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As Trump Rips Kids from Families, House GOP Engages in Theater of the Absurd

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House Immigration Votes Are Meant to Distract from, Not Resolve the Family Separation Crisis

AV Urges “No” Votes on Goodlatte and Ryan Bills

America’s Voice recommends that members of the House of Representatives vote no on Goodlatte and Ryan’s immigration bills set for this week.


The “Securing America’s Future Act” authored by Rep. Goodlatte and the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act” negotiated by Speaker Ryan are deeply flawed measures and, even if approved, are going nowhere fast. The bills are partisan instead of bipartisan; they are hardline instead of balanced; and both of them are more extreme than the White House-inspired bill, sponsored by Senator Grassley, that failed on the Senate floor by an overwhelming vote of 39-60.

Moreover, this entire effort is a farce and a smokescreen designed to pretend motion is movement. The House immigration votes are a cynical effort 1) to head off bipartisan solutions for the Dreamer crisis that enjoy broad bipartisan support; and 2) to distract from the crisis the Trump administration caused with its “zero tolerance” and family separation policies. Instead of a partisan measure that will never be enacted into law, the House should be voting on bipartisan measures that have a chance of approval in the Senate. Instead of holding show votes, House Republicans should be calling on President Trump to stop separating families now.

Our View

The cruel and inhumane family separation policy can be stopped with a phone call from President Trump. Despite furious spin and lies from the White House, Republican Senators such as Orrin Hatch, Bob Corker, and Lindsey Graham are correct in stating that President Trump could end the horrifying family separation policy right now by simply picking up the phone.

The idea that Congress must fix it is a smokescreen and part of a White House effort to distract attention and shift blame. The White House is attempting to set up a “heads I win, tails you lose” scenario – either Congress passes one of the Trump-backed draconian immigration bills, or Trump gets to blast Democrats for blocking legislation. Trump wants to say that a House bill, if it passes, will treat Dreamers generously and end family separation, when it would do neither.

The Goodlatte and Ryan House Republican bills are to the right of the White House framework that only mustered 39 votes in the Senate in February. The House Republican bills would provide even fewer protections for Dreamers than the White House-backed “Secure and Succeed Act” that was voted down 39-60. Meanwhile, the House GOP bills would gut asylum laws and slash family-based immigration categories and numbers, including the elimination of much of the existing backlog of applicants.

The Ryan bill is based on Stephen Miller’s wish list. Just because the Goodlatte bill is even more draconian and anti-immigrant doesn’t make the Ryan bill an acceptable alternative. The fact that Stephen Miller strongly supports the Ryan bill should make it clear that it is far from the “centrist compromise” touted by proponents. More specifically:

  • Not a real fix for Dreamers. The Ryan bill would put Dreamers at the mercy of an untested point system that creates a confusing, convoluted path to citizenship that could take more than 20 years. Some Dreamers, who don’t have enough “points,” would never get a path to citizenship. Furthermore, the bill would hold Dreamers ransom to border money; if DHS uses the border money for other purposes, the path to citizenship for Dreamers would be eliminated. Plus, the bill asks Dreamers to swallow a range of draconian provisions that would harm some of their fellow Dreamers, their parents, and the immigrant community as a whole.
  • Decimates the asylum system. The Ryan bill would make it harder for asylum seekers to obtain freedom from persecution by increasing the standard of proof needed to apply for asylum. It’s estimated that the changes in the bill would halve the number of asylum seekers – further exacerbating the child welfare crisis currently unfolding on the border. The bill would also deport asylum seekers who don’t first present their claims in Mexico – effectively outsourcing our international obligations to asylum seekers.
  • Slashes the legal immigration system and family reunification. The Ryan bill would pull the rug out from under applicants waiting in line to enter the United States via a family-based petition. Those applicants, who have filed the necessary paperwork, paid their fees and are waiting to reunite with their family members, will have the rules changed on them in the middle of the process. U.S. citizen family members, who have been in line for over a decade, would lose their place in line for a green card and be left with no alternative path to family reunification.