Tags: Immigration Bill

The Border Bill, Cont.


Negotiations are ongoing on the border bill, with immigration hawks attempting to tighten up the asylum language and get the DACA provision back to the Cruz version without what they consider the loopholes of the current version. Word is that the leadership is just four votes short, but that could be spin. Still, it seems a likely scenario is that the leadership meets the hawks somewhere halfway and manages to pass a toughened-up version of its bill (while still bizarrely insisting that the anti-DACA measure be kept separate). We’ll know more in the morning.

Tags: Immigration Bill

Krauthammer’s Take: House Republican Inaction Is ‘Incomprehensible’


It’s “incomprehensible” that House Republicans can’t get their act together and pass an immigration bill, Charles Krauthammer said on Thursday’s Special Report.

What the Republicans should do is very simple, he said: “Anybody who enters illegally through the Mexican border will be treated under the law the way Canadians and Mexicans are today,” eliminating any possibilities of special treatment for unaccompanied children from Central American countries. Krauthammer noted that it’s important for Republicans to demonstrate “good faith” and show “that they can do something.”

Krauthammer again chastised the party by highlighting House Republicans’ contradictory positions.“It is ridiculous to sue the president on a Wednesday because he oversteps the law, as he has done a dozen times, illegally and unconstitutionally, and then on a Thursday say that he should overstep the law, contradict the law that passed in 2008, and deal with this himself,” Krauthammer said.

The panel subsequently discussed the possibility that Republicans’ inaction sets the stage for the president to enact “pretty sweeping immigration reform, in executive orders,” which would be — in principle, they agreed — impeachable, and the “wrong thing to do.”

Tags: Krauthammer , Immigration Bill

Report: House Leadership Bill a ‘Trojan Horse’ for Unaccompanied Alien Children Seeking Residency


The Center for Immigration Studies has released an analysis of the House leadership’s border bill that says the bill’s border security provisions are actually a “Trojan Horse permitting unaccompanied minors to ask for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.”

“While the appropriations sections of the bill are a great improvement over the president’s request, the sections of the bill addressing the processing of unaccompanied alien children will cause more problems than they solve,” said CIS senior research fellow Dan Cadman, the author of the report, in a statement.

CIS’s statement on the bill says it would include such improvements as giving less spending discretion to executive agencies and slashing the Obama administration’s request for services to illegal crossers by 90 percent. But, CIS says, it would create a new and more lenient process to allow illegal juveniles to ask judges for legal status through a “special motion,” duplicating the issues with the Cornyn-Cuellar HUMANE Act.  

“There is nothing in the provisions of Division B [identified as Secure the Southwest Border Act of 2014] of this bill that merits serious consideration by any member of Congress truly interested in abating the flow of minors and family units northward,” the analysis says. “While the appropriations sections of the bill are a great improvement over the President’s request, and focus government spending more directly on repatriation of the families and children who crossed in the surge, the sections of the bill addressing the processing of unaccompanied alien children are little more than a repackaging of the worst elements of the HUMANE Act.”

Tags: Immigration Bill

Fear of Hispanic Voters Undermines GOP Opposition to Obama’s Orders


House Republicans who don’t want to vote for a border package that includes legislative language targeting President Obama’s executive orders were pretty candid about their reasons during a special conference meeting Thursday afternoon.

“I think there’s some members who don’t want [to take] the vote,” House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas) told National Review Online after the meeting. 

“You know they may have districts that are more Hispanic districts, and so, I think that that was a concern,” he says. ”Also, you know, there are a handful of Democrats who would probably vote for this currently, but we want to get together 218 on our side.”

Tags: Immigration Bill

House GOP Hunkers Down for Night of Negotiations


Representative Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) is already in a room with House colleagues such as Iowa representative Steve King and Idaho representative Raul Labrador, trying to hammer out a deal on the House border bill.

“We’re going to sit down and see if there are places we need to tweak some language,” Blackburn told National Review Online following the special Republican conference meeting Thursday afternoon.

Representative Ed Whitfield (R., Ky.) says he thinks “it’ll be easy to get the votes” — the leadership team pulled the bill earlier Thursday afternoon when it was clear they were four shy of the 218 needed to pass — but it’s not clear how.

“I think the problem is that when you put stronger language in there you lose people at one end, and when as you weaken language, you lose people at the other end,” Representative John Fleming (R., La.) tells NRO. “See, we have a certain number of pro-amnesty members in the Republican caucus and they seem to be pretty recalcitrant about toughening up the language.”

House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) suggested there might be a way to sway at least some of the members who are currently opposed to the bill without adding tougher language. Short of language halting the implementation of President Obama’s DACA program, conservative opponents of the current legislation wanted to add asylum provisions written by House Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.).

“It was getting into some nitty-gritty of language, so I found that to be encouraging,” another House Republican says of the debate during the conference meeting.

Encouraging or not, the asylum language alone won’t sway those focused on President Obama’s impending executive orders pertaining to immigration.

“The pitch is that we have to show America that we can govern, that we’re willing to act, that we can’t just go home and do nothing, that that might hurt our electoral chances,” Fleming says, describing what he heard from supporters of the working group’s border bill.

“But, again, I don’t really believe that,” he continued. “I do think we should speak out. I think we should have a unified message. But the unified message is we stand ready to work with Harry Reid and the Senate — and the president — but they’ve got to do the right thing. They can’t just put out edicts and give blanket amnesty.”

The whole House Republican conference will meet again Friday morning.

Tags: Immigration Bill

Boehner May Blow Up Recess


House Republicans may force the House to stay in session until they get enough votes to pass the border package.

“We’ll stay until we vote,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) told reporters staking out a special GOP conference meeting.

A House GOP leadership aide said the decision hadn’t been made yet.

Another House Republican told National Review Online, 45 minutes into the afternoon meeting, that there was “no sign anyone has changed so far.”

Tags: Immigration Bill

Watch Tucker Carlson and Kirsten Powers Go Mano-A-Mano Over Immigration, Jesus


Who[m] would Jesus deport? That was the question in a pulverizing pileup of powerhouse pundits Thursday as Fox News panjandrums Tucker Carlson and Kirsten Powers went toe-to-toe over the crisis of unaccompanied Central American minor illegal immigrants.

In a heated exchange on Outnumbered, veteran journalist and Daily Caller co-founder Carlson, filling the #OneLuckyGuy position, debated the nature of America, the duties of the church militant, the function of political asylum and even the Jewish Question with Powers, a columnist and former Clinton-administration staffer.

Powers opened by calling the Republican position on immigration “the opposite of humanitarian” and Americans’ popular opposition to receiving immigrants fleeing distressed countries “un-American.”

When Carlson objected, Powers hit back by citing the Statue of Liberty (which was made in France) and suggesting that helping out undocumented immigrants is a Christian duty. Carlson noted that the world is full of countries with much worse problems than Honduras and Nicaragua, from which many of the unaccompanied children have been arriving at the United States border.

“So I have an obligation to share my earnings and my country with people I’ve never met because they are suffering?” Carlson asked.

“Yes,” Powers responded. “You absolutely do. Are you a Christian? Have you read the Bible? Because the Bible is crystal clear.”

“This is not a theocracy,” said Carlson. “The country is not run on Christian precepts.”

The shouting match ranged into the distinction between voluntary Christian charity and the public duties of government, with Powers invoking Ronald Reagan’s citation of John Winthrop’s phrase “City On a Hill” (modified to “Shining City On a Hill”) and Carlson criticizing Christian activists for encouraging immigrants to go on the public dole.

Though Powers brought up The Jews, she avoided Godwin’s law by comparing Honduran immigrants to shtetl Jews of Eastern Europe rather than the victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

“You don’t think Jewish people fleeing pogroms should have been allowed into this country?” she said.

“Oh come on now,” Carlson responded. “That’s completely silly.”

Liberal commentator Powers has won the hearts of many conservatives with her rueful countenance and sharp criticisms of the Obama administration (last year she announced that her own insurance had been canceled due to Obamacare), while Carlson is widely acknowledged to have the best hair in Washington (male division).

Outnumbered co-hosts Kimberly Guilfoyle and Jedediah Bila took Carlson’s side, arguing that U.S. rule of law should prevail and that the government’s first duty should be to American citizens.

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Tucker Carlson , Kirsten Powers , Fox News , Immigration Bill

House Border Bill’s Travails: Obama’s Executive Amnesty Begins to Shift Landscape


The agony of the House border bill seems to have two causes:

1) It has too many substantive weaknesses and loopholes for a bill that is supposed to buttress enforcement (Ryan wrote about the critical Numbers USA analysis here; Bill Kristol noted a number of the problems in his “kill the bill” post here).

2) It fails to address the president’s looming lawlessness in his contemplated new DACA. It seems the bare minimum Republicans could ask for in a border bill would be a provision denying the president the ability to waive more immigration laws. Yet, leadership has been resistant about talking about Obama’s potential new DACA, let alone including anything on it in the bill. Under heavy conservative pressure, it promised a mostly symbolic stand-alone measure.

Heaven knows the leadership has had trouble passing other bills, and it may be that it still gets this one through. But it is clear that just the prospect of Obama’s new DACA is creating an urgency about responding to his lawlessness that it will be very hard for Republicans to ignore. 

Tags: Immigration Bill

The House Leadership’s Border-Bill Woes


Why is the House Republican leadership having such trouble getting its stripped-down border-security spending bill through? Before today’s 3 p.m. emergency conference meeting with all House GOP members, the whip count showed the bill with 214 votes, including a few Democrats — four short of a majority.

House members who’ve been whipped by the leadership say there are many reasons the bill is meeting resistance. Some believe it will make it easier for the Obama administration to admit illegal aliens and some are against allocating money they believe will be misspent on failed security programs. But a big reason is that a prohibition on the government giving breaks to aliens set for deportation wasn’t included in the bill. GOP leaders wanted it to be voted on separately. Many members believe that with the prohibition attached, the bill would sail through. But the deportation language could be construed as blaming President Obama’s 2012 decision to block the deportation of underage aliens for part of the current crisis. “The House leadership doesn’t want to put a bunch of members on the record as being hostile to a form of amnesty, when that might have to be part of a future compromise immigration bill,” one member told me.

The failure of the border-security bill — so far — is yet more evidence that the administration and congressional leadership are so little trusted by House rank-and-file to act in good faith when it comes to immigration that the default position now is that nothing will be done. 

Tags: Immigration Bill

House Border Bill Might Still Pass


House Republicans have a special conference meeting at 3 p.m., as the leadership team is trying to rally votes for the Republican border crisis package after pulling the bill this afternoon.

“Members are advised that we have a Special GOP Conference Meeting at 3:00 p.m,” a notice from the whip’s office states. “Members are further advised that additional votes are possible in the House today,” (original emphasis).
That alert jives with the leadership team’s statement when they pulled the bill. ”Through an inclusive process, a border bill was built by listening to members and the American people that has the support not just of a majority of the majority in the House, but most of the House Republican Conference,” the Republican leaders said.  :We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country.”

Tags: Immigration Bill

John Boehner Gives Up on Border Bill


House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) pulled the House border package under pressure from Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and a core of conservatives who wanted language addressing President Obama’s imminent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and immnent executive actions on immigration.

Here is the statement from Boehner and the rest of House leadership:

“This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws.  There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.  For the past month, the House has been engaged in intensive efforts to pass legislation that would compel the president to do his job and ensure it can be done as quickly and compassionately as possible.  Through an inclusive process, a border bill was built by listening to members and the American people that has the support not just of a majority of the majority in the House, but most of the House Republican Conference.  We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country.”
The New York Times’ Ashley Parker tweeted that the House will be “heading home without any vote.”

Tags: Immigration Bill

House Dem: We Can Do Without Supplemental Funding


Representative Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.,) believes that President Obama’s administration doesn’t need the supplemental funding badly enough to make it worth passing a bill that included changing the 2008 human trafficking law.

“You will send a lot of kids back home to be killed if you do that,” Nadler told National Review Online on Wednesday when asked why he wouldn’t support any policy changes as part of a supplemental package. “If you look at the history, we’re not proud of the fact that we sent all the Jews back in 1940.”

Nadler said that the number of unaccompanied children coming into the country has dropped in the last month. “You’re now seeing a great reduction [in the number of kids coming] and we can handle it, even if we don’t pass anything, we can handle it,” Nadler said. “If I had to do one or the other — do nothing or send a lot of kids back to be murdered, I would do nothing, knowing that that’s not a good situation.”

You can read more about how Obama’s border plan stumbled on the home page.


Tags: Immigration Bill

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