This is the guy who just lost his primary to socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A man who thinks border-crossers should get a check from Uncle Sam for the trauma of being separated from their children temporarily wasn’t far enough to the left to win a Democratic primary in NYC.
Drew McCoy and I spent a few minutes earlier debating whether there are any House Republicans who would support Crowley in a floor vote on this. I say no. Squishes abound in the caucus, sure, but the idea of compensating people for the circumstances of their detention after entering the country illegally feels too much like paying damages to someone whom you injured when you caught him sneaking around inside your house. It perverts the moral calculus of which party should rightly be seen as the victim. And it offends one’s intuitive sense of assumption of risk: If you break into someone’s home, you take your chances with how that ends up for you. Needless to say, right-wingers would go *berserk* if Republicans entertained a bill to compensate illegals. There may be House Republicans who’d *want* to vote for it but none would do so, purely out of fear of the base. That’s my bet.
Drew, the eternal cynic on Republicans and immigration, counters that we must never underestimate the pro-amnesty instincts of the Beltway GOP. He might not be wrong.
I think Crowley should be examined for a head injury for even floating this idea publicly, knowing that Republican voters are in a lather on immigration lately and will use the soundbite as turnout fuel. (The clip below was posted by the RNC, not coincidentally.) But here’s the devil’s-advocate defense of his position. One: Obviously, there are *some* limits on what the feds can do to a person in their custody irrespective of what that person did to end up there. The cops don’t get to beat a confession out of a criminal suspect even if the evidence against him has him dead to rights; likewise, the feds don’t get to do any ol’ thing they want to detained illegals on the principle that they assumed the risk by crossing the border. I think it’s goofy to treat child separation as a tort when it was designed for the legitimate policy purpose of preventing catch-and-release, but it’s glib to say, “The government can do anything they want to illegals!” Just ain’t the case.
Two: Remember that not everyone who crossed the border and had their child separated is here illegally. Many are, perhaps most, but that depends on how their asylum applications are adjudicated. Some will inevitably win their cases and be granted asylum, in which case they *were* here legally under U.S. law. (You may not like that law but it is what it is until it’s changed.) Whether Crowley’s proposal would have more congressional support if it were limited to people who were granted asylum, I don’t know. But it would certainly complicate the analogy to injuring an intruder that I mentioned above. If your application for asylum is meritorious, you’re not an intruder. Effectively you’re an invited guest. If Crowley trimmed his plan to make only those people eligible for damages, I wonder if Drew’s right that it would earn a few Republican votes.