Just as the migrant caravan has exposed the glaring need for a secure border barrier and effective immigration enforcement, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), a key component of the new Democratic House majority, is demanding deep cuts to immigration enforcement.
With Republicans still in control as Congress tries to finalize the FY 2019 budget for the Department of Homeland Security before December 7, CHC leaders are urging that the $5 billion committed to initial construction of a border wall be stripped from the budget. “Five billion dollars is a waste of taxpayer funding to build an unnecessary and operationally ineffective wall on our southern border,” wrote outgoing CHC Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).
The CHC is also committed to across-the-board cuts to the immigration enforcement budget. “We cannot allow for additional funding that would enable the Administration to further increase its indiscriminate enforcement of immigration law,” CHC members wrote to current House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
While the CHC is attempting to flex its muscle, the positions they are advocating are far out of step with the voters who turned control of the House to the Democrats. According to 2018 exit polling, voters who favored “stronger border and immigration enforcement” outnumbered opponents of those positions by a 47 percent to 31 percent margin. Specifically on the matter of the border wall a solid majority, 57 percent, support construction, compared with just 31 percent who are opposed.
Dan Stein is the president of the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.