It looks like the Senate will soon follow the House and vote to undo President Trump’s declaration of an emergency on the southern border, which is his effort to get wall and border-security funding that Democrats have refused to authorize.
In fact, the Democrats’ only answer to this crisis is to deny it exists.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) laid out the disaster at Wednesday’s hearing: Over the last five months, “We are witnessing an almost 55 percent increase in the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border over the same time period last year — an almost 340 percent increase in the number of family units apprehended from same time period last year.”
And the surge is “no coincidence,” he noted, but the result of “two legal loopholes in our immigration system”: the court order than says children can’t be detained more than 20 days, and a law that says that unaccompanied alien children (if not from Mexico or Canada) must be hosted by Health and Human Services, not sent back home.
“These laws incentivize smugglers to exploit migrants,” he warned. “They know our legal system . . . and they profit greatly” — to the tune of $2.5 billion last year, he said.
Meanwhile, at a House hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen detailed the horrible suffering of children dragged into these schemes: Because rape is so rampant along these journeys, US agents now have to do pregnancy testing of every girl age 10 and up.
“It’s because these are children,” she testified. “That is why it’s a crisis. It’s a terrible, horrific journey that they undertake.”
Barriers aren’t the entire solution, she noted — but they’re a vital part of it. That’s why the president declared an emergency when Congress refused his funding request.
For all the claims that Trump threatens the constitutional order, he’s simply exhausting all his legal options for action: The law lays out how he can declare an emergency, how Congress can vote to stop him — and how he can veto that measure.
And when the House or Senate fails to override that veto, he’ll get to go ahead — subject to court fights over the specific funds he redirects to address the emergency.
Bottom line: Congress is rushing to protect its turf— while failing to fix the laws that drive a humanitarian crisis. Or doing much of anything.
Can they get past their pigheadedness long enough to address the legal loopholes? Can they set aside partisan warring long enough to stop the rape of children?
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