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Jul 3, 2018 5:49 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Zeldin Laments Failure Of 'Compromise' On Immigration

Jul 3, 2018 5:58 PM

The failure of several attempts to overhaul immigration policy with regard to family detentions in the last two weeks was driven by polarized interests and political motivations on both sides of the aisle, U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin said this week.

The East End’s congressman voted for two bills that he says would have addressed the detentions issue, improved border security and paved a path for “Dreamers” to secure citizenship. Both fell well short of the minimum 218 votes needed to pass, with many of Mr. Zeldin’s fellow Republicans failing to support either bill. The latter bill got just 121 votes in favor.

None of the Republican-authored bills in the last two weeks—which all directed billions of dollars to construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border—received any votes from Democratic members of the House.

“There are people in Congress who only want to see something happen with DACA, and there are people who only want to see a wall built,” Mr. Zeldin said, lamenting his party’s inability to muster its own caucus and the Democrats’ wholesale rejection of the Republican approach to the raging immigration debate. “There are those, Republicans and Democrats, who want the issue to campaign on. The biggest issue in getting an immigration bill passed is politics.”

The final bill voted on last Thursday, June 28, had been a “compromise” in that it included a path to citizenship for a limited number of undocumented residents who were brought to the United States illegally as young children, while still directing $25 billion to building a border wall, President Donald Trump’s marquee campaign issue. Mr. Zeldin said the bill would also have given some of those children’s parents hope of citizenship.

But the compromise—which was aimed mostly at uniting conservative and moderate factions within the Republican Party—still would have stood almost no chance of passing in the Senate, Mr. Zeldin said.

“It would have just gotten more watered down,” he said on Monday morning.

The second-term congressman from Shirley said that the House is still talking about what to do next. There has been talk of a more limited bill that would simply make it possible for immigration authorities to detain young children, in the company of their parents, while they are processed and reviewed for deportation or asylum in the United States.

Currently a 1990s court ruling bars young children from being detained, forcing families to be separated if the parents are charged with entering the country illegally, as had been recent federal policy.

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Lee, the biggest issue in getting an immigration bill passed is lack of leadership and political will.
It is time we had a representative who was a true leader, one who would speak up and make things happen.
Unfortunately for us Lee Zeldin is not that leader.
By fritzdaddy (24), southampton on Jul 4, 18 10:34 AM
Zeldin has done a great job and deserves to be re elected.
By razza5350 (1898), East Hampton on Jul 5, 18 10:38 AM
Little Lee is dancing to Big Donald’s tune, as he always does. Big Donald says “give me my border wall and I’ll give you your kids back.” That’s the legislative deal he’s offering, and that’s just what a kidnapper says.

Big Donald is effectively holding these children — now 3,000 of them by the latest count — for ransom. The thing is, you don’t use kids as bargaining chips, unless you’re a kidnapper. No prizes for guessing ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1847), Quiogue on Jul 5, 18 1:54 PM
Turkey Bridge where were you when Obama was breaking up families for 8 years? This isnt new immigration laws same one Obama used. Please with the politics.
By chief1 (2472), southampton on Jul 8, 18 11:23 AM
The law making illegal entry a misdemeanor was on the books, but it wasn't prosecuted because it would result in family separation, which was not happening until April of this year when Jeff Sessions announced the NEW zero tolerance policy.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (3308), HAMPTON BAYS on Jul 8, 18 11:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
And the 2014 photos of children in cages - what say you?
By Taz (437), East Quogue on Jul 8, 18 11:44 AM
I can't tell you where that picture came from, but the unaccompanied minors crisis has been going on since 2012. Nevertheless, none of those children were separated from their families, that's what unaccompanied means.
Jul 8, 18 11:49 AM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
Upon further reading that's exactly what the picture depicted: unaccompanied minors, not children separated by the government.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (3308), HAMPTON BAYS on Jul 8, 18 11:49 AM
They were still in cages. So many were sent unaccompanied - how do we know who are really parents accompanying children or who are miscreants using children to enter USA? This must be determined, even if it is at the expense of some who are legitimate. Human trafficking, pedophilia, drug trafficking all enter into the mix. This is not to be trivialized.
By Taz (437), East Quogue on Jul 8, 18 12:33 PM
Agreed, if the children are at risk from their own guardians then separation is not only appropriate but compelled.

I think the problem is "zero tolerance" separations, not the government custody of children in all cases.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (3308), HAMPTON BAYS on Jul 8, 18 12:53 PM
Sooo Lee Zeldin’s answer to a difficult political situation is, screw it, let’s just arrest the kids too, hamstring them too with a criminal record. That’ll teach those liberals who don’t want children and parents separated. One big jail for the whole family! Idiot...
By Brandon Quinn (151), Hampton Bays on Jul 9, 18 5:03 PM