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Republicans took over control of the 118th U.S. Congress on Jan. 3, but days before, they were already announcing a new act that will focus on the issue they love: the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Steve Scalise (R-La.), the incoming House majority leader, announced on Dec. 30 that the Border Safety and Security Act will be brought up in the first two weeks of 2023.
The Act, according to Scalise, would allow the Homeland Security secretary to turn away “certain migrants” to achieve “operational control” at the U.S. border.
Scalise did not lay out any qualifiers, but if his past diatribe on immigration is any indication, expect this 118th Republican-controlled Congress to be largely anti-immigrant and anti-immigration.
In April 2022, Scalise emphasized that unless the Biden administration reverses its pro-amnesty policies, “illegal immigrants, drug cartels and human traffickers will continue to take advantage of the United States’ open border.” That means it is fair to assume the plan will largely be to “seal our borders as a matter of national security,” as he has said since 2008.
This is also the same lawmaker who showed up at a press conference in April 2021 with a milk carton with Vice President Kamala Harris’s face on it and declared her “missing” at the border.
Scalise also took issue with the Biden administration offering COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, including the undocumented, and co-sponsored the Birthright Citizenship Act to redefine “birthright citizenship” to exclude the children of undocumented immigrants, whom he referred to as “anchor babies.”
He also voted to ban DREAMers from military service and just last year, urged his fellow Republicans to vote against the Dream Act, which would have protected young immigrants from deportation. Scalise also insists that “amnesty is not an option” but is for a merit-based immigration system.
While the bill, if passed in the House, may be dead on arrival in the Senate, Americans will be in for a lame duck Congress in 2023, where nothing gets done and the back and forth gets worse.
The fact is that the majority of Americans agree the issue at the southern border, which has led to bussing migrants across the country into major cities that are now unable to keep up, is untenable.
Arrest and deportation data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), support how insane this situation is. During fiscal year 2022, between Oct. 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022, ICE deportation agents carried out 142,750 immigration arrests, an increase of 93 percent compared to the previous fiscal year.
We cannot keep this up. Scalise and his Republican bands of border lockers need to proffer logical solutions to solve the problem, not simply offer up bills based on drumming up hysteria.
It is time to pass common sense immigration reform. The American people need reform that enhances security at the border and ports of entry; a pathway forward for people who were here in an undocumented capacity and have been here for years; an update on the asylum laws that allows application for asylum at a U.S. consulate in a country overseas; and a focus on an immigration program to address the labor shortages in the country. That’s what is needed in 2023. Will Scalise and GOP Band step up to the plate or drop it as usual? (Amsterdam News)