The Border/amnesty negotiation and Republican’s ambivalence

It is Thursday December 14. Senate Republicans and the White House are reportedly negotiating a border/amnesty deal aiming to complete before the holiday break. The leading newspapers don’t mention House Republican involvement. It is not clear to me if House Republicans want a deal.

The crush at the border is due to one thing: the easy chance for migrants to game the amnesty system. I understand that immigration courts approve only about 30% of appeals. Even were the acceptance rate 10%, people will stay crowd at the border as they expect to get permission to stay in the U.S. for years before their case comes up.  To stay, to work (legally or illegally) for several years, with the prospect of abandoning your case and joining the unauthorized workforce; perhaps get lucky by a immigration reform bill granting permanent residency – for many these are attractive scenarios relative to their other options. This is of course not to deny there are many valid amnesty cases – the courts show that to be the case.

For the Republicans, passage of a law which severely cuts down on this gaming, for instance by requiring applicants to file in a third country, and to deny application rights to those who enter outside of the formal ports of entry – if such a law passed, traffic to the border will drop instantly and the immediate border crisis will evaporate. I do not believe that Congressional Republicans want this to happen – they do not want draconian measures to pass.

There’s a Kirk Douglas film called Ace in the Hole, in which a washed up newspaper reporter prolongs another person’s life threatening crisis, and sabotages rescue efforts,  because to end the crisis puts an end to his ploy.   The amnesty crisis in the Republican’s ace in the hole.

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