Immigration

President Trump said Friday that he is strongly considering placing illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities, taking reports that his administration had briefly considered such a move a step further.

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” the president tweeted.

“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

White House officials floated the idea of releasing detained immigrants onto the streets of sanctuary cities to target Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, a sanctuary city.

The proposal was met with resistance from a top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who cited budgetary and liability concerns, as well as “PR risks.”

Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser who favors limits on immigration, was involved in the proposal.

In a statement, the White House attempted to downplay the proposal, which was met with swift criticism from Democrats. “This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion,” the White House said.

Attorney General William Barr will issue new rules for courts that handle immigration cases, which could have a dramatic effect on the immigration system, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The Justice Department is set to change rules to help select appellate immigration judges declare their rulings binding on the whole immigration system, which could increase the number of individual judges making cursory decisions at the appellate level during a large-scale shakeup of the court.

“All of these pieces add up to taking away due process and speeding people through to their deportation in some sort of assembly line substitute for justice,” Jeffrey Chase, former immigration judge, told the newspaper.

“The policy change really is a reflection of showing how DOJ management can rewrite immigration laws and policies on a whim,” said Laura Lynch, senior policy counsel for the American Association of Immigration Lawyers. “Efforts to improve efficiency, they’re important. But they can’t be implemented at the expense of fundamental principles of due process and fairness in the court system.”

President Donald Trump and members of his administration frequently complain about the lack of efficiency in the immigration system, and Trump has argued that the entire system should be done away with.

“Congress has to … get rid of the whole asylum system because it doesn’t work,” Trump said earlier this month. “And frankly, we should get rid of judges. You can’t have a court case every time somebody steps their foot on our ground.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week they are both ready to sit down together to try to work out a long-elusive deal on immigration reform in response to a growing humanitarian crisis along the southern border.

Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking to reporters at the Democratic retreat in Leesburg, Va., said she is “pleased to see” news reports that McConnell, R-Ky., “is ready to talk about” about an immigration deal.

McConnell told reporters on Thursday it is “past time” to negotiate with Democrats on immigration and he is willing to talk to Pelosi about it “now.”

While lawmakers normally avoid taking up major policy initiatives when a presidential election is looming, they may have no choice.

A sudden surge in family units attempting to cross into the United States illegally has overwhelmed the nation’s border security system.

So far this year, 240,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended entering the United States, some at ports of entry, but mostly at points in between along the southwest border.

The increase accelerated after July 2015, when a federal judge ruled that illegal immigrant parents must be released with children soon after they are apprehended.

The court ruling attracted mass family migration from Central America as adults learned bringing children to the U.S. border would prevent them from being detained or immediately sent home.

Even Pelosi acknowledged Friday it has created “a humanitarian crisis.”

The GOP wants to change the nation’s asylum laws and rules governing the treatment of apprehended illegal immigrants in order to discourage the recent wave of mass migration from Central America.

Finding a bipartisan deal with Democrats, however, would likely require a comprehensive plan that addresses illegal immigrants already living in the United States.

While McConnell did not specify what should be included in a deal, Pelosi said “what we need to do is sit down and have comprehensive immigration reform.”

She added, “I’m glad Mitch McConnell has said he’s willing to do that.”

Democrats and Republicans have tried but failed to pass immigration reform legislation numerous times over the past 15 years.

Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, while Republicans have sought stronger border security provisions.

Pelosi said none of the current problems along the border can be fixed without tackling comprehensive immigration reform.

“I think the president is beginning to realize that has to happen,” Pelosi said.

A top House Democrat said Friday the White House’s reported plan to get back at Democrats by transporting all released asylum seekers into sanctuary cities is proof the Trump administration’s approach to immigration policy is political and not about national security.

“The fact that this idea was even considered — not once but twice — serves as a reminder that the Trump Administration’s reckless immigration agenda is not about keeping the country safe, but about partisan politics and wantonly inflicting cruelty,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said in a statement.

Thompson said the administration’s various immigration policy reforms “are all terrible.” The White House has introduced a travel ban of citizens from select countries primarily in the Middle East, and a “zero tolerance” initiative that led to families being separated at the border, and others.

“If the Administration wants to send a message to Democrats, let us send this message to the President: if your immigration policies are not fixing the problem but only cause chaos and focus on keeping people out, they will always fail. Playing politics with the country’s homeland security has been a mainstay of the Trump Administration since day one. The American people want it to end,” he said.

A Thursday report said White House officials asked officials at several federal agencies in November to look into turning over families who had illegally entered the country, and were seeking asylum, to be released in small and mid-size cities where local Democratic leaders had refused to cooperate with federal immigration agents.

“Sanctuary cities,” as they referred to, provide safety to immigrants who have committed additional crimes while in the U.S. by not honoring a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to detain a person for them after his legal proceedings for that crime have concluded.

The Trump administration has railed over the policy, saying it protects suspected and convicted criminals from being handed over to ICE in a safe environment and forces agents to go into the community to find wanted criminals.

[Opinion: Washington Post offers miserable fix to asylum problem]

It’s a dead giveaway.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would consider it punishment were her city saddled with more undocumented migrants while they await their court hearings.

The thrust of a Washington Post report on Friday, citing anonymous Department of Homeland Security “officials,” was that the White House had asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement about unloading illegal immigrants detained at the border in places proudly known as “sanctuary cities.”

Pelosi’s office said the suggestion exposed the administration’s “cynicism and cruelty” in “using human beings … as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants…”

The whole point of sanctuary cities, from the standpoint of their lawmakers, is that illegal immigrants need a safe place to evade deportation. Illegal entrants and asylum seekers, after all, are only here to pursue a better life for themselves and their families (and all the better if Democrats can load them up on welfare).

Why, then, would a city like San Francisco, which lies in Pelosi’s district, not leap at the chance to bring in more of their well-meaning friends?

Outside of providing more beds, free healthcare, and free child services, courtesy of the American taxpayer, Democrats in Congress have shown no interest in doing anything about the hundreds of thousands of migrants making their way to the U.S. from Central America.

Wouldn’t these well-meaning foreigners be best served in cities like New York, Boston, and Seattle, where local authorities refuse to comply with federal agents in deporting illegal aliens?

The Post’s story never really demonstrates that the intent of the White House was to “retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries,” as the article puts it. It cites unnamed sources who claim that was the purpose but, even though the story’s authors, Rachel Bade and Nick Miroff, said they reviewed “email messages,” the one email by a White House official in the report is completely innocuous.

“The idea has been raised by 1-2 principals that, if we are unable to build sufficient temporary housing, that caravan members be bussed to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” White House deputy policy coordinator May Davis said in an email dated Nov. 16, according to the report. “There is NOT a White House decision on this.”

That’s it. That’s the one supposedly damning email sent by someone from the White House included in the Post’s story.

Acting Deputy Director of ICE Matthew Albence replied to the email, suggesting that transporting aliens long distances from the border would be yet another strain on the agency and that there were liability concerns if anyone were hurt during the trip. In a statement to the Post, Albence denied that he was ever “pressured by anyone at the White House on the issue” and that he was merely “asked my opinion” and that his advice was heeded. A statement from the White House said effectively the same thing.

Yet, even if the proposal was crafted as a politically cynical move, it doesn’t explain why Democrats wouldn’t eagerly invite more illegals or undocumented asylum seekers into the districts and cities that are supposed to be the most welcoming. Pelosi had said herself Thursday, “Of course there’s room and there’s a need” for more immigrants showing up at the border.

Okay, but not in San Francisco!

President Trump’s choice to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matthew Albence, in the past talked down conditions for migrants critics say are inhumane.

Albence, as deputy director of ICE, said in a Capitol Hill hearing last summer that the agency’s detention centers were “more like summer camp.”

His appointment comes after a major shake-up at the Department of Homeland Security this week. The department head Kirstjen Nielsen resigned midweek. Her original designated successor, ICE acting Director Ron Vitiello, saw his nomination pulled when Trump said he wanted to go with someone who would be “tougher” on immigration.

Albence, in constrast, represents a more hard-line stance for the Trump administration, ordering in a memo written in 2017 that immigration officers should act against all undocumented immigrants — not just ones that had committed additional crimes.

“I think he is what the administration is looking for,” Claude Arnold, a former special agent at ICE, told BuzzFeed News.

The last time a Democrat won an open Senate seat in Arizona, he was helped along by a GOP candidate who never recovered from a campaign misstep in which he “shot a burro in the ass,” as the winning candidate’s campaign manager memorably put it recently. That candidate, Dennis DeConcini, was last elected in 1988. He retired after that term.

So how will liberal activists reward Kyrsten Sinema for becoming the first Democratic senator from Arizona since DeConcini? If Fight for the Future, a net neutrality pressure group, has its way, thanks will come in the form of a giant billboard “at one of the busiest intersections in Phoenix” calling Sinema “corrupt” and in the pocket of “corporate donors.” Her infraction is to be the only Democrat not to sign on to a net neutrality bill and instead to work with Republicans to craft a bipartisan bill that stands a chance of passing.

In this political climate, bipartisan cooperation is an unforgivable sin, and Sinema is repeatedly guilty of it.

Arizona has a new maverick.

Sinema, 42, has a compelling personal story that’s unique in one way: It informs her centrism, rather than serving as a platform for radicalism. By the time Sinema was 5, her middle-class Tuscon family was fracturing, her father mired in debt. He and her mother divorced, and Sinema was put into poverty. For a time, her Florida home was an old, remodeled gas station. “She’s a survivor,” former Democratic caucus Vice Chairman Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., said in 2015. “I think she’s smart about how she does it. I think a lot of people underestimate her.” The comment rings prophetic; in 2018, Crowley lost his own reelection bid against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the phenom freshman. In the same year, Sinema turned one of Arizona’s Senate seats blue for the first time in three decades.

[ Related: Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally have one thing they agree on: They hate each other]

During that winning campaign, she emphasized her credibility as a independent Democrat rather than a party hack. Asked by an Arizona radio station if she considered herself a “proud Democrat,” she responded: “Gosh, it’s hard to say proud. I don’t know that — I’m not sure that people are even proud of parties anymore, because I feel like the parties are not doing a good job. So I would say that I’m a proud Arizonan. That’s something I’m very proud of. And I’m proud of the work that I have done in Washington, D.C., and the work I’ve done in the state Senate and the statehouse before going to Congress. But I’m not particularly proud of the parties.”

Sinema was, according to the Arizona Republic, one of two members of the state’s Democratic House delegation who “sided with President Donald Trump’s agenda more in the past three months than most Republicans in the state’s House delegation.” But those three months weren’t much of an outlier for Sinema. In 2015, she opposed President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. She didn’t buy into the aggressive selling point that the only alternative to it was war. “I think it’s hyperbole and I think it’s not necessarily true,” Sinema told the Huffington Post. “It’s possible that if the deal didn’t go through, war could be one option and it could become more likely. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have options in front of us. I’m frustrated by these false dichotomies.”

Sinema also is a dissenter from left-wing orthodoxy on big banks. When, as senator-elect, she was given a spot on the Senate Banking Committee, the Washington Examiner wrote, “Sinema was long a friend of big banks in the House, and the committee appointment represents the return on a well-made investment. … During her Senate race against Republican Rep. Martha McSally, Sinema was in the top 20 of recipients of campaign contributions from both the banking and the finance sectors.Washington Examiner Commentary Editor Timothy P. Carney explained: “Sinema fought for the realtors and against Arizona’s taxpayers (disdain for whom she has repeatedly shown). Those efforts may explain why the realtors have spent $34,000 on ads supporting her Senate bid — the most they’ve spent on any Senate race this fall. In the House, one of Sinema’s core crusades was saving and expanding the Export-Import Bank. … Ex-Im is a corporate welfare agency that extends taxpayer-backed financing to foreign buyers of U.S. goods.”

[ Also read: Sinema forging paid leave plan deal with GOP]

And then there’s the issue that’s always a touchstone for Arizonans, immigration. In the House, Sinema had voted for legislation that would impose stiffer penalties on undocumented immigrants who reenter after being deported, as well as forcing immigrants who seek a healthcare tax credit to verify their status with the government first. Sinema took a harder line on asylum-seekers and, in October, backed Trump’s call to station more military personnel on the border with Mexico.

One advantage, according to Democratic campaign strategist Brad Todd, is that “she has been everything from a socialist anti-war protester to a vote against Nancy Pelosi, depending on what advanced her most in the moment.” Todd told the Washington Examiner that this worked especially well in 2018 because “Arizona’s Democratic talent bench was short and its base desperate for victory.”

Her Senate victory over McSally, who was later appointed to fill the seat of the original “maverick,” the late Republican Sen. John McCain, seemed only to reinforce her independent streak. In addition to her net neutrality sacrilege, Sinema is joining Republican colleagues to address paid family leave. According to Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who is leading the effort, Sinema was the first to cross the aisle on it, making it “the first bill that is bipartisan” on the issue. The plan, Cassidy told the Washington Examiner in early April, is likely to involve Social Security, perhaps allowing people to take benefits earlier to pay for family leave in return for delaying retirement.

Sinema signed on to an effort led by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to get the Commerce Department to release a classified report on auto tariffs and national security. She took heat from pro-abortion groups for supporting one of Trump’s judges, Arizona District Court nominee Michael Liburdi, in February. She was also one of only three Democrats to back the confirmation of Attorney General William Barr. She defended her vote in a statement: “As Arizona’s senior Senator, I will evaluate every presidential nominee based on whether he or she is professionally qualified, believes in the mission of his or her agency, and can be trusted to faithfully execute and uphold the law as it exists. After meeting with Mr. Barr and thoughtfully considering his nomination, I believe Mr. Barr meets this criteria.”

Perhaps most significant, however, was Sinema’s reaction to the controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Omar is one of the members of the “Squad,” most notably the freshman trio of Omar, Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ocasio-Cortez, who has turned her social media fame and grassroots devotion into an ability to set congressional Democrats’ priorities. An example is her climate boondoggle, the Green New Deal. It’s opposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but that didn’t stop Democratic presidential hopefuls from signing on to it. This tension really came to a head over Israel, however.

Omar has repeatedly accused American Jews of dual loyalty. On one occasion, she claimed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, was paying off politicians to put Israel’s welfare before America’s. Tlaib had made similar dual-loyalty insinuations. Ocasio-Cortez stood by her colleagues, and when Pelosi tried to pass a resolution criticizing Omar’s anti-Semitism, Ocasio-Cortez and the grassroots led a revolt and won. The resolution was broadened far beyond anti-Semitism, and the final version was aimed at white nationalists more than anyone else. In March, the pro-Israel lobbying group held its annual conference, and Omar pushed Democrats to avoid it.

What was Sinema’s reaction to all this? The day of Omar’s tweet about the group, Sinema was at its regional dinner. The next morning, she tweeted: “Our support for a secure Israel as a beacon of democracy must remain unwavering. Proud to speak at @AIPAC‘s Phoenix dinner last night about strengthening and deepening this alliance.” She also spoke at the group’s national conference on March 25.

With Democrats increasingly souring on the alliance with Israel, Sinema is determined to stand athwart history shouting “Stop.”

Is her maverick status sustainable, or will pressure to conform amid increasing polarization be too strong? “My guess is if she’s going to have a primary challenge,” Brad Bannon, president of the D.C.-based Bannon Communications Research, told the Washington Examiner, “it’ll be more likely she gets a primary challenge from a Latino, because of the demography of the state, more than an ideological challenge.” Bannon says, “Politics is very much a function of the state you represent.” And Sinema “represents a state that is about as closely divided, in partisan terms, as you can get.”

Perhaps being a maverick in the McCain mold is the way to survive in Arizona statewide politics. For Sinema, that required transcending her reputation for radical anti-war politicking in the early 2000s. She was up to the task. “Few blue state politicians have the range to pull off that transformation, or the electoral room to pull it off,” says Todd. More Democrats, Todd told the Washington Examiner, should be taking notes: “I have been surprised [Alabama Sen.] Doug Jones has not tried it. Or that [former Missouri Sen.] Claire McCaskill didn’t try it.”

Despite the heat Sinema is taking from her left flank, Bannon thinks Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other party floor leaders will happily shrug off left-wing complaints: “My guess is Chuck Schumer doesn’t care. He’s trying to assemble a Democratic Senate majority, and in order to do that, he’s going to accommodate Kyrsten Sinema and other Democrats like her who may be running for either open seats or GOP seats in 2020.” Party leaders understand reality, Bannon told the Washington Examiner, and “the reality is, you can have a caucus that is monolithically liberal or monolithically conservative, but you can’t have a monolithic caucus if you’re in the majority.”

For that reason, Bannon says, “they’re willing to accommodate mavericks like Kyrsten Sinema.”

Seth Mandel is executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine.

Manufacturing is becoming too successful for its own good. The sector is growing so fast that it cannot find enough people to fill open positions, and that shortage is threatening to hurt the nation’s economy in the coming years.

One key reason why the jobs are unfilled — 450,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from about 100,000 during the recession — is that many of them need people from STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Congress isn’t doing much to address the shortage. One thing that could fill the need, expanding high-tech immigration, is a no-go in the current climate.

“People tend to think manufacturing is blue-collar jobs, but you’re hiring rocket scientists and doctors and the like, too. That speaks to just how advanced manufacturing is now,” said Chad Moutray, economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, is putting its strongest effort toward expanding apprenticeship programs. That’s a good thing, the industry says. The mindset that college is the only path to a good career needs to be corrected, they argue, and the industry needs those workers. However, apprenticeships won’t address the STEM jobs shortage.

Nor is Congress doing much to expand the number of workers entering these fields. The few pieces of legislation relating to STEM that have been introduced involve trying to encourage groups such as minorities or veterans to participate.

“We have not seen legislation at this time which addresses this issue,” said Andrew Powaleny, spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, one of the industries that’s struggling to find workers.

Overall, manufacturing will need 4.6 million more workers over the next decade, Moutray estimated in a new report for the National Association of Manufacturers, but it will find just half of that based on current hiring trends. That will grind the manufacturing industry to a halt as companies are unable to expand due to the lack of workers, costing the broader economy $2.5 trillion over 10 years.

The study doesn’t address the wages being offered for the positions or whether higher pay would address the gap. A report last year by the group’s Manufacturing Institute argued that offering higher pay helped to attract talent but not retain it. STEM workers were often hired away by rivals.

“Manufacturing has moved up the skill ladder,” said Dan Griswold, senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “The typical manufacturing worker has to be more educated. The manufacturing jobs that have disappeared over the last few years tend to be the lower-tech ones.” There are U.S. workers that can do these jobs, and they are being hired, but there just aren’t enough of them, he added.

Manufacturing doesn’t necessarily mean hard goods. Moutray found that the industry with the largest number of openings was pharmaceuticals, which accounted for 13% of the manufacturing jobs that were left open in the past year. The next sector most lacking workers is aerospace products and parts.

The administration has tried to address these shortages. President Trump set up a Committee on STEM Education at the National Science and Technology Council, an executive advisory agency. On the other hand, the latest White House budget proposed cutting Education Department spending by $7 billion from last year and the National Science Foundation’s budget by $1 billion.

One way that the government could ensure manufacturing finds more of the people it needs without having to spend more money, Moutray noted, would be increasing the number of visas available through the H-1B program for immigrants with specialized skills.

The visas are in extremely high demand. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced in the first week of April that it had already given away all of the 65,000 visas allotted for the year. The visas help the U.S. maintain a competitive edge over other countries, said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas.

“If you’re coming here and getting an advanced degree, I don’t want you going to back to China, I don’t want you going to Canada, I want you staying here,” Hurd said. The congressman has not introduced legislation to expand the H-1B program, nor has anyone else in Congress. Bringing in foreign workers to take good-paying jobs is a tough thing to support.

That shouldn’t be a concern, argued Griswold, pointing to research that finds that every high-skilled immigrant hired results in five to seven workers added elsewhere in the industry.

The Trump administration has fiddled with the H-1B program but not to expand it. It altered the lottery process for the visas in January to favor immigrants with the highest levels of education and discourage bachelor’s degree-level education, a change that experts worried would result in fewer visas being given out. Ultimately, the allotted 65,000 were all awarded, the same number awarded each year for decades.

Both the White House and Republican lawmakers are looking for ways to narrowly change the nation’s immigration policy to stop a massive surge in illegal immigration along the southern border.

The GOP senator leading the charge is Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee. Johnson told the Washington Examiner he plans to introduce legislation “shortly” after lawmakers return from a two-week recess in April that would address the way immigration officials determine who can claim asylum to remain in the United States.

He hopes the measure can be bipartisan and believes, based on comments from the Democrats on his committee, that both parties will be on board.

“I was very encouraged by a number of Democrats walking by me, on the dais, just basically saying lets get to work on this, we have to fix this,” Johnson said.

Johnson held a hearing last week to examine the latest surge of illegal immigration along the southwest border. At the hearing, Johnson displayed a chart he’s been distributing around the Capitol lately as he tries to draw attention to the ways in which illegal immigration surges are tied to the nation’s immigration policy.

So far this year, Johnson’s chart points out, 240,000 migrants have been apprehended, some at ports of entry but most at points in between along the southwest border.

[Related: US expands program returning asylum seekers to Mexico]

Much of the increase, the chart notes, accelerated after July 2015, when a federal judge ruled that illegal immigrant parents must be released with children soon after they are apprehended.

The court ruling attracted mass family migration from Central America as adults learned bringing children to the U.S. border would prevent them from being detained or immediately sent home.

The White House is moving along a parallel track in seeking ways to make changes that would discourage mass migration. The Trump administration is planning changes that don’t require congressional approval, which, despite Sen. Johnson’s optimism, could prove to be difficult to obtain in the House where Democrats are in charge.

Trump kicked off the effort to reform the Department of Homeland Security by ousting Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Her departure was soon followed by the resignation of other top DHS officials. The purge has caused bipartisan alarm on Capitol Hill.

According to a senior administration official, the Homeland Security Department will be directed to employ a higher threshold for allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the United States under the “credible fear” standard. Up to 90% of Central American migrants are allowed to remain in the United States initially after making such a claim to agents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

[Also read: Facts not fear: Here’s what DOJ stats say about asylum seekers and court dates]

Only 10-15% of those making such claims are ultimately determined to qualify for asylum when their cases are more thoroughly reviewed by asylum officers. More than 90% of those initially let go under the “credible fear” claim end up staying in the country illegally.

“Individuals conducting the exam are part of the problem,” the senior administration official said. “One of the biggest frustrations is that USCIS hasn’t changed its culture from the Obama years. The reflexive tendency is to believe stories even if they don’t stand up to fact.”

The Trump administration is also seeking new regulations that would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold families and children for much longer than 20 days in order to provide time for a more thorough review of asylum claims.

Johnson said he is working with the Senate Judiciary Committee to craft legislation that would alter the nation’s asylum policies and the law governing how long illegal immigrant families can be detained.

“Right now, when 85% of asylum claims are denied, there is something wrong with that initial determination,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he’s not in favor of changing the current standard for granting asylum in the United States, “but change the bar for that initial determination.”

Johnson has the backing of Senate Republican leaders, who have criticized Trump for his recent purge at Homeland Security but have long agreed with him that the surge in illegal immigration along the border is rooted in bad policy and has to be fixed.

“We desperately need some immigration legislation,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said last week on Fox News “Special Report.” “The president’s entirely correct about the crisis at the border and the fact that our immigration laws do not allow us to deal with the crisis at the border.”

The White House floated an idea with immigration officials in recent months that would have involved arresting illegal immigrants at the southern border and then busing them to sanctuary cities to send a political message to Democrats.

The Washington Post reported Thursday the proposal began in a White House email last November. The idea was raised again in February as another migrant caravan was heading to the United States.

San Francisco, a high-profile sanctuary city and which is represented by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was among the areas targeted in the proposal.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement ultimately shot down the idea.

The White House said the proposal was designed to both send a political message to opponents of how President Donald Trump is handling immigration and also to free up space in jails near the border.

In a statement to the Post, the White House said, “This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.”

Pelosi’s office was furious.

“The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” spokesperson Ashley Etienne told the Post. “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”

Sanctuary cities are jurisdictions that do not enforce federal immigration laws and do not help ICE officials or agents. The Trump administration has threatened to withhold federal funding to cities and states that do not comply with ICE directives.

It was reported this week, meanwhile, White House officials are pushing a plan to have Border Patrol agents question asylum seekers to see if the migrants are truly in need of a safe haven.

Source: NewsMax Politics


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