COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., August 3, 2014—On Friday the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills to deal with the border crisis.
Democrats, who have been urging the Republican-led House to deal with immigration for months, immediately declared the bills “dead on arrival” in the Senate.
Polls show that the vast majority of Americans want action taken to control the influx of illegals. In addition, a Rasmussen poll this week reveals that U.S. voters rate the immigration crisis as our biggest national security problem. Thirty-seven percent rated the illegal immigration problem as the biggest threat, while 31% viewed Russia as the bigger problem and 23% thought the situation in Gaza is the bigger danger.
All of those issues are serious, but only the border crisis presents an existential threat to the country. In international law, the definition of what constitutes a “state” includes three elements: a defined population, defined borders, and a legitimate government.
An open border which allows uncontrolled entry that is not managed by the government threatens all three.
While the majority of the American people want the border problem solved, two powerful constituencies like things just the way they are. Big business supports a plentiful supply of cheap labor and Democrats want a plentiful supply of new dependent voters.
But Republicans last week were also pressured by the grassroots. The resulting compromise bills seem a reasonable step toward solving the crisis.
According to Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn’s office, the key provisions of the two bills are these:
H.R. 5230 House Border Legislation [Passed the House 223 to 189]
- Provides funding to place National Guard troops at the southern border
- Cuts back President Obama’s funding request and specifically targets all funding to fixing immediate problems at the southern border
- Provides additional funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials
- Includes a “last-in, first-out” policy that prioritizes the removal of minors that most recently arrived
- Amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 so all unaccompanied alien children (UACs) are treated the same as Mexicans for the purpose of removals
- Increases the number of temporary immigration judges and officials to expedite the return of illegal immigrants to their home countries
- Prohibits the housing of unauthorized immigrants on military bases if the use of the military installation will interfere with military activities at the installation
- Nothing in this legislation advances the cause of amnesty
- All funds are fully paid for by taking back unspent funds from various agencies
Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, who has been working with Texas Sen. John Cornyn, was the only House Democrat to vote for HR 5230.
H.R. 5272 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Legislation [Passed the House 216 to 192]
- DACA, implemented by a 2012 Executive Order from President Obama, allows illegal immigrants under the age of 16 to receive work authorization and a minimum of two year deportation deferrals
- This legislation will prevent the President from taking executive action to expand his deferred action for illegal immigrants
- Will stop President Obama’s lawless amnesty policies
While the first bill (HR 5230) got most of the attention, the second is equally important. Rep. Michelle Bachmann made it clear that this bill is intended to prevent the president from taking unilateral action. On the floor of the House, Ms. Bachmann said,
“Last weekend I think the nation was stunned when our president said that he would unilaterally use his power, raw power, to effectively grant amnesty to five million to six million foreign nationals here in the United States illegally. He said that he would do that with his power and what happened this week is that this body came together and we decided to answer the president’s unconstitutional call….In other words, Mr. Speaker, we will put a handcuff on one of the president’s hands.”
The other handcuff will have to come from the Senate, which is already in recess.
Bottom line: House Republicans finally passed a bill that makes sense.
Democrats, who have been saying that they want an immigration reform bill, immediately signaled that they don’t want to play. Real compromise is not in their vocabulary. The only reason the president gets away with saying that he is willing to work with Congress is that Sen. Harry Reid makes sure he doesn’t have to.
Who is the real obstructionist, Mr. Reid?