Senate Democrats’ Ridiculously Unserious Proposal



On Tuesday, Senate Democrats unveiled what they characterized as “a set of serious, legitimate solutions” to the growing border crisis, while simultaneously slamming President Trump for “doubling down on failed immigration policies.”

The serious solution is, in fact, a rehash of a failed legislative proposal made in the last Congress to increase funding to the failed Central American states from which thousands of migrants are fleeing daily.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed the Central America Reform and Enforcement Act is a bill “based on solutions that have shown success in the past and seeks to stem the flow of asylum claims at our border,” while providing a “safer path to asylum” for Central American families.

The purportedly “common sense” measure would boost financial assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as a means of mitigating the violence and poverty in the Golden Triangle countries; increase opportunities for migrants to apply for asylum before they get to the U.S. border; put more “resources” into immigration judges; and add more protections for children.

In his column praising the political genius of the proposal, Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent wrote, “The hope is that the plan will give Democrats the basis for a substantive blueprint to respond to the asylum-seeking crisis — and, more broadly, an answer to Trump’s xenophobic and nativist nationalism, a vision to contrast with his.”

The plan fits in line with the righteously-indignant criticism Democrats have been directing at the Trump Administration for placing conditions on any future aid to Central America.

Senate Democrats are offering a vision that provides a contrast to Trump. They also are proposing to give more aid to corrupt Central American governments – a position they’ve questioned in the past.

When there was a similar, but much smaller, surge in migrants to the U.S. border in 2014, the Obama administration pitched a plan to give more aid to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Notably, the $1 billion “fund-your-way-out-of-the-border-crisis” policy was outlined in a New York Times op-ed penned by current Democratic presidential candidate and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

The proposal was based on another aid package designed to improve the situation in Colombia, which was facing similar problems with drug crime, violence and poverty. As even the liberal American Prospect magazine acknowledged, it was a failure.

While Biden was a willing messenger for repeating failed foreign policy initiatives, some of the same senators calling today for more aid to Central America had their own reservations about the Obama plan.

“We’ve spent billions of dollars there over two decades. And we’ve seen conditions get worse in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), informed then-Secretary of State John Kerry during a February hearing in 2015.

Leahy also suggested private businesses in the region bear a responsibility to improve the situation and “should be doing more.”

During questioning of Kerry at an appropriations hearing later in the month, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) questioned the secretary about the wisdom of investing another $1 billion of taxpayer dollars into Central America

“We can’t just continue to layer aid programs,” he told Kerry.

“We have to have accountability in these programs. We’ve had many programs in Central America and the results have been less than consequential,” added Cardin.

Those same concerns about pouring good money into bad governments were echoed in an August 19, 2015 letter from a group of House Democrats to then-Secretary Kerry. The group said that while they understood the administration’s efforts to “address the root causes of migration” from Central America, they worried U.S. taxpayer dollars would be “used for military-style policing, activity that could, in fact, be one of the causes of this migration as it exacerbates the violence in the country.”

Just as they are today, Republicans called in 2014 for amending the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which requires migrant children from Central American countries have their cases heard in immigration courts, unlike those from Mexico or Canada.

In fact, the Obama administration backed Republicans’ call for granting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) more authority to expeditiously deport migrant children from Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

In July 2014, then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress he thought “some type of added discretion on my part would be helpful to address this particular situation” on the border, specifically, he added, “treating migrants from the three Central American countries” in the same way as migrants from Mexico and Canada.

Eventually, the Obama administration buckled under pressure from pro-amnesty activists and no change was made.

Stating his intent to vote against any further aid to Central America without changing the 2008 anti-trafficking law, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, “It would be more money, same problem, if we don’t change the law.”

True words then. Even truer words now.

About Author

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Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.

10 Comments

  1. avatar

    To the Socialist/Democrats fighting securing the border: Harvard has recently released their study showing that the number of ILLEGAL ALIENS in this country now is 27 million. That’s MILLION! That’s what’s outrageous!
    The true number may very well be closer to 40 MILLION, but the questions to those political snakes fighting our security is: Just how many is TOO MANY? Where is the housing for these numbers still coming in going to come from? Who’s going to pay for their support (as if we don’t already know)? Do you plan to continue the betrayal of 1986?
    P.S. What about the crime and diseases ILLEGALS are bringing in? Will it take one or some of your families being infected before you do something?

    • avatar

      We must re-elect Trump, elect a full conservative congress and senate and eliminate the dumbass open border loving Dumbassrats in 2020 !!!!!

  2. avatar

    NO WAY, giving them more money just isn’t going to work…I want and demand a wall …when are the demoncraps going to work with Trump? this is absolutely pathetic

  3. avatar
    Mara Alexander on

    The author might also mention that Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador got $16 BILLION in remittances alone from their citizens in the US. Citizens from the latter 2 countries have had TPS for almost 20 years, have worked legally, and send back billions of dollars each year, 18% of the Honduran economy, 20% of the Salvadoran, and 11% of the Guatemalan. If money were all it took to improve these countries, well, they’ve had quite a bit already and the situation’s just gotten worse. Migration to the US, as with Mexico, is a safety valve for the corrupt leaders of these countries.

  4. avatar
    Stephen Russell on

    Dems dont care, just want for Votes & power, I call that abuse.
    They dont give a Damn about the US

  5. avatar

    You couldn’t get a better definition of irony than Chuck Schumer saying Trump is “doubling down on failed immigration policies.” Everything, virtually everything, windbag Schumer has ever supported has turned out to have the opposite effect of what was promised. How about that 1986 “one time” amnesty that lying Chuck led the effort for in the House and he assured us was going to solve the problem of illegal crossings. All we got was the amnesty and none of the promised border security. It’s all garbage and he knows it, just more bs in place of actually doing something.

    As Democratic Senator Leahy is quoted above in 2015, “We’ve spent billions of dollars there over two decades. And we’ve seen conditions get worse in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.” And Chuck tells us that one of these times he’s going to be right. But his supporters will keep reelecting him because no matter how many times he lies they will keep reelecting him because they’re sheep.

  6. avatar

    After reading stories on some of the illegals from Guatemala and Honduras it is clear the problem is how to get the aid to the areas it is needed. Most assume like myself the government is misusing it or diverting it. The problem is often where it is needed. Maybe a Peace Corp type program where one or 2 could go into an area learn what is needed and have access to enough money for water wells, solar power, wind power, whatever is necessary. I really have no idea but maybe seeds for plants that would grow better in the soil type or show them how to fertilize properly. We may have a chance here to give graduating students a chance for travel, learning and to help others at the same time giving aid to these countries and making them able to help themselves.

    • avatar
      Mara Alexander on

      How about sending the citizens of these countries home? Hondurans and Salvadorans have had TPS in the US for almost 20 years. They’ve surely gotten educations, skills, and savings they could and should use to rebuild their own country.

  7. avatar
    Pamela keller on

    Why do we need all these illegals here? Just deport! We already have. To many in Texas! Give the other states there share of all these illegals!
    They are making this free country into a worse third world country.! I really dont want to live in a ****. Country with so many diseases in it! Get deportation fixed to send them back all illegals…..