President Joe Biden has been taking a political beating over his immigration policy, so the Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it plans to expel many of the 12,000 Haitian migrants currently camped under and around a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.
"The Biden administration has been faced with some really bad optics down there at the border, and maybe this is an attempt on their part to demonstrate that they have some resolve to do enforcement," offers Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
He also points out that these individuals are not refugees from Haiti.
"For the most part, these are people who have gotten out of Haiti quite some time ago have been living in South America or Central America for years and just want better economic opportunities here in the United States," Mehlman explains. "So whatever claims they might make about feeling endangered in Haiti simply aren't valid because they haven't been in Haiti in quite some time."
And while this may be a step in the right direction, Mehlman says the Biden administration has a long way to go when it comes to improving enforcement optics.
"The apprehension numbers are still over 200,000 a month. People are coming en masse, and for the most part, they're getting in. So this just might be an opportunity to kind of change the picture a little bit, but it really hasn't made a substantive dent in the flow of migration that's coming because of the Biden administration's policies," the FAIR spokesman submits.
He is also pleased that Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has refused to allow the Democrats to stuff amnesty into its massive $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.
The official advisor to the United States Senate on the interpretation of standing rules of the United States Senate and parliamentary procedure ruled this week that lawmakers cannot include a pathway to citizenship in a budget reconciliation package. Such a provision, she said, falls outside the scope of what is allowed in a reconciliation bill. It cannot be filibustered, and only the support of a simple majority in the Senate is required.
"The Senate does have rules," Mehlman notes. "They've been in place for a long time, and there are a couple of things here: The budget reconciliation provision allows for legislation that funds the government to go through with a simple majority, so that funding for the government cannot be held up per the lack of 60 votes."
The FAIR spokesman adds that changes to immigration policy must be made on their own merit. In the senate, any amendment to legislation has to be relevant to the basic core of the bill. And since amnesty for illegal aliens has nothing to do with budget reconciliation, MacDonough could have thrown the provision out on that basis.
"The Democrats know very well that they're not going to get the 60 votes necessary to bring any kind of amnesty bill to the floor, so they took their shot," says Mehlman. "We suspect that they are going to keep trying in other ways to see if they can put it past her."
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is already pushing the Senate and the Biden administration to "ignore" the Senate parliamentarian. Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said is he "deeply disappointed" by MacDonough's decision and assures that "Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days."
So Mehlman urges MacDonough to maintain her resolve. "She did the right thing, and she needs to stick to that," he says.