Over the weekend, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) went on Fox News Sunday where he vehemently complained about recent policy moves from the Biden administration including their immigration approach and the inclusion of relief checks for prisoners in recently enacted COVID-19 economic relief plans.
Cotton’s commitment to the idea that prisoners shouldn’t get relief checks veers alarmingly close to the idea that prisoners, particularly non-violent offenders, shouldn’t receive humane basic treatment as all. What about due process and a presumption of innocence? Some individuals are held in custody before ever getting formally convicted of anything. Why does Cotton think that, say, someone in prison on drug possession charges shouldn’t receive funds? Does he think that they’re somehow less deserving? He didn’t specify what category of “prisoners” that he was even talking about — he just used the broad term.
As Fox host Chris Wallace pointed out, Cotton supported relief legislation that included checks for prisoners. As Wallace put it:
‘But Senator, under two previous COVID relief bills that you supported and voted for and that President Trump signed, prisoners also got checks in those bills.’
Cotton claimed that sending relief checks to prisoners was “never Congress’s intent.” As he put it:
‘Well Chris, that was obviously never Congress’s intent. The Trump administration, IRS, and Treasury Department did not send checks to prisoners. Liberal advocacy groups sued to try to force that. A liberal judge said they had to. This month was the first time we ever had a simple up-or-down vote on whether those checks should go to prisoners, and the simple fact is that every Democrat voted to keep sending checks to prisoners. I don’t think that’s a smart idea — I suspect most Americans don’t either.’
Check out his remarks below:
Cotton also complained about, among other topics, the Biden administration’s move to phase out the Remain in Mexico program from the Trump era, which forced asylum-seekers to wait in potentially precarious conditions in Mexico while their claims were processed in the United States. As he ranted against migrants, Cotton also insisted that the Biden administration should reinstate a block on all categories of migrants on public health-related grounds, although Republicans certainly don’t seem particularly concerned about COVID-19 precautions when non-foreigners are involved! It’s a lazy smokescreen to complain about migrants.
Cotton complained, in part, as follows:
‘The Biden administration keeps saying that Trump somehow dismantled the immigration system. That’s false. It was the Biden admin that dismantled three highly effective policies… The public health exclusionary order, they lifted that order as it relates to minors. Well, guess what we have now at the border? Lots more minors. That’s not a surprise.’
The Trump administration focused on inane wall construction over efforts like meaningfully expanding the U.S. capacity to safely process asylum-seekers — that is the reality.