Yes, Bipartisanship Exists in Washington
(As Both Parties Agree to Spend Money to Make the Border Crisis Worse)
By Ira Mehlman | June 19, 2019
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the Senate Appropriations Committee, by a 30-1 vote, approved a $4.59 billion emergency funding bill in response to the emergency at our southern border.
There’s just one catch. The $4.59 billion only addresses the symptoms of the border emergency. Both parties agreed to ignore President Trump’s plea for even modest funding to address a few of the causes of the border crisis: a lack of adequate manpower and additional detention space to house migrants who continue to pour across the border, exploiting loopholes in our asylum laws.
Under Senate rules, an Appropriations bill cannot be a vehicle for legislating changes to our asylum laws, or for authorizing longer detention of families with children until their asylum cases can be considered, or allowing unaccompanied minors to be returned to their homelands. But it can be a vehicle for funding more border security personnel and infrastructure, or expanding detention capacity for migrants who can be detained for longer periods of time.
The $4.59 billion will be spent on feeding, housing, providing medical care for migrants, and for processing them and releasing them into the country as quickly as possible. As long as we’re doing next to nothing to deter people from abusing our laws, we’re going to have to foot the bill for their basic needs.
But if all we are doing is upgrading the care of migrants and getting them into the country faster, the $4.59 billion will quickly be exhausted. The promise of better temporary accommodations and quicker release will mean an even greater number of people showing up at the border, and not just from Central America.
Without the supplemental appropriations for border enforcement and detention the president requested, not to mention addressing the loopholes in our laws that allow migrants to abuse our asylum policies and use kids as get out of jail free cards, the Senate action amounts to nothing more than a $4.59 billion exercise in futility – at the taxpayers’ expense, of course.