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Here are four key points to bear in mind regarding the House Immigration bill – the effort led by Speaker Ryan that reinforces Trump’s lying, panders to the Freedom Caucus, rolls the so-called Republican moderates, and does nothing to solve the crises caused by their President.
This entire partisan House Republican effort to enact a harsh immigration bill is a farce and a smokescreen.
This isn’t about enacting law now, but positioning incumbents for the midterms. It’s not about forging a bipartisan majority, it’s about pretending Republicans want to solve problems in hopes of fooling voters. It’s not about enacting the hugely popular Dream Act, it’s about cynically exploiting concern over the fate of Dreamers to promote Stephen Miller’s long list of nativist poison pills. It’s not about solving problems, it’s about reinforcing Trump’s lie that it’s up to Congress to act. With respect to resolving the Dreamer crisis caused by Trump’s termination of it last year, we need a bipartisan approach that can pass both chambers. Sadly, Trump and his White House have torpedoed multiple bipartisan proposals and bills. It’s evident Trump is primarily interested in demonizing immigrants and dividing the country in hopes of hanging onto power. With respect to ending the family separation crisis caused by Trump and his “zero tolerance” policy, we need the President to fully end the policy and reunite families.
The Ryan bill does nothing to reunify 2,300 separated children with their parents.
The crisis our nation is facing right now is how to find and return some 2,300 children, including infants and toddlers, who have been seized from their parents and sent to secret locations throughout the country. The federal government has no plan to reunite these kids with their parents, a moral scandal of historic proportions. The House Republican immigration bill does nothing – zero, zip, nada – to deal with this crisis.
The Ryan bill is not a bipartisan compromise, it’s a hardline partisan bill that is far to the right of the Stephen Miller proposal that lost bigly in the Senate.
At a time when the American people want their leaders to overcome divisions to solve problems on a bipartisan basis, Speaker Ryan is going in the opposite direction: he recently derailed a bipartisan effort to approve a balanced Dream Act and border security package; he insists that Republicans follow the Freedom Caucus to the far right; and he knows full well that if this bill cobbles together 218 Republican votes, the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. Moreover, the Ryan bill proposes a more extreme set of policies than the White House-inspired bill, sponsored by Senator Grassley, that failed on the Senate floor by an overwhelming vote of 39-60. House Republicans like to spin the bill as one that helps Dreamers and ends the family separation crisis. The facts tell a different story. Based on an analysis by the Cato Institute, 82% of Dreamers would not be eligible for relief under the Ryan bill. The bill does nothing to reunite kids with their parents. What the bill does include is a long list of long-standing measures pushed by the far right. The bill slashes legal immigration, guts our commitment to refugees, turbocharges deportions, and funds – with U.S. taxpayer money – $25 billion for a border wall that is as wasteful as it is unpopular.
The so-called Republican “moderates” should be ashamed of themselves.
A few weeks ago, it looked as if House Republicans interested in forcing action on Dreamers would join with Democrats on a discharge petition. If they had followed through, the House would have produced a huge bipartisan victory for the Hurd-Aguilar bill, a proposal that combines the full Dream Act with workable border security improvements. Ryan convinced the so-called moderates to work with Republicans only. The result is a partisan bill with a narrow and untested path for a small percentage of Dreamers, a draconian set of far right measures aimed at deporting millions, measures to quickly send refugees back to the danger they fled, while doing nothing to reunite separated kids with their parents. These so-called moderates have been played. Perhaps, they believe they can fool their voters with “look, we’re trying hard and doing something.” We believe their cowardice and partisanship will get exposed and they will pay a price later this year.