Fencing Borders: A Tug of War Between Republicans and Democrats Over Immigration Bills

by Eli Mshomi
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Amid the rising Southern border crisis in the United States, the need to regulate the immigrants has also increased manifoldly.

As Democrats passed their immigration bill, named the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, from the House, the Republicans have also come up with a parallel bill proposing different policy measures than those of the Democrats.

The stark difference remains the border security, as Biden has already announced that the Mexico wall would not be built further during his administration.

On the other hand, Republicans are pushing hard to use the latest technology on the borders to safeguard national interests.

Republicans have even made border security with physical barriers a prerequisite of implementing other measures, which seems a political move from the men in red.

What are the stark differences between both the bills and which bill is likely to be passed from Congress? Let’s see.

 

Covering Up Southern Border: A Bone of Contention Between Both Parties in Immigration Bill

Fencing the US-Mexico border remains the bone of contention between the Republican congressmen and their Democratic counterparts.

On the one hand, Republicans have explicitly mentioned the need to fence the Mexico border with physical barriers and the inclusion of the latest technology in the process. On the other hand, Democrats have no mention of fencing the border in their passed legislation.

This is not a surprising approach from the Democrats as President Joe Biden was vocal about stopping border funding after coming to power. He once again reiterated his ambition not to fence the US-Mexico border any further.

So, the Democrats’ ambitions not to approve funding for the Mexico wall seems an explicit approach, and they are not going to compromise on this.

Republicans U-Turn on Dreamers

Republicans have also drifted away from their hardline approach on the Dreamers, who were subjected to discrimination by former President Donald Trump. 

As Trump wrapped-up the protection for Dreamers introduced by Barack Obama, the Supreme Court refrained Trump from doing so.

This time, Republicans seem to change their approach on Dreamers as they are demanding an immediate legal status for Dreamers. Similarly, in the Democrats’ introduced immigration bill, Democrats are also seeking to give these children legal status for ten years. 

Owing to the similarity of approach from both the parties, this provision is likely to be unchanged in the final bill.

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Prioritizing Border Security: Republicans Plan to Play Politics on Immigrants’ Rights

The contentious point in the Republican proposed Dignity Plan is the security of the border before anything else. Republicans are trying to fence the border as a priority, and according to them, no measure should be taken before completing border security.

While Republicans seem to agree with many of the Democrats’ provisions, including the protection for Dreamers and the undocumented agriculture workers, apparently, it seems that Republicans want to capitalize on the Democrats’ approach of not fencing the border.

It seems a tricky approach, as opposing the bill directly would have given the notion of ignorance toward immigrants.

So, instead of adapting not such popular measures of completely rejecting the bill, they have introduced unacceptable provisions in it.

By introducing the demand of using the latest possible technology on the Mexican border with complete fencing, they know Democrats will not accept their demands, which will delay the legislation.

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There is no doubt that Republicans’ plan seems to be ambitious with workable solutions, but their approach to making border-security a prerequisite makes the plan worthless.

As a matter of fact, if Biden agrees to Republicans’ demand of fencing the Mexico border with physical barriers, he would end up giving up on his campaign promises.

With this, there won’t be much difference between both the parties then. 

 

Final Thoughts

The Democrats proposed immigration bill will also increase the annual Green card number to almost 1.5 million from its current value of 1.1 million. 

Not only this, but the advanced degree holders and the first preference workers would also be incorporated into the plan on a priority basis. 

As the bill moves to the Senate, it is unlikely to be passed from the upper house in its entirety due to a 50-50 divide in Senate. So, at the end of the day, both parties have to make a compromise to find a workable solution.

However, considering the extreme approach of border security by both parties, it is unlikely that any party will drift away from their stance, making the passage of the bill even more difficult. 

 

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