Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

By Federation for American Immigration Reform

December 23, 2022, Washington, D.C.

The 117th Congress finally wrapped up business by approving a lame-duck, pork-laden $1.7 trillion spending bill – consisting of more than 4,000 pages that not a single member had the time to read and fully analyze – funding the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Passage of the omnibus coincides with a full-blown crisis along our southern border that is about to get a whole lot worse, as the Biden administration is close to ending Title 42, the last remaining mechanism in place under which a limited number of border-crossers are being removed from the country. Yet, not only did the Democratic-led Congress reject an amendment to keep Title 42 in place, they expressly barred increased funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from being used to secure the border.

“The final spending package approved by a Congress on their way out the door leaves little doubt that chaos at the border is the policy of the Democratic Party today and that their goal is to create even more of it,” charged Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “Only a party that affirmatively wants open borders – regardless of the fiscal, security, and humanitarian costs – would let the one remaining policy that allows for the expedited removal of even some illegal migrants lapse, and deliberately tie the hands of our border enforcement agency.

(December 23, 2022, Washington, D.C.) — The 117th Congress finally wrapped up business by approving a lame-duck, pork-laden $1.7 trillion spending bill – consisting of more than 4,000 pages that not a single member had the time to read and fully analyze – funding the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Passage of the omnibus coincides with a full-blown crisis along our southern border that is about to get a whole lot worse, as the Biden administration is close to ending Title 42, the last remaining mechanism in place under which a limited number of border-crossers are being removed from the country. Yet, not only did the Democratic-led Congress reject an amendment to keep Title 42 in place, they expressly barred increased funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from being used to secure the border.

“The final spending package approved by a Congress on their way out the door leaves little doubt that chaos at the border is the policy of the Democratic Party today and that their goal is to create even more of it,” charged Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “Only a party that affirmatively wants open borders – regardless of the fiscal, security, and humanitarian costs – would let the one remaining policy that allows for the expedited removal of even some illegal migrants lapse, and deliberately tie the hands of our border enforcement agency.
“Let’s be clear, the president can restore operational control of the border simply by enforcing laws that are already on the books – many of which he voted for as a senator. Instead, he and his party continue deflect blame by claiming they inherited a broken system. The truth is they deliberately broke it themselves and are standing in the way of efforts to fix it.

“Rather than do anything to regain control of our borders, the omnibus is focused entirely on processing illegal aliens as quickly as possible and transporting them to already overwhelmed communities all across the United States. This massive spending bill effectively turns CBP into a federally administered travel agency for illegal aliens and saddles state and local governments with the costs of education, health care, housing and other basic needs for the endless flow of illegal aliens the Biden administration is waiving into the country,” concluded Stein.
Below is a summary of harmful immigration provisions included in the omnibus spending bill at the urging of Democrats, as well as proposals that were successfully defeated due in part to FAIR’s aggressively lobbying efforts.:

Harmful provisions of the omnibus:

– Provides $1.563 billion for CBP “border management” but does not allow using those funds to hire permanent border security officers, deport illegal aliens (only allows transportation to American communities), or expand border security technologies and capabilities unless it is for improving the processing of illegal aliens. This is not “border management,” it is $1.563 billion to essentially convert CBP into a federal travel agency for illegal aliens.

– Provides $800 million from CBP to FEMA to pay for “sheltering and other services” through grant programs awarded to open border aligned non-governmental organizations and charities. This broad appropriation could be viewed as enticing others to illegally enter the country and there is no prohibition against funds being distributed to organizations in the interior, meaning that illegal; aliens could be sheltered throughout the country under this section. 

– Prohibits the use of funds for border wall construction in certain areas.

– Allows the Office of Refugee Resettlement to accept private donations from politically motivated organizations for the care of unaccompanied alien children.

– Provides funds to both CBP and ICE to transport unaccompanied alien children, demonstrating that domestic transportation throughout the United States is a large part of CBP and ICE operations. This is a key enticement for parents to pay smugglers to take their children on the dangerous trek up to the southern border.

– Provides millions for a controversial case management pilot program to aid illegal aliens facing deportation – which is being overseen by a nonprofit that has previously called for the defunding and abolition of ICE.

– Provides $29 million for the Justice Department’s Legal Orientation Program, which empowers NGOs to coach large groups of detained aliens on immigration court proceedings. The effectiveness of this program is dubious as it does not provide actual legal counsel to aliens, the aliens who use this program are less likely to get an attorney and their matters take longer to resolve. Additionally, program participant organizations often blur the line between providing basic information about the process and providing legal advice. 

– Provides $25 million for the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, a program utilized by many of the same NGOs receiving federal grant money to process illegal aliens. This self-congratulatory grant program has been routinely awarded to organizations involved in active litigation against DHS and does nothing to enhance the administration of the immigration system. 

– Leaves it up to the DHS Inspector General’s discretion whether to allocate funds for partnerships between state and local law enforcement to assist in enforcing immigration laws. While seemingly an independent auditor, The DHS Office of Inspector General has been mired in reports of political bias. We have already witnessed the dangerous consequences of an administration unwilling to utilize the 287(g) program as the Obama era saw a plethora of cancelled agreements. Congress is essentially relinquishing control of a critical force multiplier for immigration enforcement. 
 
– Allows detention contracts to be rescinded based on arbitrary performance evaluations.
 
– Extends discretionary authority for DHS to issue more H-2B guest worker visas than the cap allows, which displaces American workers and drives down wages.

– Provides funds to eliminate processing backlogs and expedite adjudication of Afghan Special Immigrant Visa cases, as well as a cap increase of 4,000. Recent reports have exposed the lack of proper vetting for many of the Afghans in the program and the associated risks to public safety and national security. Any actions taken to expedite processing will detract from security checks and further vetting activities and increase the risks. 
 
– All budget increases directed towards immigration enforcement are below inflation. An unprecedented border crisis calls for funds at appropriate levels – the increases are simply insufficient. 

Among the damaging immigration proposals that were defeated or withdrawn during the lame duck:

– A mass amnesty proposal led by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in exchange for an extension of weakened Title 42 and other meaningless promises of future immigration enforcement.
 
– The Afghan Adjustment Act, which would have granted permanent residence to largely unvetted Afghans who were allowed to enter the country under President Biden’s abuse of parole authority. Most of the Afghans who arrived in the U.S. after the administration’s disastrous withdrawal in 2021 played no role in assisting U.S. forces.
 
– An agriculture bill containing both an amnesty for illegal aliens and an expanded guestworker program. The last farmworker amnesty, crafted in part by current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer when he was in the House, was the most fraud-ridden immigration program in American history.
 
– The Biden Administration’s attempt to slash ICE detention capacity by 30 percent.
The Sinema-Tester amendment to the omnibus, which sought to process and release illegal aliens into our country more efficiently.
 
– The EAGLE Act, which would have resulted in more than 90 percent of employment-based green cards being awarded to citizens of just two countries: China and India.
 
– The misleadingly named Veterans Service Recognition Act, which would have provided amnesty for illegal alien relatives of veterans and even allowed deported criminals to return the U.S.

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