So now, if I'm Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, I use those three weeks I just got to put in the screws and finish the job. My plan would be to put the House GOP's utterly repugnant Securing America's Future Act to a vote and pass it. I put that legislation in the Senate and when the Dems say no, I say "Well, we put a DACA bill on the table and the Dems rejected it. All bets are off." Then I tinker around the edges of the SAF bill and include it in the CR and see how long the Dems last before they pass it. As a reminder of what SAF entails:
Republicans are essentially asking Democrats to trade the legalization of 700,000 unauthorized immigrants for the criminalization of all others, banning 2.6 million legal immigrants over the next decade, the elimination of almost all family sponsorship preference categories and the diversity visa lottery, deporting tens of thousands of asylum seekers, huge increases in border security spending, a massive new regulatory program that applies to every employee and employer in the country (“E-Verify”), and so much else. This bill has no chance of becoming law, but it is a remarkable illustration of how far apart the parties are on this issue.
That's where I see this fight going. I hope I'm wrong and the Dems smell this trap coming from a mile off and demand a clean DREAM Act bill up front...and the restoration of community health center funding.
Sure enough, the hardliners in the House are jumping on their "DACA deal" legislation right out of the gate.
As Senate moderates pushed their leader to make a commitment to have a bipartisan immigration vote, House conservatives on Tuesday were pushing their leadership to tack to the right on the issue.
The Republican Study Committee, an influential group of more than 150 Republicans, on Tuesday will announce it has voted to support an immigration bill from conservative hardliners and will push for a vote on the legislation, setting up a potential showdown between the House and Senate on the issue.
The nearly two-dozen-strong steering committee of the RSC voted to make the decision to back the bill, which also would extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, from committee and subcommittee chairmen Bob Goodlatte, Mike McCaul, Raul Labrador and Martha McSally, and warned against cutting a deal with Democrats behind conservatives' backs.
"The Securing America's Future Act is the framework to strengthen border security, increase interior enforcement and resolve the DACA situation," the steering committee said in a statement. "We believe an eventual stand alone floor vote is essential. We oppose any process for a DACA solution that favors a backroom deal with Democrats over regular order in the House."
The SFA bill is a massive disaster, but here's the biggest part:
The worst enforcement provision is criminalizing simply being in the United States without status or violating any aspect of civil immigration law (p. 170). This would turn millions of unauthorized immigrants into criminals overnight. It would also criminalize legal immigrants who fail to update their addresses, carry their green card with them at all times, or otherwise abide by the million inane regulations that Congress imposes on them. Take, for example, the status provided to Dreamers in this bill. It requires them to maintain an annual income of at least 125 percent of the poverty line (p. 396). If they fall below that level for 90 days—not only are they subject to deportation again—they would be criminals. This bill literally criminalizes poverty among Dreamers. This legislation would immediately undo much of the progress that the Feds have made on criminal justice reform and reducing its prison population.
This legislation is the preamble to mass deportations of millions, period. This is the GOP plan for a "deal" on Dreamers. They would get to stay, but by criminalizing millions of other undocumented in the country, it would become the rallying point for massive ICE roundups, detentions, and deportations. Again, I'm hoping the Dems see the trap, because they didn't on CHIP community health center funding.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department is escalating the war on sanctuary cities with a new round of legal action designed to intimidate elected officials with the threat of losing billions in federal dollars.
The Justice Department ramped up pressure Wednesday on so-called sanctuary cities seeking public safety grant money, warning state and local officials they could be legally forced to prove they are cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
Officials sent letters to roughly two dozen jurisdictions threatening to issue subpoenas if they don’t willingly relinquish documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody. The department has repeatedly threatened to deny millions of dollars in important grant money from communities that refuse to share such information with federal authorities, as part of the Trump administration’s promised crackdown on cities and states that refuse to help enforce U.S. immigration laws.
Many cities have been openly defiant in the face of the threats, with lawsuits pending in Chicago, Philadelphia and California over whether the administration has overstepped its authority by seeking to withhold grant money.
The 23 jurisdictions that received letters Wednesday include Chicago, New York, Denver, Los Angeles and the states of Illinois, Oregon and California. Officials said the places have been previously warned that they need to provide information about their policies to be eligible to receive grants that pay for everything from bulletproof vests to officer overtime.
It's an ugly tactic and one designed to divide the country, if not outright provide justification for arresting local lawmakers ahead of ICE roundups. That groundwork is being laid, and we're getting closer and closer to a national mass police action.