The federal government is unsure what to do with people in the country illegally during the coronavirus pandemic.
Should they be given a basic minimum income in the next coronavirus package, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims?
Or be released from immigration custody as some Democratic lawmakers claim?
Or, should the country they originated from be responsible for caring for them during this troubled time?
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz pitched legislation earlier this week that would “require all illegal aliens under U.S. custody to be deported when the government declares a national emergency due to a communicable disease.”
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this would require the deportation of all current illegal immigrants in custody.
“It is unconscionable that at a time when we should be working together as Americans, Democrats are working to socially engineer our country and advance their legislative priorities,” the Florida representative told Fox News.
“The PANDEMIC Act puts Americans first by requiring that all illegal aliens be deported during a pandemic, ensuring our resources are used to benefit and protect American citizens,” he added.
Illegal immigration & pandemics are a horrible mix, obviously.
Sen. Booker filed a bill to release all ICE detainees in America.
I filed a bill to deport them now.
We have to deal with a real emergency before we indulge mostly fake amnesty claims.https://t.co/H3NLCgJXUP
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 30, 2020
The Daily Caller reports the initiative comes in response as Democratic legislators are pitching ideas that would require immigration and customs enforcement to release detainees.
According to the report, bills requiring the free release of immigrants have been introduced in both legislative chambers by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.
The Daily Caller adds:
That was not the first time Democratic lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have asked federal authorities to scale back their operations amid the coronavirus pandemic. A group of House Democrats, led by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, requested Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in March freeze all deportations in response to the virus.
Gaetz pointed to the actions taken by the Mexican government, which has nearly repatriated all of the illegal aliens in its custody to remove the likelihood of migrant detention centers becoming hotbeds for outbreaks.
“I think we should love our country at least as much as Mexico loves theirs,” the Florida lawmaker said.
The Trump administration, in some ways, has scaled back its immigration enforcement efforts. ICE announced it would focus more on individuals who pose a greater public safety threat, and the agency has released hundreds of immigrants at risk of coronavirus complications.
Fox News adds:
In terms of illegal immigration, the administration is now turning away illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers at the border as part of an effort to reduce overcrowding. But it has also released some illegal immigrants into the country.
Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said earlier this month that 693 immigrants in custody have been identified for release, due to being more vulnerable to the virus and its effects.
He noted that ICE has a long history of dealing with people coming across the border with infectious diseases, but this is an “unprecedented” situation.