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Another Immigration Showdown
This week, there was national outcry over family separation at the US/Mexico border. Although this is not a new occurrence (more on that in a minute), the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that from April 19th through May 31st, there were 1,995 children separated from 1,940 adults by U.S. Border Patrol. According to DHS, these figures represent families who were separated because of illegal entry, immigration violations, possible criminal conduct by the parent, and cases where officials could not verify the family relationship.
In his weekly press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan reminded reporters that this was also going on under Obama. And in a rare moment of honesty for the media, CNN’s Brooke Baldwin pointed that out to a Democrat senator this week as well (tune in to hear it!).
On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order to allow children to stay with parents who are caught crossing the border illegally. In short, this executive order would allow children to stay in detention with parents for an extended period of time (longer than the current 20-day limit per the Clinton-era “Flores settlement” allows). Ed alert: “We care for them at a cost of $34,000 per kid. And that’s just the $10,000 who came over during the Obama administration.”
Immigration Bills on the Table
There were two immigration bills on the table this week – but the House ditched the somewhat more conservative Goodlatte bill on Thursday. Next, they delayed the vote on the “Compromise” bill, which was crafted by White House staffers and Republican leadership, until next week.
Here’s what’s in the Compromise bill:
- On the issue of family separation: It allows children to be detained with their parents, and mandates that DHS provides housing for families who are going through criminal proceedings for first-time border crossings (rather than turn them over to the Justice Department per current policy). It provides funding for building or expanding family detention centers, and allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain children and parents indefinitely.
- On DACA: It allows immigrants currently facing the loss of their DACA protections to apply for legal status in the US and creates a path to citizenship for DACA recipients via a “conditional nonimmigrant” status that can be renewed after six years. The requirements for this status are largely the same as the original requirements for DACA: Applicants must have been in the US since 2007 and have to be under age 31 as of June 15, 2012. Immigrants who would have been eligible for DACA would be able to apply, even if they never actually applied or if their DACA status previously expired. It allows DACA recipients to apply for green cards based on a points system that awards points for doing well on English-language tests, having advanced degrees, and length of employment.
- On border security: It appropriates $25 billion in advance for border security funding for the wall, access and roads, and also includes the addition of a biometric entry-exit system.
- On asylum: It raises the bar for being allowed to pursue an asylum claim in the US, and allows the US to send asylum seekers back to Mexico if they traveled through there (currently, that had to be something that is negotiated with the other country in question).
“Mexico does nothing to help us,” the President said Thursday.
After the IG Report
It’s been one week since the Inspector General’s report was released, and now it’s time for people to start answering for the findings. This week, IG Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before a panel on Capitol Hill this week, answering questions on the bias with which Hillary Clinton’s email investigation was conducted during the 2016 election.
Remember, the report made many references to political biases on the part of FBI employees Peter Strozk and Lisa Page, as well as other unnamed agents. And yet, Director Wray had the audacity to say in his opening statement on Monday that the IG found “no bias.” Trey Gowdy and Jim Jordan were the stars of the show, making sure everyone knows that there was indeed bias. Tune in to hear what they had to say, and how the Inspector General answered, on this week’s The Main Event!
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