Did House Democrats Finally Get Something Right?

June 30, 2019 Updated: June 30, 2019

Commentary

When President Donald Trump declared a humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border in January, many Democrats attacked him.

As reported by Fox News, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the president was working to “manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration.” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez referred to it as “manufactured.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called it a “‘crisis’ that doesn’t exist.” Finally, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote that “we’re not falling” for the “fake crisis.”

How things have changed!

Recently, congressional Democrats have engaged in several emotional appeals with regard to the border crisis. Most recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats agreed to a $4.5 billion border funding bill for the sole purpose of rectifying the apparent “humanitarian crisis” (the “manufactured” one, remember?) at the nation’s borders and detention facilities.

While the proposed bill provided funding to improve the treatment of migrant families detained after crossing the border, it failed to address (and fund) the broader issue, which is border security and Trump’s border wall (in other words, how to prevent this from happening in the first place).

Moreover, as reported in The Federalist, “The House bill did not include funds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds or enforcement assistance from the Pentagon to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).”

The president recognized that right away and threatened to veto this bill.

According to The Associated Press: “In a letter Monday threatening the veto, White House officials told lawmakers they objected that the House package lacked money for beds the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency needs to let it detain more migrants. Officials also complained in the letter that the bill had no money to toughen border security, including funds for building Trump’s proposed border wall.”

While nobody wants to see children needlessly suffer, the trouble with the Democrats’ bill was that it intentionally failed to address the pressing question of how to prevent the interminable and illegal influx of people into the country. In other words, no matter how much money Democrats want to allocate to this “crisis,” it will never be enough if the crisis isn’t stopped, which requires strong border security.

Without that, people will continue to flow into the country illegally, which will result in more arrests and detentions and, ultimately, result in overcrowding, dire living conditions, and the need for additional money. The circular nature of this sequence is self-evident. While Mexico has offered to help in this regard, it is ultimately up to the United States to secure its border.

The act of crossing the border illegally doesn’t seem to matter to many Democrats. For example, actress and activist Alyssa Milano recently wrote on Twitter: “To those who say, ‘Well, they shouldn’t have come here illegally’—Why does this idea of an arbitrary line matter so much to you that you don’t care if people are dying when they cross said arbitrary line?!?!”

Milano’s argument is flawed in several respects. First, the “arbitrary line” that she so casually references is not arbitrary at all. Rather, it’s one of the things that makes us a sovereign nation. Second, Milano’s approach—like that of many other Democrats—fails to offer a solution to the endless flow of illegal immigrants into the country. Is Milano saying that the United States should simply continue to pay in order to improve the living conditions of those who enter the country illegally? Where will this money come from? More importantly, if we don’t prevent the constant influx of people entering the country illegally, when will the nation’s obligation to pay cease?

Fortunately, the Senate also prepared a bipartisan $4.59 billion supplemental border funding bill; it passed June 26 by an 84–8 vote. Unlike the House’s bill, the Senate’s bill includes funding for the humanitarian crisis at the border and border security.

As reported by CBS News, the Senate’s bipartisan package contains the following:

  • “$2.88 billion for Health and Human Services to provide safe shelter and care for children in custody;
  • $1.1 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to establish migrant care and processing facilities;
  • $220 million for the Justice Department to help process immigration cases and provide resources to U.S. Marshals Service for care and detention of federal detainees;
  • $145 million for branches of U.S. military for missions along the border.”

Pelosi, who initially objected to any bill that failed to include restrictions on immigration enforcement, finally agreed to support the Senate’s bill due to pressure from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

According to Fox News, Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues: “In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill. As we pass the Senate bill, we will do so with a Battle Cry as to how we go forward to protect children in a way that truly honors their dignity and worth.”

As expected, some of the more liberal members of her party, including Ocasio-Cortez, blasted her decision. However, the bill passed, 305–102.

The president has indicated his willingness and desire to sign a bill that improves conditions on the border (i.e., more beds) and addresses the issue of border security. The Senate’s bill does exactly that.

Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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