What’s in Democrats’ $1.75 Trillion Spending Bill

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The White House released on Thursday a framework for the Build Back Better Act—a massive, $1.75 trillion spending bill that will radically transform the American way of life as we know it—and Democrats in Congress are intent on rapidly moving it immediately. We asked analysts from The Heritage Foundation to examine what is in the bill text. We will update their responses as they come in:

Immigration

The Biden administration has turned the U.S. immigration system into immigration chaos, and now the left wants American taxpayers to pay for it. The Democrats will continue to try to ram through amnesty using budget tricks. This will effectively reward illegal immigrants and will fuel the surge we are seeing play out every day at our southern border.

The Biden administration has itself to blame for inflating the backlog of immigration benefit applications. When they continue to add hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to the application line, those who followed the law and apply for legitimate benefits are forced to wait years longer to have their application adjudicated.

What’s more, immigration benefits are fee-based. This is sound fiscal policy as applicants, not taxpayers, should pay for their own benefit application. To force U.S. taxpayers to pay for the Biden administration’s own backlog punishes Americans, fails to hold the administration accountable for their open border policies, and hurts lawful immigrants, their family members, and employers.

“Expanding legal representation” is a euphemism for taxpayer-funded attorneys for deportable aliens. Aliens already have a right to counsel in (civil) immigration proceedings, but at no expense to the government. The left has sought to chip away at this sound fiscal policy for decades, starting with illegal alien minors.

Requiring taxpayers to fund attorneys would be a fiscal bottomless pit, given the unknown millions of illegal aliens already in the country, plus the unending flow of illegal aliens currently crossing the border, plus the years’ long immigration court backlogs.

Furthermore, it would treat deportable aliens better than U.S. citizens, who do not have a right to taxpayer-funded attorneys in civil proceedings.

The left continues to ruin our asylum system while calling it “efficient and humane.” Asylum is intended to protect those who suffered or have a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Yet the left shoe horns in general violence, crime, and climate change into membership in a particular social group and labels them asylees.

Those conditions do not meet the definition for asylum and such applicants are not eligible. Watering down asylum to declare every applicant eligible hurts those who truly faced or fear real persecution. This is chaotic and inhumane.

– Lora Ries is the director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Technology Policy and a senior research fellow focused on homeland security at Heritage’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy

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