In December, House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi outlined her priorities on immigration, which naturally included amnesty for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and a pledge to “meet our responsibility to provide strong, smart border security that serves our country’s needs.”
Well, since regaining control of the House, Pelosi and the Democratic caucus have stood by as the crisis on the border has worsened with each passing day. In the current fiscal year, the number of Southern border apprehensions already have reached 676,315, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). That is a figure that exceeds the population of Atlanta.
In response to the escalating humanitarian and security crisis, Democrats not only aren’t providing anything resembling “strong, smart border security,” they are cutting critical resources to border agencies.
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security approved by voice vote a $63.8 billion funding measure that fails to provide funding for Border Patrol agents or checkpoints.
Democrats appear to believe that the border is best secured by giving $151 million to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) for the purpose of adding 1,846 new positions to monitor border entry ports, but not one additional cent to hire Border Patrol officers – the ones who actually man the border.
The chair of the subcommittee, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), characterized the funding bill as one which takes “a balanced approach to border security and immigration enforcement, including new efforts to protect the dignity and safety of every person in U.S. government custody.”
Balanced? No funds for officers to patrol the border, but $20 million to establish a new Office of Immigration Detention Ombudsman and bars funding transfers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Operations and Support for Enforcement and Removal Operations? Pouring salt into the wound, it also explicitly prevents ICE from transferring funds to increase detention capacity.
Not to mention that Democrats found time this week to pass the Dream and Promise Act, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will add $35 billion to the deficit.
Oh, and they also ignored their own set budget rules that require offsets to be identified if a measure will increase the deficit.
While Republicans were unable to prevent Democrats from pushing it towards a full committee vote, ranking member Kay Granger (R-Texas) did express her opposition to the bill, which she said fails to address the increasingly dire crisis at the border.
“We are facing a crisis at our southern border, and we have to put partisan politics aside and address it,” she said, stressing the need to ensure “all the tools at our disposal to address this crisis – we cannot hamstring the agencies on the frontlines by starving them of resources and not giving them the legal authorities they need.”
Granger also called for the immediate passage of a supplemental bill to address the border. That is separate from the $4.5 billion emergency spending request the White House made at the beginning of May – before more than 144,000 migrants were apprehended at the border.
Citing an unfolding “humanitarian and security crisis,” the White House asked for $3.3 billion for humanitarian assistance and $1.1 billion for border operations, and no money for a border barrier in an effort to gain Democrat support.
Over the last three months the average monthly apprehension figures have hovered well above 100,000. Democrats’ continued obstruction and denial of the humanitarian crisis is irresponsible, unconscionable and a threat to the migrants and the men and women tasked with their care.