Both Kelly and Hassan are soon facing reelection. Raphael Warnock, who is also up for reelection, is not among the legislation’s supporters but has stated his opposition to the Biden administration’s decision. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that his opposition has angered Latino and immigrant rights advocates who helped secure his Senate win in 2020. “Your statement is deeply concerning to us, considering our commitment to supporting policies that ensure the humane treatment of migrant communities,” groups said.
For Republicans to oppose any and all governance by the Biden administration is expected. But for any Democrat to join them in seeking to preserve, even just temporarily, a white supremacist policy that tries to void our U.S. asylum laws and obligations is deeply shameful, and pure cowardice in the name of political expediency. Community Change Action co-president Lorella Praeli tweeted that the Biden administration’s decision “just returns us to the February 2020 status quo. This should not be controversial.” To believe it is falls into Miller’s trap.
“For the GOP, the border is all politics, no solutions,” America’s Voice executive director Frank Sharry said on Thursday. “All Republicans have to offer are ugly attack ads, ‘open borders’ falsehoods, and the same cruel and chaotic policies that Trump and Stephen Miller advanced.” Pro-pandemic Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has already made it clear he intends to use the policy to derail further relief. Sharry said Democrats must stand up to him, not next to him. And if they believe the plan isn’t sufficient enough, “get in there and help make it stronger.” But for the love of God, don’t enable the GOP’s bad-faith efforts.
“Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time,” he continued. “We can have a secure border and a fair and functional asylum system. We can be humane and orderly. Let’s be who we are as a party and a nation, rather than emboldening a party that seeks to dehumanize immigrants and refugees to score political points.”
America’s Voice has previously noted how even as a border control measure (which both the previous administration and current one have claimed it never has been), the policy has been a failure. “Title 42 incentivized individuals to repeatedly try to cross the border to apply for asylum, and these recidivists drove the number of ‘encounters’ well beyond the actual number of individuals apprehended,” the group said.
Robert Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted a pushback clearly directed at his colleagues. “Reminder for anyone who needs to hear this: responsible stewardship of our border, and honoring our moral and legal obligations to treat immigrants and refugees with dignity, are not mutually exclusive. We can, and MUST, do both.”
Praeli added that “Democrats must not waiver or buckle to Republicans’ racist fear-mongering—they should reject any bill or amendment that blocks access to asylum at the border or otherwise prevents the administration from ending #Title42.” She added that “Democrats cannot allow the Republicans to define the terms of this debate. #Title42 represents the Trump-Miller vision for U.S. border policy.”
Asylum is legal immigration, despite Stephen Miller’s efforts to make us think otherwise. So will Democrats defend U.S. asylum law and vulnerable people, or side with a white supremacist twerp?
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