February 6, 2024

Senate Border Bill

The U.S. Senate on Sunday unveiled a $118 billion bipartisan border security bill that would also provide aid to Ukraine and Israel, but it promptly slammed into opposition from the House of Representatives. ‘I urge Congress to come together and swiftly pass this bipartisan agreement,’ President Joe Biden said… However, House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson declared it ‘dead on arrival’ if it reaches his chamber…

“In addition to $20.23 billion for border security, the bill included $60.06 billion to support Ukraine in its war with Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, $2.44 billion to U.S. Central Command and the conflict in the Red Sea, and $4.83 billion to support U.S. partners in the Indo-Pacific facing aggression from China.” Reuters

“[The bill] would direct about $20 billion to additional enforcement on the U.S. border with Mexico and to combat drug trafficking. It would also give the government emergency powers to refuse entry to migrants crossing the border or to quickly expel those who had already entered the U.S… The powers would kick in whenever the Border Patrol catches an average of at least 4,000 people crossing the southern border outside of ports of entry each day during a single week. The government would be required to use those tools once crossings top 5,000 a day per week.” Reuters

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From the Left

The left argues that the bill is too harsh, and accuses its Republican critics of hypocrisy.

“Incredibly, despite bargaining with Senate Republicans under a cloud of hostility from the House and grim prospects for ultimate success, Democrats received close to bupkis from the GOP on any of [the] issues. There's nothing for DREAMers, no meaningful new pathways to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants working in the United States, and no new process for economic migrants.”

David Faris, Newsweek

“Essentially, [the bill] would shut down the border when too many migrants are trying to enter… This offloads responsibility for migrants onto Mexico, which has proved incapable of protecting them from cartels and smugglers. Human Rights First has tracked ‘at least 1,544 publicly reported cases of kidnappings, murder, torture, rape, and other violent attacks’ against migrants the US has sent back to Mexico.”

Nicole Narea, Vox

“Trump and his allies are pretend-raging that the deal would ‘allow’ 5,000 migrants to illegally enter daily. In fact, that number refers to encounters with migrants, meaning they’re put into the system where their claims are adjudicated…

“While many do get released while they await hearings, the law requires that those picked up on U.S. soil receive an asylum hearing if sought. Courts are badly backlogged and detaining all migrants is logistically impossible, requiring enormous expenditures that the public would never tolerate. That’s why every president releases a lot of migrants—including Trump, who released hundreds of thousands of them…

“True, the bill would not reinstate his policy of forcing migrants to await hearings in Mexico or basically end asylum-seeking entirely, as the House GOP approach would. But this is what makes the deal a compromise… By beefing up investments in the asylum process and streamlining it so asylum officers (not judges) hear many cases, it would reduce those backlogs. Expanded detention would mean more migrants are detained.”

Greg Sargent, New Republic

“About 1 million people who crossed the southern border over the past four months would have been deported, rather than released into the United States, if this agreement had been in place. Limitations on the president’s power to grant humanitarian parole at land borders could stop more than half a million crossings annually, he says. There’s even $650 million to build a border wall, the sort of funding Democrats forced a 35-day partial federal shutdown to prevent five years ago… The Republican Party should take yes for an answer.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post

From the Right

The right is divided.

The right is divided.

“By any honest reckoning, this is the most restrictive migrant legislation in decades. Previous immigration talks have involved trading security measures for legalizing more immigration. There is little of the latter in this bill—nothing for nearly all of the Dreamers who were brought here illegally as children, no general pathway to citizenship or green cards for most illegal immigrants already in the U.S…

“The Senate bill is a major improvement over the status quo, as the Border Patrol union said Monday in endorsing it. The bill would go far to reduce the incentives for illegal migration and provide new tools to the executive branch to control it…

“Republicans may think they can write a better law if Mr. Trump wins in November, but don’t count on it. Democrats will again demand much more in return. If Republicans pass up this rare chance at border reform, they may not get a better one.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Others note that “The good in the bipartisan Senate negotiators’ proposal — and there definitely is some — (a) can already be accomplished under current law, and (b) would require faith that the Biden administration will for some reason enforce these provisions even though it has systematically refused to enforce existing border-security provisions…

“Existing law mandates that illegal aliens entering the United States be detained. Rationally, this is as it should be, since the entry is illegal, and the aliens have no right to be at liberty. Yet, the senators’ proposal would undermine that existing law by codifying the release of vast categories of illegal aliens — family units and unaccompanied minors. The current government practice of releasing these aliens, in violation of law and common sense, is exactly what’s driving the border crisis…  

“Illegal aliens are strategically arriving in family units — arriving with children or arriving as children who seek to join family already here — because Biden has let it be known that those aliens will get in; and once in, they have a very good chance of staying… Are the senators saying that because Biden is breaking the law, we should change the law to accommodate his lawlessness?”

Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review

“The number of allowable illegal aliens crossing the southern border before the border is shut down is completely unacceptable… The border emergency authority kicks in when there are 5,000 encounters per day at the border. The bill accepts 5,000 illegal immigrants as the acceptable number crossing the border per day. That works out to 1.8M a year before deportations automatically begin.”

Karen Townsend, Hot Air

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