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GOP amendments pass to protect Americans from COVID-positive and criminal migrants

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By Jenny Goldsberry

While Senators haggled over the budget bill late Tuesday night, GOP Sens. Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) penned amendments on immigration. Sen. Marshall penned an amendment to not permit migrants’ travel without a negative COVID-19 test. The senate adopted his amendment by a vote of 88-11. Then, Hagerty wrote an amendment to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport more migrants than it has of late.

ICE can now legally detain migrants who test positive and deport migrants convicted of crimes. Additionally, the amendment provides the department the resources needed to do so. Marshall’s amendment passed by a 53-46 vote.

During the debate, Hagerty suggested that there should be more deportations based on previous trends. “According to ICE’s website, 92 percent of the illegal aliens that ICE deports have been convicted of or charged with crimes,” Hagerty said on the floor. “Yet, despite the border crisis and record border crossings, the Biden administration has drastically reduced deportations to roughly one-quarter what they were last fiscal year, reaching the lowest levels on record this spring—from over 28,000 in October 2019 to less than 3,000 in April 2021. That means the Administration is allowing thousands of criminal illegal aliens per month to remain in American communities and potentially commit more crimes.”

Sens. Kelly, Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NM), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined the GOP in voting for Hagerty’s amendment. In response, Hagerty tweeted when it passed.

“Pleased my colleagues have joined me to enforce our immigration laws and deter illegal immigration and criminal activity by providing the resources necessary to remove criminal illegal aliens from our streets,” the tweet read.

Then, Marshall responded to his amendment passing, tweeting that it’s a statement to President Trump. “Passage of this amendment proves Republicans and Democrats must stand together to hold the Biden Administration accountable and ensure illegal migrants are not able to be scattered throughout the interior of this nation without testing negative for COVID,” Marshall tweeted.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Economy

Biden Administration Expands Obamacare Coverage for ‘Dreamers’

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Friday morning the Biden administration announced it is expanding health-care access for “Dreamers”, a select group of illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. Illegal immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be granted access to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to the White House. Beginning in November, DACA members will be able to apply for healthcare coverage on healthcare.gov and state level insurance marketplaces.

“I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed,” President Joe Biden said in a prepared statement. “And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors.”

National Review notes Biden was vice president when then-president Barack Obama created DACA through executive order over a decade ago. The program gives deportation protections and work visas to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. An estimated 580,000 people are enrolled in the program. Former president Donald Trump failed to put an end to DACA during his term and the program continues to be fought in court.

Over 100,000 DACA beneficiaries will purchase health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace and Basic Health Program created by the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates. Access to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program will not be incorporated into the White House’s new rule after Biden proposed doing so last year, according to National Review.

“Now as Vice President, I have worked alongside President Biden to take steps to preserve and fortify DACA. Today, we are building on this progress by ensuring DACA recipients also have access to affordable health care, which will improve the health of all communities,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a prepared statement. “This announcement will bring relief to more than 100,000 people and help them thrive while working to achieve their aspirations.”

The White House did not share a cost estimate for the expansion of Obamacare to DACA recipients. They will be eligible for financial assistance to help them afford the health insurance DACA enrollees are now eligible to purchase.

Biden called for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and to give Dreamers permanent citizenship. It’s unlikely that Congress will grant Biden’s wishes, given the failure of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration package earlier this year. Conservatives widely rejected the Senate’s proposal for not being tough enough on the southern border at a time when record levels of illegal immigrants are entering the country.

Immigration is a top issue for voters in the 2024 election because of the surge in border crossings under Biden’s watch. Polls indicate that Americans believe that Trump is better suited to handle the crisis at the southern border with his hardline approach.

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