The GOP's Border Bill Would Be a Disaster

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Congress has been pushing to pass bill that turns border security into a matter of zero tolerance: by 2020, every single person entering the US from Mexico illegally must be apprehended. Every. Single. One.

If even a single unauthorized immigrant gets across the border without being caught, DHS will get hit with penalties — getting everything from overtime pay to government aircraft access taken away from them.

You're probably going to be hearing more about this idea in the coming months, as both the legislative battle between Congress and the president over immigration reform and the 2016 presidential election heat up. The border bill was scheduled for a House vote the week of January 26, though it's been pulled from the schedule. The Senate has introduced a similar bill, and might try to pass it soon — maybe even making it a condition of Department of Homeland Security funding. And the Republican primary candidates who've talked about the border at all seem to see guaranteeing 100 percent security as an obvious first step. (One candidate, doctor Ben Carson, said that the next president should promise to "seal the border" within his first year in office.)

But the zero-tolerance standard is plainly unrealistic, according to experts. Marc Rosenblum of the Migration Policy Institute, who worked for the Congressional Research Service on measuring border security, says that "no serious student of the border" could possibly believe that the GOP's standard is a good idea.

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