As immigration issues continue to be used as political footballs in this highly contentious election season, Republican Senators seem to be insisting upon introducing legislation that has no chance of becoming law but instead serves to show exactly how anti-immigration they are.
Just the most recent example of this trend occurred this week when Republican Senators Jeff Sessions (from Alabama) and Senator Ron Johnson (from Wisconsin) introduced legislation aimed at eliminating any avenues for unaccompanied minors to remain in the U.S., even in the face of extreme violence and danger in their home countries. Essentially, the senators’ bill would all but require all unaccompanied foreign national children who are from countries that do not have U.S. borders to be deported back to their home countries as soon as possible. Ironically, the bill is called the Protection of Children Act (PCA).
The Senators’ Statements on Their Bill
Senator Jeff Sessions is the current Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest. On February 23, 2016, he issued a statement in which he glossed over the true meat of his bill by saying that Americans deserve and want an open and welcoming immigration system, but the immigration system they have is fraught with manipulation and trickery. The Senator went on to blame America’s “open” immigration system for the recent influx in the amount of undocumented and unaccompanied foreign national children who have entered the U.S. at the southern border in order to escape persecution and violence in their home countries.
Rather than introducing legislation to help these minors, Senator Sessions has instead criticized them for, in his estimation, constituting an unsustainable strain on the southern states’ hospitals, schools, and social services agencies. He is of the opinion that if the PCA is passed, these children will stop trying to flee persecution in their home countries.
Senator Johnson added to Senator Sessions’ statements by stating that the PCA will merely work to eliminate a misguided albeit admittedly well-intentioned policy, which he claims incentivizes the children to make the dangerous journey in order to enter the United States.
Strangely enough, the two senators introduced their bill on the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee explained that less than four percent of unaccompanied foreign national children have been deported in the last two and a half years.
The PCA also has a House version that was already passed in the House Judiciary Committee. The House version was introduced by Texas Republican Representative Mr. John Carter. Importantly, the House version of the bill carves out an exception to immediate deportation for minors who were trafficked into the U.S. for prostitution or who have shown they have a valid claim for asylum.
The bill would also prohibit the use of taxpayer-funded immigration attorneys for undocumented foreign nationals and would require the collection and record-keeping of many types of personal information for people who agree to take in the minor children.
The Republican legislative efforts don’t seem to address the humanitarian crisis that is ongoing in Central America as much as it chooses to use the bill to criticize the current state of the U.S. immigration system. We are of the opinion that our elected officials would serve the U.S. public better by working on serious legislative efforts addressing important issues (like this one), rather than inventing opportunities to bloviate and pander to the most ignorant constituents in their district(s).
More Blog Posts
Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal on Controversial Alabama Immigration Law, May 8, 2013
Immigration Judges Request Separation from the Department of Justice, ImmigRantings, August 19, 2013
More States Expected to Exert Control Regarding Illegal Immigration Problems, ImmigRantings, August 3, 2013