcing officials to hand out 400,000 work permits to asylum-seekers. That influx of cheap foreign workers depresses wages for blue-collar Americans while reducing the cost of services for upper-income Americans in New York and other wealthy cities.
Very few of the asylum-seeking migrants who get into the U.S. by claiming fear of gangs or spouses eventually win their asylum cases in the courts, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. Many migrants don’t even file their asylum cases with the courts, and instead disappear into the nation’s illegal immigrant population, he said.
By blocking Sessions’ reform, “what this appropriations committee is saying is … that the [immigration agency] has to keep letting in people who are claiming asylum even though they are very unlikely to get asylum,” Krikorian said.
The growing population of Central Americans in the United States is also encouraging and funding the migration of their relatives and friends — including many parents and children. That chain-migration is bringing thousands of migrants and children up to the border in 2018 — but most are being stopped by Sessions’ asylum reforms.