WASHINGTON, D.C. – Illegal immigration detention policies that had been in place for years got a spike in attention this week as Democrat blasted President Donald Trump for enforcing laws that result in separating some children from their parents when detained for crossing the border illegally.
Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen of Homeland Security told reporters, simply, that the administration was merely enforcing the law which has been in place for years and that congress needed to act to address family separation issues.
Now congress is acting. Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) will introduce a bill Tuesday to reform the way minors are handled when the cross the border illegally with their parents.
“Mr. Meadows, North Carolina Republican, explained on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” that the bill would be “more narrow” than the two larger immigration bills that President Trump is discussing with members of Congress Tuesday afternoon.
The 77-page legislation would only deal with the separation of children and parents and “some” of the questions regarding asylum.
The congressman said that while both larger reform bills address family separation, this could be a solution in case those do not pass.
“It takes out some of the more controversial issues like sanctuary cities, the wall, DACA, and it keeps it very narrow,” Mr. Meadows said.”
Here there is a specific issue that needs legislative attention, and Meadows appropriately filed a bill directed at that special issue. Too often the legislative process is full of bloated omnibus efforts that through everything and the kitchen sink into one bill. Up or down votes on individual items is exactly how problems should be approached.
Further, the responsiveness of congress on this issue to the president’s call for legislative intervention is a positive sign in general. The executive should not be criticized for enforcing the law, especially by Democrats that said nothing as former Democratic President Barack Obama enforced similar policies.
The alternative to enforcing the law is to simply release the illegal immigrants into the interior of the country and hope they show up to a court date 60 days down the road (not likely). This is what the Left would rather have happen.
Despite the calls for compassion though – a softer approach is certainly warranted in some cases – the fact remains that children are often being used as shields for adults that are not there parents, as shields for parents with criminal records, or merely sent alone.
The emotional appeal should not brush over these facts, and Meadows’ bill is a targeted approach to solving a legal issue.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has also filed legislation in the U.S. Senate that would simplify and speed up detention and processing via a doubling of federal immigration judges, keep families together while being processed, and then immediately deport those families that do not qualify for asylum.
While these bills would fix the problems that have received media spotlights this week, the Left is unlikely to offer support to anything that maintains a hard line on illegal immigration, despite their claims of caring.