The Democratic Party regained the majority of the House of Representatives following this month’s midterm elections. What this most likely means is more scrutiny will be applied to President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda—especially when it comes to immigration.
Democrats plan to use their new authority to investigate past immigration actions and challenge any future immigration plans by the president. So far, only the federal courts have been able to curtail the current administration’s immigration efforts to crack down on illegal immigration and limit legal immigration.
Past immigration actions the Democratic-led House could investigate include:
- Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy that has resulted in 2,500 family separations since the summer
- How immigrants are treated at detention centers
- The administration’s actions to limit asylum and refugee admissions to the United States
- Deployment of thousands of military troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the caravan of Central American migrants
- The citizenship question now included in the 2020 Census
- Trump’s promise to end birthright citizenship
Since Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is expected to be the newly appointed chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, many of those investigations mentioned above will be led by him. After securing another term representing New York’s 10th Congressional District, he said that the Democratic-majority House will reassert its oversight immediately.
Although the new-look Congress will thwart any of Trump’s efforts to curb immigration, passing any immigration bills with the approval of a Republican-led Senate is highly unlikely. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to be led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who won’t allow the approval of immigration-friendly bills.
One of the immigration issues that Congress will have to address is DACA. While Federal courts ordered DACA should continue, the Supreme Court—which now has two justices appointed by Trump—could back the president’s agenda—leaving it up to Congress to decide what happens to DACA recipients. The House, for example, could pass a bill to protect DACA, but the Senate could shoot down the bill.
So, for now, a Democratic-led House can do will only make it more difficult for the Trump administration to enforce its immigration policies, including the hopes to build a wall on our southern border.