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Democrats Take Back House: What It Means for Immigration


When it comes to President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda, the federal courts have been the only legal institutions to keep such efforts in check. But after the conclusion of this year’s midterm elections, the Democratic Party takeover of the House of Representatives could result in an aggressive oversight of the current administration’s plan to thwart illegal immigration and even limit legal immigration.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi prioritized using constitutional checks and balances to review Trump’s immigration actions over the past couple of years. This means House Democrats will use their powers to conduct investigations and issue subpoenas into the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy, their efforts to restrict asylum and refugee admissions, how immigrants are treated in detention centers, the question regarding citizenship on the 2020 Census, Trump’s order to deploy thousands of active-duty military troops to the U.S.-Mexican border due to the Central American migrant caravan, and even his threat to end birthright citizenship.

When the new Congress convenes in January, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is expected to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Nadler declared the Democratic-led House of Representatives will reassert its oversight role right away.

In regard to the passage of new immigration bills, such actions may not occur since the Republican Party still controls the Senate. Since Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is expected to be the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, he will prohibit the committee from approving immigration-friendly bills.

For example, if the House passes a bill which protects DACA and TPS recipients, the bill would then have to be approved by Graham’s Judiciary Committee. However, Graham would most likely use as many of the administration’s enforcement measures as possible, thus preventing passage of such bill.

As we mentioned before, a Democratic-led House would only serve as an obstacle against Trump’s efforts to curb immigration. Through the budgeting process, Democrats can essentially stop funding for the current deployment of troops to the southern border and even any for the president’s border wall.

For more information about current immigration matters, contact our Santa Barbara immigration lawyer at Appel & Morse today.

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