The McConnell-Trump “Compromise” Is Dead On Arrival

Summary Prepared by Vice Chairman Leahy’s Senate Appropriations Committee Staff

President Trump and Leader McConnell have held the government of the American people and hundreds of thousands of public servants and their families hostage for 34 days, demanding American taxpayers fund the President’s ineffective wall and advance his extreme, anti-immigrant policies.  The President cannot bargain with what he broke, and Republicans cannot make a deal among themselves and call it a “compromise.”

The Wall:  The bill would provide $5.7 billion for President Trump’s border wall.  The proposal is the latest in a string of arbitrary and ever increasing demands from the President to fund an ineffective border wall that most experts agree would do little to address the real problems on our Southern border.

The Detention and Deportation Force:  The bill would provide $8.5 billion dollars for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), $1.3 billion more than the bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee bill.    The funding would drastically increase detention capacity to 52,000 per day (11,480 more than the bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee bill) and add 2,000 new ICE deportation officers.   The Trump administration has repeatedly proven it does not prioritize its immigration enforcement resources.  In the first 14 months of the administration, ICE arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions spiked by 203 percent compared to the final 14 months of the Obama administration.

Extreme Immigration Policy:  The bill would dramatically alter the legal immigration system to throw unnecessary roadblocks in front of families fleeing violence and seeking legal asylum, including arbitrary caps on grants of asylum for minors from Central America and effectively barring asylum applications made by minors from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador that are not made from Designated Processing Centers in Central America. 

Puerto Rico:  The bill callously strips all disaster funding from Puerto Rico while recovery efforts are still underway following the loss of an estimated 2,975 lives from two category 5 hurricanes.  Absent supplemental assistance, it is also estimated that 140,000 Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, will lose nutrition assistance at the end of March. 

DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS):  The bill would only provide three years of temporary protection to 700,000 individuals currently enrolled in DACA and do nothing for the nearly one million more individuals who are eligible for DACA protections.  It would also only provide three years of protection for nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua who previously received TPS status.  Both of these programs were unilaterally terminated by President Trump.  Providing permanent funding for a wall and permanent changes to the legal immigration system in exchange for provisions that temporarily clean up messes of the Trump administration’s own making is not a compromise; it’s taking hostages on top of hostages.    

Shattering the Bipartisan Budget Agreement:  The bill shatters the discretionary spending caps agreed to under the bipartisan budget agreement by $5.6 billion to meet President Trump’s arbitrary and changing demands for a border wall he repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for.


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