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GOP Shutdown Would Not Affect USCIS, WOULD Hamper Border Security, E-Verify

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It’s three days before Republican intransigence will lead to yet another government shutdown, and the GOP state of play is a right mess.  Polls show that Republicans will be blamed for a shutdown, and it’s going to look pretty bad for the GOP and their promises to govern if this all goes down.  Mitch McConnell looks like he wants to throw in the towel — but it’s unclear that the Steve King-led House would follow suit.  The right wing wants to defund executive action via the current House DHS bill, and they view all other options as caving into “amnesty.”

From where we’re standing, it appears that all the right-wing anger and the lack of a way forward is blinding the GOP to a few facts:

  • USCIS, the agency processing immigration, visa, and other applications, is funded by users — i.e. immigrants — not US taxpayers.  The agency essentially can’t be defunded.  Yes, DACA+/DAPA are temporarily on hold, due to Judge Hanen’s ruling last week.  But even if the programs were up and running today, defunding DHS wouldn’t be a way to stop USCIS from accepting and processing applications.  It would be the height of irony if the GOP, in an attempt to stop executive action, furloughs or withholds pay from thousands of DHS employees except the ones processing executive action.
  • Similarly, some of the GOP’s most beloved programs would be halted by a shutdown.  There’s E-Verify, the Big Government database of who is and is not authorized to work in the US, that is beloved by the likes of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and CIS’ Mark Krikorian.  E-Verify was the subject of a whole House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month.  But it would shut down if DHS does.
  • And there’s border security.  According to the New York Times today, a shutdown would mean that “Customs and Border Protection would not receive the $90 million it needs for both remote and mobile video surveillance in the Rio Grande Valley. And the roughly $2.5 billion that the department provides in grants each year would halt.”

So there you go.  Under the GOP’s super-brilliant plan, the government would shut down and Americans would blame Republicans for it.  The party’s most favorite talking points re: immigration (border security and E-Verify) would be hampered or shut down.  And the thing they are trying to stop — executive action processing — would be untouched.

Could they have botched things any worse?