The DHS funding bill shows the skewed priorities of GOP appropriators
By Mark Krikorian
National Review Online, July 27, 2018
The House Appropriations Committee this week approved the Department of Homeland Security funding bill for fiscal year 2019 (starting October 1, 2018), after considering a raft of amendments. This is not necessarily the final product; the bill will likely be amended further if and when considered by the full House of Representatives, and again when the House and Senate confer on reconciling their respective versions of the legislation.
Nevertheless, at this stage the DHS appropriations bill, passed Wednesday on a party-line vote of 29–22, is a snapshot of priorities of this most important committee. And it contains several harmful provisions that would increase illegal immigration and the importation of foreign workers on “temporary” visas — provisions passed with the support of the Republican chairmen of the full committee and its Homeland Security subcommittee.
The following is not necessarily an exhaustive listing of its immigration-related provisions, but it highlights the most important ones.
Funding levels. The provision most remarked on is the $5 billion for “Border Security Assets and Infrastructure,” i.e., construction of an estimated 200 miles of border barriers, without the restrictions that are in the current-year funding bill that prevent use of funds for anything like a wall.
The bill also funds more than 400 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and increases the number of detention beds by more than 3,000 over the current level, to 44,000. That said, the funds approved are very different from what the administration requested. The mostly non-immigration part of ICE, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), is given about 17 percent more funding than the administration requested, while Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), which handles deportations, is given 19 percent less than requested.
Asylum standards. The worst mischief comes in the amendments. Among those added in Wednesday’s markup, perhaps the most damaging is one introduced by Representative David Price (D., N.C.), supported by Representative Kevin Yoder (R., Kan.), chairman of the panel’s Homeland Security subcommittee, and approved by voice vote. The measure prevents U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from implementing the attorney general’s ruling regarding eligibility for asylum.
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the creeping expansion of asylum by formally determining that domestic abuse and gang violence are not grounds for asylum from persecution due to “membership in a particular social group,” as specified in the 1980 Refugee Act. This expansion of the grounds for asylum took place under the prior administration without congressional action and has contributed to the surge of Central American minors and families at the border.
The amendment to the funding bill would have its immediate impact on the first step in the asylum process, called the “credible fear” interview. When an alien at a port of entry or in the custody of the Border Patrol expresses a fear of return to his home country, he is interviewed by a USCIS officer to determine whether the fear is credible and could lead to a successful asylum claim. If the alien’s fear of return is deemed credible, he may then pursue an asylum claim, though many who are released into the U.S. to do so don’t follow through, but simply disappear into the illegal population. Aliens have thus been coached by smugglers to claim asylum as a way of gaining access to the U.S.
The attorney general’s ruling, and the subsequent guidance from USCIS to its officers, has had an immediate effect at the border. For if fear of gangs or of an abusive partner — i.e., private violence rather than state or state-sanctioned violence — is no longer a grounds for asylum, then aliens asserting such fears no longer pass the credible-fear interview and can be turned away or deported immediately.
Were the Price-Yoder amendment to be signed into law, the attorney general’s ruling would remain unchanged, but USCIS officers could not rely on it in making credible-fear determinations. It’s not clear how that would work as a practical matter, but the clear goal is to ensure that any alien who claims “persecution” on the ineligible grounds would nonetheless be let into the United States. This would make regaining control of the border difficult, if not impossible — no matter how big the wall might be — because the Obama-era welcome mat for bogus asylum seekers would not only be restored but enshrined in statute, meaning smugglers could rely on it as a means of getting their customers past the Border Patrol and into the interior of the country.
Foreign workers. Two amendments expanding work-visa programs were also passed by the Appropriations Committee. The first determines that H-2A seasonal-farmworker visas no longer have to be seasonal. This was done to satisfy lobbyists for the dairy industry, which works year-round and wants to import cheap foreign labor through this unlimited visa program; it is stymied by the wording of the statute, which limits the visa to work “of a temporary or seasonal nature.” The appropriations bill does not change the wording of the statute creating the farmworker visa; it merely says that workers will be admitted in FY 2019 under that provision of the law “without regard to whether such labor is, or services are, of a temporary or seasonal nature.” It would result in large, ongoing increases in the number of these “temporary” foreign workers.
The other foreign-worker amendment affects the H-2B visa, which is the non-agricultural equivalent of the H-2A, used mainly by landscapers and hotels and restaurants. The amendment was just the latest round in lobbyists’ relentless backroom push to exempt from the visa’s numerical cap all those workers who came in prior years (in this case, in the prior two years). This was accomplished in the previous two budgets via a gutless gimmick — the DHS secretary would be authorized (wink, wink) to exempt returning workers from the cap if it seemed necessary. That way, congressmen wouldn’t have their fingerprints on the increase. At least this time they chose not to hide behind the gimmick.
Country caps. Another amendment also benefits those on “temporary” visas, though it doesn’t increase overall numbers. This measure (which has been floating around for years and was reintroduced in this Congress as H.R. 392) would eliminate the per-country cap for employment-based visas and increase it for family-based visas.
The per-country caps were enacted decades ago as a kind of circuit breaker, to prevent a handful of countries from monopolizing the immigration flow. Their effect today is to lengthen the wait for certain immigrants from India, China, the Philippines, and Mexico, compared with similarly situated immigrants from countries that account for less of the immigration flow. The caps result in a more diverse immigration flow.
The lobbying juice behind this change is Big Tech and the Indian “temporary” workers it has imported on H-1B and L visas. These are also ostensibly temporary visas, but are widely used as stepping-stones to permanent immigration. But so many of them are given out that the workers endure extended periods of de facto indentured servitude waiting for their numbers to come up. Eliminating the cap would speed up the issuance of their green cards, making the H-1B that much more attractive to potential low-paid tech workers and that much more useful for employers looking to replace their American workforce with foreigners. The flip side is that people from other countries, generally more highly skilled than the H-1Bs, would be crowded out as virtually all employment-based green cards went to Indians.
There’s more! Not to drag this out, but there are more bad amendments that the GOP appropriators tacked on. Representative Yoder himself co-sponsored a provision prohibiting the separation of children from parents unless “the parent has a criminal history, a communicable, disease, or is determined to be unfit or a danger to the child.” This is a formal, statutory exemption from prosecution for illegal entry for all adults who bring children with them — and will thus result in even more border-jumpers’ bringing (or renting) children.
A seemingly pointless amendment prohibits the deportation of anyone in the lawless Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It’s pointless because DACA, by definition, prevents your deportation, and the only DACA beneficiaries who get deported are those who forfeit their status because of crimes. Since the amendment can have no actual result, the real point seems to be to codify Obama’s illegal DACA power grab by getting Congress to acknowledge it and incorporate it into law.
And needless to say, the Republican-run Appropriations Committee did nothing to defund sanctuary cities.
It’s not clear to me why Representative Yoder, as Homeland Security subcommittee chairman, orchestrated this fiasco. He actually has a respectable career immigration grade from Numbers USA of B+; not as good as Ted Cruz’s A+ but better than John Cornyn’s C+. And, for including wall funding, Yoder was effusively endorsed by President Trump and rewarded with a ride on Air Force One — and the next day he sabotaged the president’s immigration agenda.
Hill staff assured us that the most egregious items won’t make it to the floor or will be killed in conference (if the bill even gets that far). But why take the chance? Will the Democratic appropriators stock their bills with Republican priorities if they take over next year?
AMERICA: NO LEGAL NEED APPLY
REPORT: The assault to finish off the American middle-class is NOT over
“The report noted that many illegals don't have jobs or have difficulty in landing good jobs because of local laws.”
“However, it identified several states that have begun easing employment laws so that illegals can get a job.”
College-Grad Salaries Eroded by Hidden Army of 1.5 Million Visa-Workers
Every CEO in every company sees the business opportunity: Will I earn higher profits by replacing my American staff with cheaper H-1B workers? The answer is an obvious yes.
The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration shifts wealth from young people towards older people by the market with . That process by for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. The policy also drives up , , reduces , increases , hurts and , pushes Americans , and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized and their families, including many who are now struggling with .
STARING IN THE FACE of AMERICA’S UNRAVELING and the ROAD TO REVOLUTION
“It will more likely come on the heels of economic dislocation and dwindling wealth to redistribute.”
"The kind of people needed for violent change these days are living in off-the-grid rural compounds, or the “gangster paradise” where the businesses of drugs, guns, and prostitution are much more lucrative than “transforming” America along Cuban lines." BRUCE THORNTON
There can be no resolution to any social problem confronting the population in the United States and internationally outside of a frontal assault on the wealth of the financial elite.
The political system is controlled by this social layer, which uses a portion of its economic plunder to bribe politicians and government officials, whether Democratic or Republican.
Illegal Immigration and Poor Americans
The Democrats and the left have a rallying cry regarding the Trump administration's policy toward those crossing the border illegally. They point to the separation of children from their parents and deplorable conditions. They claim that it is a humanitarian effort, but how humanitarian is it to drop off numerous unaccompanied children or release them into an unknown territory where they can become the victims of predators? They never address the negative impact on the poor American citizen.
They are calling attention to pictures of children in cells, yet, in 2014, when Obama was president, American Thinker interviewed then-governor of Arizona Jan Brewer, who stated, "Each child has a designation of cells, such as 'cell 7 or cell 8.' There is a chain link fence surrounding them and they are sleeping on bed mats with just a blanket. It breaks my heart to see babies being born in these facilities. I spoke with a fifteen-year-old who is pregnant. I was told by a lot of these children that they had to pay between $5,000 and $7,000 and that they still owe money to those who brought them here. You know what these cartels will do – use extortion. We need to question if there were any children that never arrived, and what happened to them? What about the potential for these children to be part of a human-trafficking ring? Do we know anything about the people they are being released to? As a mother, I can never conceive that these children would be sent with a stranger to a strange land on a fifteen-day hazardous journey. I understand the humanitarian argument and feel the situation is pathetic and pitiful. But what about the children who are American citizens living in ghettos and are fearful for their lives because of gang violence? The bottom line is, America is not big enough or rich enough to accept all these people."
Another instance was told to American Thinker by a member of the Civil Rights Commission, Peter Kirsanow, who also happens to be a great thriller-writer, his latest being Second Strike. A few years ago, he and his colleagues went to a Texas detention center and found the conditions to be the opposite of Arizona's. "We found very nice facilities where the people there were given three meals a day, dental/medical care, clothing, and a nice recreational area. Yet the majority report included two photos showing horrific conditions. My assistant discovered that these were not of the detention center, but of prisons," which also separate families when either a mother or father is incarcerated.
Kirsanow is frustrated with what is happening in America today. He is a black American and believes that illegal immigration has a devastating effect on low-income American citizens. It seems that the Democrats and left are just using the illegal immigration issue as a talking point, supporting aliens at others' expense. "We need to understand illegal immigrants have some negative competitive effects on American workers. They drag down wage rates, drag down employment, and compete directly with blacks in industries such as service, hospitality, and construction. Welfare and college spots have been taken from Americans and given to illegal immigrants. They are a net drain on the economy."
Steven A. Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, agrees. "Because the overwhelming share of illegal immigrants residing in the country have not completed high school or have only a high school education, it would require highly implausible assumptions to avoid a substantial net fiscal drain from this population. In short, illegal immigrants are a large net fiscal drain because of their education levels, and this fact drives the results."
He compared the amount in annual expenditures on children in detention centers to those of American children: "the March 2017 Current Population Survey has 24 percent of American children living in a household making $35,000 or less. And it is my understanding that is what we spend on kids in detention."
Senator Robert Kennedy was in the Mississippi Delta 50 years ago for a Senate subcommittee examination of War on Poverty programs. Ellen B. Meacham wrote in an op-ed, "What he saw on his widely publicized trip shocked a nation, but Americans would be even more shocked to know that 50 years later, the Delta remains desperately poor," with one in three people running out of food each month. Perhaps this is because the attention has shifted to the illegal alien.
Concerning the separation of families, the Heritage Foundation found that single parents make up the overwhelming majority of all poor families with children in the United States. Welfare programs create disincentives to marriage because benefits are reduced as a family's income rises, such as food stamps, public housing, Medicaid, day care, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
It is striking that the conditions of a poor American child do not draw the same attention and sympathy as children of illegal aliens. Kirsanow wants people to understand that 73% of black children are born to a single mother, up from 20% in the 1960s. "Liberal policies have been responsible for this. The Democratic policies facilitate single parenthood, separating children from their families."
Kirsanow cites the statistic that competition from illegal aliens has caused 40% of the nineteen-point decline of black employment levels over a couple of decades. "We are talking over a million jobs. Black wage rates were suppressed by $1,000 annually. Democrats are throwing blacks under the bus by appealing for the Hispanic vote by calling for open borders. The lives of blacks in cities like Detroit, with uninterrupted Democratic rule for decades, have not improved significantly. These policies have been devastating to blacks."
All Americans should strive to protect our fellow citizens and their interests first. As Kirsanow summarized, "it is really disappointing to see an entire party more invested in the plight of foreigners than in the welfare of Americans. The Democrats understand that even though they have policies devastating to blacks they still get 90% of their votes. They have disjointed appeals to different identity groups, with electoral politics trumping all."
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.