Republicans may have scrap their plans to vote on a strict anti-immigration bill due to lack of internal party support, with Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) acknowledging the fool’s errand saying “it’ll never have any chance in the Senate,” and calling the legislation “tone deaf.”
Those who’ve spent the past two years gaslighting Americans about an “open border” are now finding out the hard way that passing legislation requires compromise.
“This conversation is tone deaf,” Rep. Mace told The Washington Post. “We are rushing through this process without hearing all sides of the argument.”
The House Resolution – termed the Border Safety and Security Act of 2023 – directs the Department of Homeland Security to suspend the entry of asylum seekers at U.S. ports of entry.
The proposed legislation gives the Secretary of DHS the authority to “determine, in his discretion, that the suspension of the entry of covered aliens at an international land or maritime border of the United States is necessary in order to achieve operational control over such border,” the resolution states.
Republicans’ refusal to work with House Democrats on a passable bill could is an exercise in futility, according to Mace who believes immigration reform will be impossible without working across the aisle.
Mace declared that the only way forward on immigration is to negotiate with the Democratic-controlled Senate on a bigger package.
“It will never pass the Senate if we’re only talking about border security because the left has certain needs that they want met and the right has certain needs that they need,” The South Carolina Republican said.
Immigration reform has been a campaign issue for decades – with Republicans doing a 180 degree spin since the days of former President Ronald Reagan.
Conservatives had long been champions of migrants coming to the U.S. for a better life, but that has changed in recent years. The GOP has traveled a long way from the days of Elian Gonzalez when Republicans sponsored a bill to grant citizenship to the six year old.
Gonzalez’s mother died when the raft she and her son were on fleeing Cuba capsized at sea.
This set off a fierce debate between Republicans and the Clinton Administration over whether to return the boy to his father who remained on the communist ruled island.
Mace – who beat her Trump-backed primary opponent Katie Arrington in 2022 – warned her colleagues against ignoring the complicated issue of immigration by focusing solely on “securing” the border.
The pending resolution fails to address the reliance many states have on migrant labor – including the congresswoman’s home state of South Carolina.
Rep. Mace said her district would benefit from allowing migrants to legally work in the country.
Former DHS attorney Tom Jawetz is under no illusions as to the purpose of the bill. He says that it’s designed to put a definitive end to asylum in the United States for refugees.
“It’s very clear the goal of the bill is to end asylum indefinitely, by setting up conditions the government could never possibly meet,” Jawetz told The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent.
According to the former Homeland Security lawyer, the resolution would effectively cut off asylum seekers from even having their cases heard.
Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) have co-sponsored another bill that would give legal status to the 2 million dreamers brought to the U.S. as children by their parents, another crucial immigration issue that Congress
While Mace is the rare Republican who seems willing to look realistically at the immigration issue as one that requires compromises from both sides, her GOP colleagues in the Freedom Caucus are all immigration hardliners.
This makes the prospect of passing any immigration bill in this session of Congress as unlikely as the ability to stop the wave of refugees trying to escape violence, poverty, and the turmoil caused by climate change would be or as the necessity to hire immigrants to fill the labor needs of American businesses.
Original reporting by Greg Sargent at The Washington Post.
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