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Will The Lame Duck Produce A Lame Immigration Bill?

Conservatives have never gone wrong overestimating Paul Ryan’s perfidy, especially on amnesty for illegal aliens, importing more foreign competition for hard-pressed American workers and other schemes to open our borders.

Nor is it possible to overestimate the establishment Republican distaste for President Trump and his campaign Laura Ingraham lame duckpromise to build a “big beautiful wall” on our southern border.

Which is why our friend Rachel Bovard, senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, has concluded that there are three ways the lame duck could go sideways on immigration.

And as she detailed in a recent column for American Greatness, if GOP leaders are already willing to waste critical weeks in the waning days of their majority, what else are they pondering?

Ms. Bovard is of the same mind we are on the effect of the decision to all-but adjourn Congress in reverence for the late President George H.W. Bush, namely that push members of Congress further against the yearend deadline for passing legislation is an invitation to mischief.

And the three forms of establishment Republican mischief she sees brewing are:

Pretending to fund Trump’s wall while not actually doing it.

Trading away important immigration policies for a fake wall.

Punting the decision to Nancy Pelosi’s House.

We hate to be pessimistic, but each of the alternatives Ms. Bovard identified are, to our way of thinking, more likely to happen than passage of unrestricted border wall funding.

As Ms. Bovard pointed out in her column, the March omnibus specifically prohibited money from being spent on the border wall prototypes that President Trump requested last year. If any money is allotted for a border wall in this next funding bill, it must not be limited solely to planning or pedestrian fencing.

Congress already head-faked on Trump’s wall in March, when they allotted $1.6 billion for 39 miles of “pedestrian fencing,” “planning,” and “border security technology.” While these may be components of a border wall system, they are not, in fact, construction of the “physically imposing” barrier that the Trump administration has requested.

Speaker Ryan has also made his preferences clear on other immigration “reforms” and they are all the kind of Chamber of Commerce – Business Roundtable wage depressing immigration floods that the President’s MAGA coalition opposes.

A case in point cited by Ms. Bovard is Trump’s plan to return the citizenship question to the census forms.

The Left has lost its collective mind over the Trump Administration seeking to return a question about citizenship to the census. I say “return” because, despite the Left’s claims that a census question on citizenship is empirical proof of Trump’s inherent racism, questions about citizenship have appeared in some form or another on census throughout our history. Before President Obama removed the question in 2010, a question about citizenship had appeared in every census from 1890 to 1950, and was included in every long-form census questionnaire from 1970 to 2000.

The Republican leadership is reportedly willing to remove the Trump Administration’s citizenship question from the 2020 census in exchange for limited funding for the border wall.

That this is necessary information to gather is self-evident, says Ms. Bovard, and we agree. Everything from being able to identify the various documented and undocumented populations to help apportion resources effectively—from public schools, to food stamps, to Medicare and Medicaid, all of our entitlement programs are funded based on population criteria. So, too, is accurate congressional representation.

If the GOP establishment preemptively caves on the census question it would be a twofer for Democrats: Not only would they stymie an important effort to reestablish a commonsense policy, they would continue to benefit from counting illegal aliens who are attracted to their sanctuary cities and other Leftist strongholds, syphoning benefits away from American citizens and taxpayers.

However, as bad as the two failures outlined above might be, they pale in comparison to the mischief that would be done if Republicans punt funding for the Department of Homeland Security—the agency in charge of border security – to next year’s Nancy Pelosi-led Democratic Congress.

Pelosi has already said she considers the border wall to be “immoral” and there is nothing on the table that she would trade for the border wall. When one recalls the previous negotiations over finding a (we think unnecessary) solution to the problem created by Obama’s DACA executive amnesty for illegal aliens it is clear Mrs. Pelosi meant what she said – unlike Speaker Ryan and the rest of his establishment Republican leadership team.

Punting the funding issues to the new Pelosi-led Congress would undermine everything Republican leaders promised Trump, and their own base, that they would do, observed Ms. Bovard. Not only have Republicans spent eight years running on promises to strengthen border security, repeal Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, and reform the legal immigration system, but they’ve been promising Trump a fight on his border wall for months.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already washed his hands of any responsibility for getting the Wall funded, saying it’s up to Trump “to do a deal with the Democrats,” and telling reporters in Louisville, “I think that’s the path to getting a signature and avoiding a government shutdown.”

The Census citizenship question and of course the border wall are all in jeopardy in the year-end government-by-crisis game that Ryan and McConnell are playing, and using the funeral of the late President to make their machinations more believable is a new low in their cynical manipulation of the congressional appropriations process.

We urge CHQ readers and friends to contact their Senators and Representatives today to tell them not to waste the Lame Duck. This is the last opportunity Republicans have to fund the Wall before radical Far-Left Democrats takeover the House and impose gridlock on President Trump’s conservative agenda. The toll-free Capitol Switchboard is (1-866-220-0044) call TODAY.

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