The BREATHE Act Eviscerates Immigration Enforcement

The BREATHE Act, a bill that would completely decimate immigration enforcement in the U.S., was drafted in partnership with the Black Lives Matter movement and is clearly an open-borders roadmap.  The bill is being introduced by Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)

Unsurprisingly, one of the top priorities of the BREATHE Act is to eliminate the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to close immigration detention centers, which they claim have “criminalized black and brown communities.”  Apparently Democrats believe that in order to eliminate what they claim is systemic racism in America, we must eliminate immigration enforcement. The legislation further caters to concealing illegal and criminal aliens in our communities by eliminating the use of electronic monitoring, including ankle monitors and smartphone applications to track an individual’s location. This bill clearly puts out the welcome mat for illegal aliens from every nation to come to the United States.

Despite ICE’s reliance on state and local law enforcement officers, the BREATHE Act would incentivize the end to state and local cooperation with ICE and abolish state gang databases. ICE has just over 20,000 employees, only half of whom are dedicated to the apprehension and removal of illegal aliens.  The cooperation of the more than 800,000 state and local law enforcement officers, many who work in a supporting role with ICE, are vital to ferreting out those among us who are here illegally and who wish to cause us harm.

Moreover, the BREATHE Act encourages state and local governments to shield criminal aliens by fostering “non-punitive, community-led approaches to public safety.”  The BREATHE Act would give states and/or local jurisdictions a “50 percent federal match for projected savings” when they close their detention facilities and jails. 

This action would be a huge blow to law enforcement efforts because the purpose of incarcerating a person is twofold: First, it punishes the individual for their wrongdoing. Second, it dissuades others in the community from acting in a similar vein. A non-punitive approach would likely result in a higher crime rate.

Second, it also sends a clear message that shielding criminal aliens from enforcement is a higher priority than protecting the lives of American citizens and law-abiding legal immigrants. This is especially true since 50 percent of criminals will re-offend in the first year and that number jumps to 75 percent within five years, according to Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan, now a Senior Fellow at the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI).  Criminal aliens should not be able to continue to live in communities and engage in further criminal activity. Even one victim of illegal alien crime is too much.

In addition to its focus on so-called “criminal justice” issues, the BREATHE Act seeks to establish “equitable communities for all people.” It allocates taxpayer monies to providing lifetime education to illegal aliens. Already, the United States spends roughly $40 billion to educate illegal aliens according to a report issued by FAIR. 

Additionally, there is funding for job programs for the “most economically disadvantaged,” which includes criminal and illegal aliens.  Ironically, spending taxpayer monies in this vein flies in the face of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4) makes individuals seeking admission to the United States or applying for green card ineligible if they are likely to become a “public charge.” However, the rule of law doesn’t seem to apply when society is being transformed.

Finally, the BREATHE Act calls for greater voting access.  It calls on states to pass laws that allow illegal aliens to vote in state and local elections.  Not only does it diminish the value of voting but it is a slap in the face to American and naturalized citizens.

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) called the BREATHE Act a serious effort “to compete in the Woke Olympics. I would give it 9.7….The only way I know how to improve their bill is with the shredder.”

With the House already passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the Senate failing to muster the 60 votes required to bring it to the floor, it is unlikely the BREATHE Act will pass Congress during this election year.

About Author


Shari Rendall brings to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) over 15 years of experience in government relations and grassroots advocacy. In her former position, Shari led the legislation department in coordinating lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and briefing congressional and administration staff on a wide range of issues. She has also been responsible for grassroots communications and helping state associations devise their legislative strategies. She began her time in D.C. working on Capitol Hill in the office of former Sen. Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire) as a Legislative Aide.

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