Join Jim and Greg as they welcome more polling indicators of a good midterm election night for Republicans – including dismal numbers on the state of the nation and a huge shift towards the GOP among suburban women in just the past couple of months. They also applaud New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu for calling out “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd for living in a bubble after Todd was incredulous that election denial was not the top concern for voters this year. And they tee off on the suggestion in “The Atlantic” that we should just grant each other amnesty over our differences on COVID policy and just move on.
Join Jim and Greg as they serve up one good martini and two crazy ones. After sharing their reflections on 21 years since the 9/11 attacks, they welcome the news that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is shoving Russian forces way back – in some cases all the way back to Russia. But Jim warns of a dark possibility after this good news. They also unload on Vice President Kamala Harris telling Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that the border is secure because the administration wants it to be secure – and that any problems are due to the Trump administration. Finally, they slam the door on the ludicrous argument of Democrats and other lefties that the January 6th riots were comparable to the 9/11 attacks or even worse.
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Join Jim and Greg as they cheer the Senate parliamentarian for correctly ruling for the third time that amnesty cannot be part of a reconciliation bill. They also get a kick out of hearing that a number of House Democrats are furious at the man charged with leading their effort to keep the majority in 2022. And they shake their heads at a story showing how even traditional, private, and religious institutions are bowing to woke indoctrination.
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Join Jim and Greg as they marvel at the new hi-tech details surrounding Israel’s successful targeting of an Iranian nuclear scientist back in November. They also welcome the perfectly logical conclusion of the Senate parliamentarian that amnesty for illegal immigrants does not belong in a budget reconciliation bill. And they vent as the Pentagon actually admits its ISIS-K drone strike actually killed a bunch of innocent people but top officials somehow stand by the intelligence behind the strike.
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Byron York is in for Jim. Today, Greg and Byron are glad to see New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo losing some of his longtime donors. They also react to a Buzzfeed story about the FBI’s infiltrating militia groups in Michigan leading up to the kidnapping plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. But did the FBI only foil the plot or did it push militia members to pursue the idea in the first place? And they reveal how congressional Democrats are planning to pursue an amnesty policy through the massive spending bill they hope to pass this year.
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Join Jim and Greg as they marvel at some Democrats conveniently worrying about our massive debt just one day after passing a bloated COVID relief bill totaling $1.9 trillion and eyeing an even more expensive bill in a couple of months. They also discuss the sixth allegation of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and when state Democrats will move from muttering things about resignation to an actual impeachment effort. And they discuss the mess at the southern border thanks to Biden’s deportation moratorium and stated plans of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
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President Trump says he will sign the bipartisan budget bill providing almost $1.4 billion for border security but he will also declare a national emergency to give himself greater latitude for addressing the issue.
The legislation is expected to pass both chambers of Congress as very few lawmakers have a stomach for another government shutdown, but some of the president’s strongest allies are not happy with the contents of the bill.
“This certainly is not as acceptable as was advertised or previewed as recently as Tuesday. There are a number of concerning provisions,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Vaughan is fine with less money than Trump wanted. She is not OK with local governments having the power to prevent wall construction in their jurisdictions or providing legal protection to many smugglers because of language designed to shield those responsible for unaccompanied alien children at the border.
As for Trump’s emergency declaration, Vaughan expects a limited expansion of executive power.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Vaughan explain why Trump really has no choice but to sign the bill and what this deal means for the next round of the immigration debate.
The U.S. Senate rejected multiple attempts at immigration reform legislation, suggesting it is unlikely Congress can reach a deal this year that tightens up the nation’s immigration system and also clarifies the future for those holding legal status under the expiring DACA program.
President Trump announced last year that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program would expire in March 2018. DACA is the 2012 initiative taken by President Obama to grant legal status to people in the U.S. who were brought here illegally as children. Roughly 700,000 enrolled in DACA.
In announcing the end of DACA, President Trump made it clear he wanted Congress to address the issue through legislation and use the opportunity to make changes in immigration law such as ending the visa lottery and significantly reducing chain migration, by which family members can be sponsored by new citizens to come to the U.S.
Democrats want nothing to do with that approach, insisting only a “clean” DACA fix of simply granting legal status and a pathway to citizenship is acceptable.
In January, Democrats ended a brief government shutdown after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to allow debate on the issue in the weeks to come. That promise was kept last week, but no bill was able to get the 60 votes needed to end debate and proceed to a final vote.
There is little likelihood that stalemate will be broken anytime soon.
“It’s unclear what will happen now, probably not much,” said Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Only 39 senators voted for the bill most closely resembling President Trump’s wish list. He wants a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million people, which includes DACA recipients and those who qualify but never enrolled. Trump would also scrap the visa lottery and limit the chain migration policy to spouses and minor children.
He also wants $25 billion to secure the border and begin constructing major portions of a border wall.
The highly-touted “bipartisan” bill sponsored by Republicans Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., fell six votes short of the 60-vote threshold. It kept the 1.8 million number in place as well as $25 billion in border security.
However, Camarota says it fell far short in reforming the legal immigration system.
“It did not have any ending or phasing out of the chain migration categories. And it had other things, like how priorities on enforcement would move forward and it seemed it was going to make it more difficult to enforce the law in some other areas. So while the border might be more secure, the interior might be less secure,” said Camarota.
So why did the bill Camarota considers weaker than the Trump-backed measure get 15 more votes in a GOP-controlled Senate? Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says many in his party are now to the left of Barack Obama on immigration, at least compared to the parameters Obama imposed on DACA.
Camarota sees Cruz as hyperbolic in that comparison given that Obama wanted legal status and a pathway to citizenship for 10-11 million people in the U.S. illegally. But he says Cruz does bring up an important point.
“His basic insight is not ridiculous. If you’re the party of enforcement against amnesty, the president was agreeing to a pretty generous amnesty of 1.8 million.
“I think the reason he did that, and this is the way politics works and you have to decide what you think of it. He thought it was the only way he could get the things that he wanted, like the reform of the legal immigration system and the wall. The hope was that this trade-off would go through, but some of his own party and the Democrats didn’t want it,” said Camarota.
And what do the Democrats want?
“The Democrats are pretty unified that they want to keep immigration (numbers) as high as possible, letting the most number of people in and increase it. (They want) as expansive an amnesty as possible and tend to not want to spend more on enforcement. There are a lot of Republicans who tend to support that agenda,” said Camarota.
While the Center for Immigration Studies likes Trump’s efforts to limit chain migration, Camarota says the group has major misgivings about the president’s willingness to place the so-called Dreamers on a path to citizenship.
“One of the reasons you want to reform the chain migration system or give citizenship to DACA members is that pretty quickly it means they might be able to sponsor their parents, and the parents are the ones who brought them here.
“The whole idea of a DACA amnesty was that we’ll do this for people who aren’t to blame, but eventually it means amnesty for everyone who is to blame unless you end those categories. Don’t allow people to sponsor their parents to come in or don’t give citizenship to the DACA recipents,” said Camarota.
With just two weeks until DACA is rescinded, Camarota says the courts may end up having a critical say in how this debate plays out.
“Although the DACA program is ending so people will not be able to renew, more than one judge as ruled – crazy as it may sound – that although it was a discretionary policy and that’s how it was sold, that the administration can’t end the program,” said Camarota.
“If, which seems likely, the administration can overcome the ridiculous judicial activism that says they can’t end the program, then it would put more pressure on Democrats and then we might see some meaningful reform,” said Camarota.
Immigration policy conservatives are giving President Trump’s immigration reform blueprint a thumbs down after the plan moves to the left on two key issues, leaving activists fearing a more timid final bill and no end in sight to the dangerous flood of illegal immigration into the United States.
The Trump framework focuses on four key areas: spending $25 billion on border security including additional portions of a wall, extending legal status and a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who either enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or are eligible for it, limiting chain migration to only spouses and minor children, and ending the visa lottery.
The Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, sees two major problems with Trump’s more moderate approach: a sudden embrace of amnesty and a refusal to tighten the screws enough on chain migration.
CIS Research Fellow Andrew Arthur says Trump’s offer of a pathway to citizenship goes far beyond the DACA recipents and will ultimately include way more than 1.8 million.
“We’ve seen similar proposals in the past. There have been amnesties floated, amnesties passed. Inevitably, the number of people who end up being granted is higher than the number that was anticipated.
“Inevitably there is going to be a certain level of fraud in this process. Logically, you’re going to have to identify that you’ve been in the United States since a [certain time] and the documents you can offer are generally fairly vague,” said Arthur.
And by including illegal immigrants who are not part of the DACA program, Arthur says Trump is inviting a bureaucratic nightmare for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
“If it was simply the 690,000 DACA people, USCIS already knows who those people are and can do a one to one match. When you’re talking about an additional 1.1 million individuals, that’s going to require brand new files being opened, documents being reviewed, and the fact is USCIS just doesn’t have the bandwidth to do that work right now,” said Arthur.
Arthur is generally pleased with the movement to limit chain migration, keeping it to spouses and minor children, as opposed to current law which allows adult children, siblings, and parents. However, he says Trump is making a big mistake in how he wants to implement the plan.
“The problem is that the framework will also make these changes prospectively, not retroactively. It’s going to process through the four million people who are currently in that backlog, people who have had petitions filed on their behalf and who are awaiting a number in order to apply and go through the process of being vetted,” said Arthur.
“That’s a pretty big concern of ours because of course you’re going to end up potentially giving an additional four million people status,” said Arthur.
But while some conservatives are wary of Trump’s plan, most Democrats are greeting Trump’s policy retreat with full condemnation.
“Dreamers should not be held hostage to President Trump’s crusade to tear families apart and waste billions of American tax dollars on an ineffective wall,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who says Trump is reaching for a hardline immigration agenda on the backs of young people.
Arthur is not surprised.
“That’s just plain sanctimony. I could have anticipated what Dick Durbin was going to say and I could have written it myself,” he said.
Democrats and liberal immigration activists accuse Trump of clamping down on legal immigration because of his efforts to limit chain migration and kill the visa lottery. But Arthur says there’s a very good reason for imposing limitations.
“The proposals set forth in the framework are necessary changes that we need in order to ameliorate the problems that got us here to begin with. The fact is there are huge loopholes in the law that allow unaccompanied alien children to show up at a port of entry. They don’t even have to enter illegally.
“Once in the United States, United States government officials complete the work of the smugglers that brought them to the border to begin with and reunite them with family members or friends or other individuals in the United States who will take care of them. This is a huge problem and it’s a huge magnet that draws minors to the United States,” said Arthur.
Why is that a huge problem? Arthur says that magnet leaves kids vulnerable to unspeakable horrors at the hands of their smugglers so long as the parents of those kids think their children are virtually guaranteed a chance to live in the U.S.
“The people who engage in these activities don’t simply smuggle people for money. The fact is they rob, they rape, they hold people ransom for money. They do that with children as well. Turning off that magnet is an absolutely crucial element of any plan that’s going to grant any kind of amnesty to any population of DACA people,” said Arthur.
Arthur sees positives and negatives for the political path forward on immigration. He’s deeply concerned that Trump’s willingness to compromise at the outset will ultimately lead to a far worse bill.
“Inevitably, bills like this are a race to the bottom. If you say (you’re going to allow) 1.8 million people who got here on X date, why not people who got here on X date plus one year, or (if we accept) people who came here below the age of 16, why not people who got here below the age of 18,” said Arthur.
At the same time, he says some House conservatives are not happy with Trump’s plan and may be able to improve it.
“There are some individuals in the House who are vociferously opposed to any plan like this. You can anticipate that those individuals will attempt to pare back the amazingly generous proposal that the president has made,” said Arthur.
While he has serious problems with Trump’s concessions, Arthur says Democrats are foolish to demonize a major outreach on Trump’s part.
“Quite frankly, if the Democrats don’t take this deal and end up scuttling it, this is going to be on their heads,” said Arthur.
David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are amused by the media frothing over President Trump allegedly trying to have Special Counsel Robert Mueller fired seven months ago, while largely overlooking the fact that Mueller wasn’t fired. They also discuss President Trump’s major concessions on amnesty in his his immigration legislation framework – concessions that haven’t stopped his critics from accusing the president of being a white supremacist who is tearing apart families. And they throw up their hands as the majority leader in the California State Assembly proposes penalties of six months in jail or $1,000 fines for any waiter who gives a customer a plastic straw without being asked.