President Donald Trump has long been asking Congress to pass a spending bill that will fund his border wall. Congress has one in the workings, but it does not look likely to pass.
However, based on all of the amendments and add-ons, Democrats should actually be the ones pushing for its approval.
While it’s easy to look at the $5 billion line item for President Trump’s border wall, if Democrats want to, they can focus on all the positive parts of the bill, the parts that fall right in line with what they consistently describe to be “common sense immigration reform.”
First, the bill includes a provision from Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., that expands the H-2A guest worker program and changes the jobs it covers from “seasonal” ones to year-round jobs. This would allow immigrants to find year-round employment and stay in it.
Secondly, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md. won the committee’s approval to add a provision that would increase the number of H-2B guest workers for non-agricultural jobs. This is a huge win for immigrants.
In perhaps the biggest reform the bill contains, Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan. was able to slide his legislation, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R. 392), into the funding bill. His amendment would end the practice of placing limits or quotas on countries from where people can come from, a practice that started in the 1920s amid mass immigration from Eastern Europe to the United States.
But it doesn’t end there.
The committee even approved a Democrat’s proposal: Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., inserted an amendment that would ensure those protected under former President Obama’s DACA program would not be removed or deported. In essence, this would make Obama’s executive order into law approved by Congress.
And finally, if passed, the bill would include a change in the way asylum is granted. The change falls most closely with the Democratic Party’s platform in that it goes explicitly against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ pitch that he would block asylum seekers who claim they are faced with threats of gang or spousal violence.
Passing this bill is a no-brainer for Democrats, whose policies are implemented in the compromises of the bill. There is no saying whether Republicans will go through in passing the bill, but it will be interesting to see how many Democratic House members will come out in support of the bill. Or, maybe more likely, they will focus on the one area they disagree with: the border wall.