Want another reason why I loathe the practice of attaching policy riders to spending bills, besides the time it wastes and the political grabs it symbolizes? Because, at least in the last few years, a plurality of those riders have related to abortion. I would like to take this time to remind pro-life candidates that the interest groups on your side really don’t have unlimited money available for donations and eventually you have to take a breather from inviting them. Which brings us to the latest one.
Rep. Robert Aderholt’s (R-AL) rider on the spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would block Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from funding abortions for detained illegal immigrants, except for the usual reasons. If you can’t repeat the usual reasons from memory, please seek medical attention. There was another rider, brought to us by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), that would defund a newly created “public advocate” position designed to address concerns of illegal immigrants going through the deportation process. If you can’t figure out why, please seek medical attention now.
Let’s start with Aderholt. In the abstract, I am supportive of a measure that would prevent taxpayer dollars from being used for non-urgent abortions for non-citizens. That’s all well and good. But he has not proven that this has happened at all, much less to the extent that it would merit a rider. In fact, ICE claims to have had such a policy already. Foresight is one thing, but clearly very little sight was involved.
Now, regarding Black. Since ICE’s mandate is to identify vulnerabilities in immigration security, I doubt many legal immigrants might be helped by this public advocate. But we have seen a fair number of cases of the children of illegal immigrants being mired in deportation limbo. If this advocate’s office could help them, especially if they have sparkling records, it is worth funding.
There isn’t much more to say about Aderholt; he’s not well-known compared to other House members, so this was a good way for him to make some noise, albeit unnecessary noise. But Black’s rider illustrates a serious problem with existing immigration policy: It doesn’t do enough to help what I call “model non-citizens” put down roots in America. It lumps them all into one category whether they premeditated illegal entry, or were capable of such premeditation, or even did everything right. Want more proof? Here.
For any member of Congress who happens to be reading this, let me assure you that I am well-educated, employed full-time, debt-free, crime-free and generally a nice person, and will remain so when I apply for a visa. Don’t make my entry too difficult.