Damaging Bill Is a Bait-and-Switch on Immigration

AILA President Anastasia Tonello noted, “Given the importance of border security and the unnecessary strain the shutdown is putting on the United States, we were hopeful an actual good faith proposal to reach a compromise on immigration and border security would be put forward. Unfortunately, what we got is a non-starter. In his speech on Saturday, the President promised to provide humanitarian solutions. This bill provides the opposite. It all but eliminates asylum for children from Central America, and instead of offering meaningful protections for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS)-holders, this bill provides fragile protections for a narrow segment of these groups – protections that have been repeatedly criticized and withheld by the administration. This bill is not a credible offer and it does nothing to help end the government shutdown.”

Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director stated,Never has the adage ‘the devil is in the details’ held so true. In this case, the details lock out TPS-holders from Africa and other countries, and immediately gut existing protections for Central American minors while promising a limited opportunity for in-country processing that would take a minimum of 8 months to stand up. Of course, it also includes the needless and wasteful wall funding, more detention beds, and the additional border patrol and ICE agents that was anticipated. This is a terrible bill. We renew our call to the President and lawmakers to immediately reopen the government and begin good faith negotiations on immigration.”

Key Provisions:

  • The bill would re-write the law to functionally end TPS by requiring future TPS applicants to be lawfully present in the U.S. This excludes people who are undocumented and comprise the majority of TPS recipients.
  • The proposed protections for Dreamers and TPS holders cover only a fraction of those populations, and include new restrictions that would reduce the number of people currently protected from deportation.
  • The bill shuts down access to asylum for all minors from Central America. The only remaining option for this population is a sham program requiring them to apply for asylum outside the U.S. Until this program is set up, which will take 240 days (8 months), Central American minors not already in the U.S will be completely excluded from any asylum access.
  • Instead of offering humanitarian protection for asylum seekers, the bill will fund more private prisons at the border that will be used to incarcerate asylum seekers.
  • The bill excludes necessary measures to prevent the administration from interfering with the immigration court system, tactics that have delayed court proceedings and added to the 800,000-case backlog.

Source: AILA Infonet