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While Trump continues to propose more cruel and nonsensical policies destined to fail, Democrats are embracing a sensible, humane and effective way forward. Witness Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s floor speech yesterday, during which he refuted Trump’s bogus suggestion that Democrats don’t have a plan for the refugee crisis at the border.
As Senator Schumer notes, Senate Democrats introduced a formidable plan weeks ago – progress echoed by the passage of the Dream and Promise Act in the House, with unanimous Democratic support.
Senator Schumer’s remarks are available in full here and excerpted below:
It’s a pretty simple pattern. The president stakes out a maximalist position but never clearly defines his objectives. That way, after he backs himself into a corner, he can use a deal of any kind, even if it’s merely a fig leaf, to justify retreating from whatever misguided policy he’s threatened. Then he declares victory, having done little to nothing to solve the underlying problem.
…One final point on this matter, and a very important point—and I hope everyone will listen, because we’ve talked about this in the last week or two, but so far the media hasn’t written much about it. I hope they will today. President Trump tweeted this morning that Democrats have no plan to deal with the surge of migrants at the border. Now that’s another bogus claim. Democrats do have a plan. We proposed it, actually, last year, and I talked about it on the floor of the Senate here two or three times in the last two weeks. And, it would be far more effective at dealing with the actual problem than what President Trump announced on Friday.
Let me outline the three things of our plan. First, we would allow asylum seekers to apply for asylum within their own countries. If you’re a Guatemalan, a Honduran, an El Salvadoran, your children is threatened, being beat up, brutalized, or killed by gangs, your daughter is threatened with rape—you want to leave the country. But it’s a long, dangerous trek to go across Mexico. You have to pay the coyotes a lot of money. Let them apply for asylum in their home countries, not at the border with the United States.
Second, we would provide security assistance to Central American countries to crack down on the violent gangs, and the drug cartels, and the human trafficking. That’s what most of these people are fleeing. Look at their pictures, they’re not criminals, almost all of them. They’re not gang members. They’re average people seeking desperate relief. And so, what we could do to stem the tide, and it wouldn’t cost that much, is crack down on violent gangs, drug cartels, and trafficking. President Obama began to do this, and President Trump has rescinded it. It’s logical and it could work. These countries themselves don’t have our knowledge, our ability, our resources, to go after these horrible gangs, these horrible drug dealers. But we can help them. We should.
And third, we at our border could increase the number of immigration judges to process cases faster. So people wouldn’t have to wait so long. The case could be adjudicated, if they make the asylum requirements, fine, and if they don’t, they don’t get in. Those are three, commonsense solutions to the problem that President Trump has talked about. As the president’s illusory “deal” with Mexico continues to unravel, as the situation doesn’t get better, please—the Republicans on the other side of the aisle who agree with this solution, Mr. President, please: take a look at our solution. It can work, it can be bipartisan. No, you don’t get to pound the table and make a lot of demands. That won’t ever affect anything. But our proposal might get the job done. Let’s give it a shot in a bipartisan way.