A confusingly written article in the always deceptive, neocon-run Washington Free Beacon is attracting a fair share of rage clicks from US conservatives and attention from Rush Limbaugh. The headline states that the recent budget deal passed by Congress contains “$1.6B to resettle illegal immigrants arriving at border through 2018.” It bases this assertion on the following passage:
For necessary expenses for refugee and entrant assistance activities authorized by section 414 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and section 501 of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980, and for carrying out section 462 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, section 235 of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (“TVPA”), section 203 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, and the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998, $1,674,691,00 […]
The article is incredibly misleading because it suggests that government efforts to assist refugees seeking asylum and victims of human trafficking are somehow a form of “resettlement,” a word that heavily implies a grant of permanent residency. In reality this aid is a temporary measure so that certain immigrants who claim to have been victimized by repression in foreign counties or enslaved by labor or sex traffickers don’t have to be held in detention (a more inhuman and expensive, but profitable for prison companies , solution) while they await their status. In the vast majority of cases of immigrants from Mexico and Central America seeking protected status (which the article singled out for fear-mongering), they are typically rejected and eventually deported. Even rescued victims of human trafficking are typically placed in detention and deported, as I have pointed out years ago. If the passage authorizes any type of aid to “resettle” people, it means that their asylum claims have succeeded and are now legal residents (duh!).
None of these facts matter to the banshees of the US right-wing though. The false narrative of Obama the radical, communist, Third World sympathizer naturally comes before the objective reality of Obama the Deporter-in-Chief.
The same bill contains $5,779,041,000 for the ICE to use for “necessary expenses for enforcement of immigration and customs laws.” Of this amount, $3,217,942,00 is to be specifically set aside for “enforcement, detention, and removal operations.” Militarizing the border, putting people in cages, deporting them is incredibly expensive. There is a case to be made that a more lenient immigration policy, in addition to being morally correct, would be much cheaper than the current status quo of mass detention and deportation. But cost-effectiveness is not a value of the modern conservative movement despite its self-purported emphasis on “fiscal conservatism.” State-mandated sadism, specifically towards the poorer and darker skinned, comes first. Always.