House Democrats Vote to Close CBP Sites and Increase Illegal Immigration Incentives
By Heather Ham-Warren | July 2019
While the title is certainly stirring, it would be more appropriate for this FAIR-opposed legislation to have been titled “the CBP Facility Closures Act” because that would reflect the true result of the legislation. H.R. 3239, would impose burdensome — and likely unattainable — requirements on both the medical and facility operations of every single CBP site throughout the country. In fact, the requirements would actually exceed those offered at government-run health care facilities that serve American citizens; and would be applicable to all CBP sites regardless of migrant traffic, location, or geographic isolation.
Clearly this legislation is intended to minimize the number of CBP sites in existence and force the agency to release even more people into the interior of the United States. Without a doubt, this decision to further exacerbate catch-and-release loopholes would only inflame the current crisis by encouraging an even greater number of migrant surges.
Furthermore, H.R. 3239 would expand the long-standing definition of a “family unit” from parents or legal guardians to any adult relative. This change will further aggravate the exploitation of Central American children, as bad actors look to abuse loopholes cemented by the Flores settlement agreement, which ensures that minors (and by extension their guardians) are not detained for interminable periods of time. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already uncovered an influx of individuals fraudulently posing as a legal guardian to use a child as their ticket into the interior of the United States. Broadening that definition will only lead to an increase of child exploitation, trafficking, and even recycling.
In a last minute effort to amend the bill, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) offered language in the form of a Motion to Recommit, which would commend U.S. Border Patrol agents for their work during the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Surprisingly, 41 House Democrats broke rank with party leadership to vote in favor of the amendment, ensuring its inclusion.
Prior to final passage of the underlying bill the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy opposing the legislation stating that the president would veto the bill in its current form.
The Senate is not expected to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.