Omnibus Walls off Border Wall Funding



“We have to build the wall. We have to stop drugs from pouring in. We have to stop people from just pouring into our country.” –President Donald J. Trump

In one of the most watched presidential election cycles in American history, then-candidate Donald Trump invigorated voters with his hardline stance against illegal immigration and the promise to build a physical wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. These promises drew enthusiastic crowds on the campaign trail and eventually at the polls. Even congressional Republicans embraced border-wall fervor.

But this week, when Congress finally released their long-awaited legislation to fund the government for the remainder of FY 2018, the will of the American people was blatantly ignored. In fact, in over 2,000 pages, the omnibus contains zero immigration-related provisions that are consistent with what President Trump and congressional Republicans told the American people they would do when they were sent to Washington. The bill does not increase the number of detention beds or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. The bill does not de-fund sanctuary jurisdictions; and most notably, the bill does not allow any funds to be used to build a concrete wall.

Despite ignoring the demands of American voters, Congress did appeal to powerful business interests by utilizing the omnibus to expand access to foreign labor by including a provision that allows the Department of Homeland Security to double the number of H-2B visas available in the current fiscal year. The same option was included in the FY2017 omnibus, with then-DHS Secretary John Kelly assuring Americans it was a “one-time” thing.

As a reminder, the H-2B nonimmigrant visa program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring low-skilled foreign workers to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. These seasonal workers— imported in by industries like hospitality, landscaping, and seafood processing— are not exactly cheap.  But they are certainly cheaper than the wage increases required to attract Americans to these positions. These increases would reduce company profits, but would leave hundreds of thousands of American workers in higher-wage jobs (which is something else the president championed on his campaign).

With the FY 2019 appropriations process already underway, hopefully Congress can return to regular order by funding the government through individual appropriations bills. Maybe then the jobs and safety of Americans won’t be bargaining chips in must-pass legislation being manipulated by special interest groups.

About Author

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Heather Ham-Warren joined FAIR’s Government Relations department in 2018. In her role, Heather advocates for FAIR’s interests before Congress, the Administration, and federal agencies. She also reviews and analyzes federal legislation and regulations, as well as conducts research on a wide variety of legal and immigration-related topics. Heather brings with her several years of political and legislative experience having worked for legislatures at the both the state and federal levels. She began her career in D.C. working on Capitol Hill—most recently serving as Legislative Director for a Florida Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law.

4 Comments

  1. avatar

    Mark my words, this ‘promise’ by Trump will be the biggest lie of his presidency: “This is the last time I’ll sign a bill like this!” Count on it: next year, the stinkin’ RINO’s, lead by that sell-out from WI’s 1stCD, will engineer another ‘shutdown crisis’ and they’ll put another steaming POS even WORSE than this bill on the president’s desk. And he’ll make the same noises, then sign it, because he doesn’t have the brains or the backbone to stand up and face any real opposition from The Swamp. I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, but from a rational viewpoint we all know it’s true.

  2. avatar

    There are a whole lot of never Trump people in the GOP who still don’t really accept him. Combine that with the fact that it takes 60 votes in the Senate to pass anything meaningful. If there is one thing to remember, it’s the fact that stumbling Hillary could be president now with her open borders agenda, a prospect that had a lot of us ready to throw up our hands in resignation. Imagine her with 2 or 3 Supreme Court picks, further tying our immigration enforcement system in knots.

    One would have to think that if Walter Cronkite were alive he would be ashamed of what has happened to CBS. A 60 Minutes segment on Stormy Daniels, which no matter what happened, is a personal thing, no law breaking in the least. Inexcusable to broadcast this.

  3. avatar

    Secure south border. Stop illegal human traffic across open land from Tecate. Stop families with children, future DACA. Stop flow of drugs and criminals. Stop the invasion. End their demands we give to them. Border check stop is west of my ranch, they trespass over, coming from path from east. heading to San Diego. Protect our agents, our land and Amercians. We have suffered in all areas.

  4. avatar
    SUSAN LINDAUER on

    If any legislation deserves a VETO, it’s this! BUILD THE WALL!!! Stand strong for AMERICA FIRST!!! Stop the drugs & cartel gun running! Stop the Mexican invasion! BUILD THE WALL!