"Drain the swamp," we were told. Well.
The full text of the so-called "compromise deal" — which takes the form of an 1,169-page, massive omnibus spending bill — has been released by the ad hoc congressional committee tasked with avoiding a second government shutdown in as many months.
And...it's a doozy.
Congressional leaders are already pushing for an immediate vote, less than 24 hours after the release of the bill's precise contents. Indeed, minutes ago, the Senate passed the bill by a 83-16 margin; it now heads to the House. Without either a long-term funding bill or short-term continuing resolution signed by tomorrow night at midnight, the federal government will enter into a shutdown for the second time in as many months.
President Trump is poised to sign this bill. He has consistently tested the waters this week by indicating his inclination toward signing it, and the basic truth is that there is approximately zero interest right now by the leaders of either party for another shutdown standoff. And Trump knows, notwithstanding the fact this amnesty capitulation reveals the shallowness of this White House's alleged commitment to enacting its immigration priorities, that he will be able to fire off a few tweets blaming Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and thereby keep his base mostly in line.
Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) now says that Trump will sign the deal at the same time he declares a national emergency.
McConnell has also indicated that he will support the national emergency declaration.
To be fair to the White House, declaring a national emergency — which, like John Eastman of the Claremont Institute and John Yoo of Berkeley Law and the American Enterprise Institute, I do believe Trump has the legal authority to do — opens up numerous other statutory vehicles for wall funding. Even outside an emergency declaration, the President can also simultaneously invoke authority, pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 284, to build already-authorized fencing in order to combat the transnational cartels' drug trafficking.
But under no circumstances should Trump sign this bill. He should immediately state that he will veto the bill and push for a two-week continuing resolution during which he can pound the airwaves from the Oval Office and then visit hundreds of local towns across the country to make the comprehensive case that the current border crisis is best described as a full-on invasion for which every town in America suffers as a de facto border town.
This bill is, frankly, a disaster. And, holding aside the noxious optics — which Trump himself, merely a year ago, had pleged to never engage in again — of signing yet another last-minute, massive omnibus boondoggle, the substance of the bill is so bad that it is not even remotely obvious how a concomitant declaration of a national emergency might sufficiently negate it. In fact, it almost assuredly could never counter this bill's bad provisions.
Two provisions, in particular, stand out.
If we had a Republican Party truly committed to securing our sovereignty and ending the ceaseless amnesty magnets fomented by the open-borders zealots and ruthlessly taken advantage of by the murderous cartels, then Section 224(a) of the bill would single-handedly be a dealbreaker. Here is the text of Section 224(a) (emphasis added):
None of the funds provided by this Act or any other Act, or provided from any accounts in the Treasury of the United States derived by the collection of fees available to the components funded by this Act, may be used by the Secretary of Homeland Security to place in detention, remove, refer for a decision whether to initiate removal proceedings, or initiate removal proceedings against a sponsor, potential sponsor, or member of a household of a sponsor or potential sponsor of an unaccompanied alien child ( as defined in section 462 (g) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 279(g))) based on information shared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
As Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies stated in her above tweet, this amounts to a "de facto sanctuary" for anyone remotely near an "unaccompanied alien child." The ramifications of this provision are simply extraordinary. Unaccompanied alien children are already trafficked and exploited by the cartels to take advantage of our insane "credible fear" aslyum loophole regime. Furthermore, according to Vaughan, "ICE has estimated that 30-40 percent of the MS-13 members it has arrested in the last two years arrived as [unaccompanied alien children]." Remarkably, every "sponsor" or "potential sponsor" (emphasis added) of an unaccompanied alien child is shielded from being "place[d] in detention" or "remove[d]." This is insanity. Why are Republicans and this White House shilling for mass amnesty for MS-13 thugs? Why are we incentivizing the mass importation of MS-13 barbarians by the cartels?
But it gets worse. Unbelievably, the bill also provides largely Left-leaning local public officials in Texas's Rio Grande Valley with unilateral vetoes over the meager amounts of wall funding that the bill even authorizes. Section 232(a) of this bill states that "prior to use of any funds made available by this Act for the construction of physical barriers," the Department of Homeland Security "shall confer and seek to reach mutual agreement regarding the design and alignment of physical barriers within that city." The bill then specifies that it is "local elected officials" with whom the Department of Homeland Security must consult. Crucially, the bill actually only authorizes fencing for the Customs and Border Protection-designated Rio Grande Valley sector. But the Texas border counties in the Rio Grande Valley sector are generally heavily Democrat-leaning; as Daniel Horowitz laments, "These are the most liberal counties on the border (thanks to demographics of open borders itself!), and there is practically no local official who supports the wall in these counties."
This is truly an awful bill. Trump really should veto it, get Congress to pass a two-week continuing resolution, and go back to the drawing board.
Alas, it seems like the President will sign onto the bill. Immigration hawks can only hope that the President's use of the national emergency declaration sufficiently countermands the effects of this bilious congressional "compromise." But it sure seems like Republicans are cutting off their collective nose to spite their face.