On Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally agreed to support a clean bill for border security funding to help immigrants detained in U.S. facilities. The $4.6 billion funding bill passed 84-8 in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, but Pelosi declared at the time that she would not consider the bill in the House, preferring a Democratic measure aimed at limiting the president’s control over border facilities.
“In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill,” Pelosi said in a letter to fellow House Democrats. “As we pass the Senate bill, we will do so with a Battle Cry as to how we go forward to protect children in a way that truly honors their dignity and worth.”
Republicans in the Senate had actually brought the House funding measure to a test vote earlier this week. It failed, 37-55, with three Democrats voting against the measure and with seven Democratic presidential candidates absent from the vote.
The crisis at the border has become harder and harder to deny. Customs and Border Protection reported a 623 percent increase in apprehensions from May 2017. Illegal immigrant arrivals are set to hit one million by the end of the year.
Earlier this month, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused President Trump of “manufacturing a crisis.” Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — each of them a presidential candidate — downplayed or denied the crisis. The Democratic National Committee tweeted, “There. Is. No. Crisis. At. The. Border.”
There. Is. No. Crisis. At. The. Border.
An important thread. ⬇️ https://t.co/27aZ7U7vPL
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) February 15, 2019
Liberal media outlets seemed to parrot this narrative. The New York Times tweeted that claims of a crisis were “false.” “I don’t see anything resembling a national emergency situation,” CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted. The editorial board of The Washington Post piled on, calling Trump’s claim about the crisis “untethered from truth and reality.”
Democrats insisted that there was no crisis in order to counter Trump’s emergency declaration to appropriate funding for the border wall. Yet this argument has become less tenable as time goes on.
Yet in one fell swoop, they changed their tune. Liberal media outlets seized on the tragic image of a man drowned with his daughter while trying to reach the border. According to CNN, this image “underscores the crisis at the US-Mexico border.” The New York Times reported that the “immigration system may have reached a breaking point.”
Pelosi described the situation as a “crisis” and condemned the resulting “child abuse.”
Moderate Democrats had supported the clean border funding bill, even as Pelosi declared she would not budge on Wednesday.
Democrats’ passions run high on border issues. Ironically, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) compared the migrant shelters and holding facilities to concentration camps, yet she supported a protest against the company Wayfair when the Trump administration announced it had paid that company to purchase better furniture for migrant children.
Perhaps Pelosi has discovered some common sense, or maybe she realized that opposing funding to meet the evident crisis is politically unwise.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.