Who is paying Congress to keep the border open? Americans are right to ask that question because repeatedly, and with enormous majorities, they tell pollsters they want to put a stop to mass illegal immigration into the United States. Yet the so-called “bipartisan” Senate immigration bill demonstrates the enthusiasm and determination of the leadership of both parties to continue with the status quo.
The bill rolled out by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would codify the Biden administration’s de facto policy of welcoming as many illegal immigrants as possible. (Read here for an exceptionally reader-friendly analysis with screenshots of the actual text.) The bill sets the threshold for illegal immigrants at 4,000 per day, not counting unaccompanied minors, and, in effect, normalizes the current pace of illegal immigration. Biden calls the bill a “solution” to the border problem, which tells you much about what he thinks the problem is. The bill doesn’t complete the wall or enforce the “remain in Mexico” policy. Instead, this bill constitutes open defiance of voter sentiment.
In between elections, we know elected politicians respond to donor sentiment. So, who are the donors who support this legislation, and why do they want it?
There are clues in this bill. Most people understand that legislation, particularly when a bill is long and complicated, is drafted by lobbyists. That much seems obvious with this bill as we watch both McConnell and bill sponsor, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), back away from it, showing neither understood its contents before letting it go public. It, therefore, stands to reason that the Senate had outside help from paid lobbyists who wanted the status quo to continue indefinitely.
Under U.S. and international law, a political refugee seeking asylum cannot simply hop from country to country until he reaches the destination with the most generous social welfare programs. Refugees are supposed to have a plausible claim of fleeing oppression to reach safety and to land in the most logical place for their safety can be secured. By that standard, only refugees from Mexico have a plausible claim that America is their logical destination. We’ve never heard McConnell give a passionate speech encouraging immigration to America from all corners of the world. But clearly, someone wanted it enough to fund the drafting of this monstrosity of a bill.
While the press refers to the Senate bill as “bipartisan,” it’s not a compromise in which the views of a majority of Americans played any part. Instead, the two “sides” of the debate were the Ukraine war hawks and the open borders advocates. Of course, the open borders people never had a problem giving billions of your money to Ukraine, and the Ukraine war caucus never had a problem leaving the southern border open. No wonder these two “sides” easily forged a “compromise.”
When tobacco companies fought against regulation of cigarettes, we all understood where that money was coming from and the purpose for which it was being spent. When TikTok escaped last year’s push in Congress to regulate it, we likewise understood China was behind that operation. It’s a big problem that we don’t know who holds the checkbook that funded this massive lobbying and public relations initiative.
Of course, we understand the usual reasons for wanting lax border enforcement. For the Washington Uniparty, it provides a host of benefits. It drives down the cost of nannies, cab drivers, gardeners, farm labor, and many other services that pamper our elites. The neocons look to new arrivals and see millions of new soldiers who can fight in their favorite foreign wars. Universities see a chance to prop up their sagging enrollments and rebalance the economy in ways that relieve the glut of college graduates. Some Democrats have been vocal in saying that they see new immigrants as a way to permanently marginalize their political opposition.
But the dynamics of the border crisis have also resulted in some unexpected results. While the casual observer might have anticipated hyphenated Americans (African-Americans, Latin-Americans, etc.) would offer political support for immigration, that’s no longer a safe bet. In Democratic strongholds like New York City and Chicago, hyphenated Americans find their community centers and schools have been repurposed to “temporarily” house this flood of migrants. Suddenly, beggars with children shiver pathetically on every street corner. Rumors of extravagant federal benefits for the immigrants enrage poor Americans of every demographic. Moreover, this wave of immigration disrupts the hard-won political power of inner-city machines.
The push to keep the onslaught of immigrants coming continues even as it may be undermining Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. He pathetically railed against Republicans for blocking a “solution” to the border crisis. Now that Americans have seen the bill, however, we can understand Washington’s real priorities. Their “solution” very clearly shows that the only “problem” they see is a lack of a legal framework permitting even more of this immigration. Indeed, they consider keeping this flow of immigrants coming so important that the Biden administration has repeatedly gone to court to block any attempt to slow the tide.
Moreover, this administration willingly risks a constitutional confrontation with states over the border in states like Texas. Biden officials halted construction of Trump’s wall and discarded stockpiled materials that were purchased with taxpayer money to build additional length. Yet the administration has implausibly claimed impotence without the benefit of this new immigration bill. Biden’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas even faced a failed impeachment attempt due to his inaction on the border. But nobody in the Biden administration defends the policy. So why are they doing it?
In theory, the will of the electorate should overpower the narrow interests of our elite. In reality, it is clear our D.C. elite are more interested in what their benefactors want. It’s important to ask again, therefore: Who is paying Congress to keep the border open? When we unmask these donors, we may answer many more questions about how power really works in America.