Jason Chaffetz: Congress doubles down on incentivizing illegal immigration

Responding to rewards that incentivize illegal immigration, migrants have flowed into the United States at record rates. In each of the last three months, more than 100,000 migrants have been detained for illegally crossing our borders. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told senators this week that many are renting babies to cross the border.

Of the 144,000 apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) during the month of May, 11,507 were unaccompanied minors. And these were just the ones that were caught.

Congress is upset about tariffs but where is the outrage about human trafficking? These are more than statistics, they are children, but Congress seems unmoved.

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DHS estimates that just since September 2018, 1 percent of the entire populations of Honduras and Guatemala have migrated, many dragging vulnerable women and children with them. Rather than working to solve the problem as President Trump has been trying to do, Congress continues to ignore and incentivize more illegal immigration.

Congressional Democrats' latest solution, found in the House Appropriations draft funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, creates new incentives that only exacerbate the problem. The bill calls for:

“. . .Policy documents that define categories of vulnerable individuals who should not be so returned, including: (A) pregnant women; (B) individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; and (C) mentally or physically disabled individuals.”

So in addition to incentivizing migrants to bring children (not necessarily their own) on the dangerous trek, now Democrats also want to reward migrants to bring with them pregnant women or physically disabled people, not to mention the mentally disabled who are more likely to end up becoming part of our massive homeless population.

And there's that special carve out for anyone who claims to be LGBT. How exactly does the government document those claims? For those willing to lie about whose child they just dragged across the desert, no doubt lying about their sexual orientation or mental health status will be far less trouble.

These are not serious solutions. They make the problem worse. With border apprehensions up 99 percent over the same time last year, more and more vulnerable people are at risk. It’s time to get rid of the rewards and incentives, not offer more.

I respect that many are not fans of using tariffs as trade policy. In this case, tariffs provide the leverage Congress refuses to wield in this critical national security battle. Mexico must be part of the solution, but thus far they too have lacked the political will to deter this human trafficking. There should be a consequence and tariffs certainly get Mexico’s attention.

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Every Republican House and Senate member should back the president on this issue. Democrats leave us no choice but to wield tariffs, not as trade policy, but as leverage for national security and humanitarian purposes. Anyone who fails to do so, after failing to make the legislative changes necessary to prevent this tragedy, is complicit in the crimes and exploitation our policies incentivize.

Voters understand this problem. They want solutions. And they won't forget who took the problem seriously and offered solutions rather than incentives

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