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DHS secretary signals amnesty could be used to address border crisis

Dec 01, 2023

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As 2023 comes to a close, Republicans are asking Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to answer for the crisis at the U.S. southern border, which continued to grow worse throughout the year. Bloomberg News recently pressed Mayorkas on that issue, and asked the secretary for a solution to the influx of undocumented immigrants.

Mayorkas hinted that a mass amnesty might be necessary. President Reagan granted such an amnesty in 1986. Now, almost four decades later, President Biden might need to do so again.

Secretary Mayorkas and multiple U.S. agencies estimate that there are roughly 12,000,000 undocumented immigrants living in the United States, although that number is contested, and it is impossible to know an exact figure. The mass amnesty that Reagan offered in 1986 covered around one-fourth that number.

President Biden had promised new pathways to citizenship during the previous election campaign cycle, but the bill that he sent to Congress in order to fulfill that promise has been stuck there ever since. It’s possible that a new election cycle might re-energize that effort.

House Republicans are blasting the Biden administration for spending so much money on the border crisis — costs which they estimate are at $451 billion per year — while the crisis still continues to become more severe over time. Other right-wing sources, however, calculate the total costs of illegal immigration at $150 billion, just one-third of the number used by the Republican-dominated Committee on Homeland Security.

In either case, as the crisis persists, these expenses only continue to increase. In comparison, Biden’s student loan forgiveness program would cost only $30 billion per year over a 10-year period, and the annual budget of the entire state of California is roughly $310 billion.

The House Committee on Homeland Security’s Nov. 13 report states that border towns and communities along the U.S.-Mexico border are having their emergency resources depleted, and that they face mounting shortages in housing, public school system capacity, and other government services.

Donald Trump made immigration a key talking point in his 2016 campaign. With his decisive lead in the GOP candidate field and the continuing crisis on the border, immigration is likely to become a major topic of debate once again, with Trump and Biden offering two different visions of how to address this crisis.

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[Karah Rucker]

AS THE YEAR NEARS ITS END, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS IS BEING ASKED ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION CRISIS AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER THAT WORSENED IN 2023.

MAYORKAS WAS PRESSED ON THE ISSUE BY A BLOOMBERG NEWS ANCHOR THIS WEEK.

WHEN ASKED ABOUT A SOLUTION TO THE INFLUX OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS IN THE COUNTRY, THE BIDEN OFFICIAL HINTS TOWARD MASS AMNESTY.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN OVERSAW SUCH A MOVE IN 1986, AND THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO SEE IT HAPPEN AGAIN.   

 

[ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS | DHS SECRETARY]

The answer is quite clear and quite straightforward, and we’ve been waiting for it for about 30 years. And that is to fix a system that everyone agrees is fundamentally broken. And we need congressional action, both for the lawful pathways, that really need to be more robust in statute, and for the 12 million people who are here in the United States who have been contributing so fundamentally to our country’s well-being.”

 

[Karah Rucker]

THE 12 MILLION UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS MAYORKAS REFERS TO IS A NUMBER THAT’S LONG BEEN DEBATED. IT’S HARD TO KNOW EXACTLY HOW MANY THERE ARE, GIVEN THEY ARE UNDOCUMENTED.

SEVERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES PUT THE NUMBER AROUND 12 MILLION, WHICH WOULD BE FOUR TIMES THE NUMBER OF IMMIGRANTS GRANTED LEGAL RESIDENCE UNDER THE AMNESTY ORDER FROM 37 YEARS AGO.

 

[ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS | DHS SECRETARY]

“THEY’RE OUR NEIGHBORS, OUR FRIENDS, OUR FELLOW CONGREGANTS, THEY PROVIDE OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING. AND I AM HOPEFUL AND REMAIN HOPEFUL THAT CONGRESS WILL DO IT.”

 

[Karah Rucker]

AS ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEAR APPROACHES, PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN PREVIOUSLY PROMISED ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL A PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP FOR MIGRANTS.

ON BIDEN’S FIRST DAY IN OFFICE, A PROPOSAL WAS SENT TO CONGRESS – THAT’S WHERE THE BILL HAS SAT SINCE.

BUT IT COULD RESURFACE IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION CYCLE.

MEANWHILE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE –

HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE BLASTING THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION, CITING A REPORT DETAILING THE FINANCIAL BURDEN OF THE MIGRANTS POURING ACROSS THE BORDER.

AN INVESTIGATION BY THE “HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY” ESTIMATES THE BORDER CRISIS UNDER THIS ADMINISTRATION COSTS AMERICAN TAXPAYERS UP TO 451 BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR.

FOR COMPARISON –

CALIFORNIA’S ANNUAL BUDGET IS 300 BILLION DOLLARS.

BIDEN’S STUDENT DEBT RELIEF PROGRAM WAS GOING TO COST 300 BILLION DOLLARS OVER 10 YEARS.

AND BY THIS ESTIMATE – MONEY SPENT EVERY YEAR ON UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS IN THE COUNTRY IS MORE THAN THE NET WORTH OF ELON MUSK AND JEFF BEZOS COMBINED.

THE HOUSE REPORT CITES TWO STUDIES CALCULATING THE “FISCAL BURDEN OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION,” CLAIMING THE COST OF MEDICAL CARE, EDUCATION, HOUSING, WELFARE, AND OTHER SECTORS PROVIDING GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE TO MIGRANTS IS CAUSING THE TAB TO SOAR – AND ITS NOT SLOWING DOWN.

 

[Committee on Homeland Security November 13 Report]

“Communities across this country, from the smallest border town to our largest city, are dealing with depleted emergency resources, public housing crises, overwhelmed public-school systems, damaged or destroyed property, and overwhelming law enforcement costs — burdens these hardworking taxpayers were never prepared for, and should not be forced to pay.”

 

[Karah Rucker]

IN 2016, DONALD TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN LARGELY FOCUSED ON IMMIGRATION REFORM. AND WITH THE FORMER PRESIDENT RUNNING AGAIN AND LEADING IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY, WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE BORDER WILL LIKELY BE A FOCAL POINT ONCE AGAIN IN HIS CAMPAIGN, THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFERING STARKLY DIFFERENT SOLUTIONS TO AN ISSUE VOTERS ARE CLOSELY WATCHING.

 

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