- - Thursday, April 25, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In CNN’s marathon democratic presidential town hall this week, the network spent five hours discussing topics such as gun control, giving convicted terrorists voting rights, government takeovers of health care, higher education and implementing radical solutions to combat climate change.

Absent in the conversation? Policy solutions for the humanitarian and security crisis we’re facing on our southern border.

Last month, the number of apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexican border hit a 12-year high. Immigration courts have been overwhelmed with asylum claims, currently facing a backlog of more than 800,000 cases, with each one taking an average of 700 days to process.

President Barack Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has referred to the influx of immigrants across the southern border as a “crisis” several times in recent television appearances.

“By any measure, 4,000 arrests in a day, 100,000 in a month that’s the population of the city of Albany, N.Y., that suddenly shows up on our southern border in one month is a crisis,” Mr. Johnson said on Fox News in March. “It’s a crisis because it overwhelms our Border Patrol and our immigration officials’ ability to deal with it, and it’s a crisis because you have to absorb that population somehow into southern border towns.”



So, what are the Democratic presidential candidates’ policy proposals for this imminent crisis? What are their immigration plans?

Nothing, nada, zilch, zero.

But they do love criticizing President Donald J. Trump’s common-sense solutions like building a border wall and empowering law enforcement officials.

In an unhinged interview in January, Beto O’Rourke said the U.S. southern border is already fully secured and the wall has caused “the deaths of others.” Mr. O’Rourke told MSNBC he doesn’t support new fencing and would like to tear down the existing border wall that separates El Paso, Texas, from Mexico.

Not to be outdone, New York Sen. and Democratic hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand said she would potentially support tearing down parts of the border wall, and has apologized for her past immigration positions — which were against amnesty and sanctuary cities, and for accelerated deportations — by telling CBS News last year she “hadn’t really spent the time” to understand immigration issues.

Elizabeth Warren has called the border wall “a monument to hate,” and Kamala Harris, a “medieval vanity project.” Corey Booker said President Trump’s border policy is a “human rights violation.” Bernie Sanders admitted to Fox News this month there is a “serious problem” at the border, but said there are more “cost effective” solutions than a wall — he failed to specify what those were.

Democratic hopefuls have also taken aim at the federal agency tasked with detaining and deporting illegal immigrants, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). ICE helps eradicate violent transnational gangs, like MS-13. Yet, many of the Democratic candidates would like to see the agency abolished, including Sen. Warren.

Sen. Harris said last year that ICE needed to be “re-examined” and it may be necessary “to start from scratch,” but admitted she, “does not yet have a fully realized vision of what a revamped ICE would look like.” Neither does Sen. Sanders or Sen. Gillibrand other than the agency needs to be “restructured” and “reimagined,” respectively.

What are their positions on ending the visa lottery system, putting a stop to chain migration, limiting entry to the United States for individuals from countries with high rates of short-term visa overstays, revising the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) so that it doesn’t encourage human trafficking, and fixing the Flores decision, which holds hostage our nation’s ability to have more time to process asylum claims?

Nothing.

For Democratic hopefuls, there have been no solutions offered other than the generic platitude on the need for “comprehensive immigration reform.” An unserious response to a very serious problem we’re currently facing at the southern border.

• Kelly Sadler is the communications director of America First, the official super PAC for President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.

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