Democrats’ proposed legislation to prohibit so-called border separations would actually prevent federal law enforcement agencies almost anywhere inside the United States from arresting and detaining criminals who are parents having nothing to do with unlawfully crossing the border and seeking asylum.
Every Senate Democrat has now signed on to cosponsor a bill written so carelessly that it does not distinguish between illegal alien children at the border and U.S. citizen children already within the United States.
The bill further does not distinguish between federal officers handling the border crisis and federal law enforcement pursuing the ordinary course of their duties.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed “Keep Families Together Act” provides that “[a]n agent or officer of a designated agency shall be prohibited from removing a child from his or her parent or legal guardian at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border of the United States,” with three major exceptions.
First, “designated agency” here is defined as the entirety of the federal departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services. The scope of the bill is not limited to those portions of these departments involved with the border crisis, and there is no other limiting factor in the bill that would cabin the prohibition on family separation to immigration-related matters. In other words, this bill is going to regulate conduct across a great many federal offices that have nothing to do with separating children from families arriving unlawfully in the United States.
Second, “agent or officer” is not defined by the legislation, except to say that it includes contractors. Federal law, however, already defines “officer” to include (with exceptions not relevant here) every federal employee appointed to the civil service by the head of an executive agency and ultimately overseen by the head of an executive agency.
Here again, this bill is not limited to controlling the behavior of the DHS, DOJ, or HHS officers involved in the border crisis. The proposed law would apply with equal force to, say, FBI agents (part of DOJ), Secret Service agents (part of DHS), and Centers for Disease Control officers (part of HHS) in the exercise of their everyday duties.
Third, “at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border” does not meaningfully limit the geographic scope of this bill. That area includes almost the entirety of the geographical territory of the United States and the vast majority of people living in it. Two hundred million people live within 100 miles of the border.
That’s roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population.
Finally, “child” is defined in this legislation as any individual who has not reached 18 years old who has no permanent immigration status. This astonishing definition includes U.S. citizens under the age of 18. Citizen children by definition have no immigration status, permanent or otherwise.
far from addressing the border crisis, the Democrats’ Keep Families Together Act applies almost everywhere in the country to prohibit any DHS, DOJ, or HHS officer from removing almost any child from a parent. The listed exceptions to the prohibition—a state court authorizes separation, a state child welfare agency determines that the child is in danger, or certain DHS officials establish that the child is a victim of trafficking or is in danger from the parent, or that the parent is not the actual parent of the child—are completely unrelated to the vast majority of DHS, DOJ, and HHS enforcement activity.
Two groups would not benefit from the prohibition on family separation in this bill. First, parents who have children with a permanent immigration status go unprotected. Additionally, the childless would obviously find no shelter from this legislation. This disparity in treatment for the childless and lawful permanent residents borders on the farcical.
For more details on this madness, continue reading here at The Federalist.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
June 20th, 2018