Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the proposed spending bill presented to President Donald Trump “will make the border crisis worse” if signed into law.
Vaughan joined Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight for an interview with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Mansour invited Vaughan’s assessment of the proposed spending bill’s impact if implemented.
“I think it makes things worse,” judged Vaughan. “I was prepared to grudgingly accept it based on the summaries of it that were distributed on Monday and Tuesday, but we all kept saying, ‘We really have to read it first,’ but nobody had time to read it.”
Vaughan continued, “As it turns out — surprise — there are a lot of landmines in this bill. It is too big to be passing in such a rush. It’s not necessary, and it’s good to get the funding for the wall, but it doesn’t even seem that the funding is necessarily going to matter, because — for one thing — it gives a veto over the building of the wall in the areas that are prescribed in the bill, and the veto power is with local and municipal officials in the Rio Grande Valley, in particular.”
Vaughan went on, “So the building of the wall is far from guaranteed. And this is really unprecedented in this kind of project, up to this date. [Donald Trump] is not even getting the wall, really, and losing a lot of other policy measures that will make the border crisis worse.”
Mansour noted how border localities afforded veto power over wall construction via the spending bill are “predominantly democrat-controlled areas.”
“Some of these areas have cartel ties — officials caught working with the cartels, on the cartel take,” said Mansour.
“ICE and American communities will be paying for his attempts to build the wall with more illegal immigration,” determined Vaughan.
Some of the spending bill’s provisions will amplify incentives for illegal immigration, Vaughan then warned: She said:
There are several provisions in here that would exacerbate the problem of catch-and-release, particularly of families and children. One provision is that the bill increases funding for the resettlement of newly-arrived family illegal immigrants, and kids as well, and increases what they call ‘alternatives to detention,’ which is basically catch-and-release with a monitor and with a check-in. For those that don’t immediately abscond and take off, the ones who remain in the program thinking that they’ll just sort of milk the asylum process for awhile, and then abscond when they’re ordered removed, that whole charade of enforcement is funded to a greater degree, which means people will be resettled in communities all over the country. They won’t have work authorization, but they do work illegally.
I’ve seen this myself through visiting some of these facilities, but their kids get to go to school, they get access to health care and other welfare programs. They work illegally. They get driver’s licenses. So they’re basically settled here in plain sight. More funding to accelerate that resettlement process is going to encourage more people to come.
Vaughan described the spending bill’s proposed establishment of a de facto legal “force field” shielding sponsors — many of whom are illegally in the country — of unaccompanied minors:
There’s this other provision where the bill says that no money can be used to initiate removal or deportation proceedings against anyone who is a sponsor, a potential sponsor, a household member of an unaccompanied minor — kids who arrive under the age of 18 without their parents.
Most of these kids are coming here because their parents — who are here illegally — paid for a a criminal smuggling organization to bring them here, and then they get reunited with their families here.
Vaughan continued, “Eighty percent of the sponsors of unaccompanied minors are in the country illegally. This bill says ICE cannot take any actions against them if they got the information through HHS, which is the agency that resettles them. … If ICE tries to take action against them, all they have to do is say that they’re a sponsor so ICE can’t do anything. … or just claim to be in a household with an unaccompanied minor. There’s no requirement that they participate in their due process that we’re giving them. Nothing to encourage the actual legal process of dealing with these kids. It basically creates a force field around anyone who is a sponsor of or in a household of unaccompanied minors. This is a huge problem.”
Vaughan determined, “Now there is a huge incentive for them to have their kids brought here with smugglers. … On a practical level, ICE will not be able to take any steps against them.”
Pollak asked, “Assuming they build the wall, assuming they can stop these illegal crossings from continuing, does it really matter? Because you’re not going to have people crossing like that, anymore. If they show up at ports of entry and ask for asylum, whether they’re unaccompanied or with parents, they’re going to have to have a legitimate claim if the Trump administration’s policy holds. Plus they have to wait outside the country until their claims are adjudicated. So with all of these changes, doesn’t that [force field] loophole become less of a problem over time?”
Vaughan replied, “We don’t know if the wall is actually going to be built.” She continued:
I think that the president is planning to get around the provisions in this bill to a certain extent, and maybe won’t build the wall where there is going to be local obstruction of it, even if it’s needed there. Other resources may have to be deployed there — human resources, agents and officers, with the support of the military — in places where they won’t allow barriers.
The problem is [that] the remain-in-Mexico policy doesn’t apply to minors. It’s only for families [and] adults. The minors are exempt from it, so they are going to be allowed into the country. [Barriers] don’t work really well against illegal immigration when the migrants want to be caught. Barriers are great in diverting illicit illegal migrants and drug smuggling and trafficking to other areas, but as we saw in San Diego and in places like Yuma and New Mexico where they have pedestrian barriers, they’re just walking right over them. They want to be caught. Until this whole broken asylum system is fixed, there’s only so much that a wall can do.
The spending bill includes policies irrelevant to appropriations, said Vaughan:
To me this is not so much of a compromise as more kind of horse-trading. A compromise would have been less money for the wall and some conditions on it, not inserting all of these other things which really don’t have anything to do with spending. … Why are policies even in the spending bill? Why can’t the Republicans insist that this be a straight funding bill? Why are they allowing the Democrats, why can’t they say, ‘This stuff just isn’t germane. H-2Bs — guest workers — don’t belong in spending bill.
Vaughan concluded, “I understand that the spending bill is how Congress basically gives the executive branch some direction and exercises the power of the purse, but certainly this sanctuary force field around unaccompanied minor sponsors isn’t a spending issue and shouldn’t be in there. … The enforcement is still broken. … I do believe this could potentially make the influx of families and kids worse.”
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