Washington, DC – Yesterday, in anticipation of the lifting of Title 42, the Biden administration announced plans to surge 1,500 troops to the southern border as well as a new joint agreement with Mexico to “for the first time … allow U.S. authorities to deport non-Mexican migrants who entered the United States illegally back across the border,” as the Washington Post described.
Meanwhile, House Republicans announced plans to move H.R. 2, “the Secure the Border Act of 2023” forward when Congress reconvenes. As a short accompanying announcement from Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office made clear, their legislation is all about political messaging and fundraising, not a real policy vision designed to forge a breakthrough or advance solutions about global migration. It offers the failed Trump campaign greatest hits list of “build the wall” and misinformation that immigrants are responsible for American crime and drug overdoses, all couched in the “blame Biden” attacks that they started even before he was elected. It may not have the votes to pass the House and is unlikely to get anywhere in the Senate.
The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice, reacting to the latest developments and the larger context:
“Misusing a public health law as a deterrence-only blunt instrument to block asylum was never a real or appropriate long-term solution and never had a public health justification. It was always a fig leaf; a band aid when major surgery is required.
The real issue isn’t what happens next week, rather what happens five years from now if Congress continues to kick the can down the road. Americans want a comprehensive fix to modernize our immigration system that works for America and treats immigrants and asylum seekers with dignity. And the right question and focus shouldn’t be a myopic obsession with what numbers look like in the coming days or weeks. It should be a larger assessment of what policies and vision we need to get right for the coming years and beyond.
We have failed to modernize our immigration system for decades and it has not miraculously fixed itself. We have a fundamentally broken immigration system that is not matched to 21st century realities and remains in desperate need of a legislative overhaul that Republicans continue to block. Instead, they are proposing a grab-bag of anti-immigrant policies that aim to advance their political attack lines rather than actually move us closer to real solutions or a compromise. That their policy vision is cruel, extreme and unworkable is almost beside the point – today’s Republican Party is not trying to govern nor even propose real solutions.
America can manage migration and live up to our best traditions as a welcoming nation. Modernizing our immigration laws and not relying on a public health fig leaf, is the right approach both now and in the future. Whatever we do in the next few weeks or months is no substitute for the reforms Republicans have been blocking for years and decades.”