The United States Senate agreed Sunday on addressing the surge of illegal immigrants at the U.S. Southern border, releasing a $118 million bipartisan border security and foreign aid bill.
Among many things, the bill would give the president more powers when dealing with immigration policy. One of these powers would be a special presidential expulsion authority.
Suppose there are over 4,000 illegal border crossings daily for a five-day average. In that case, the president can implement an expulsion order, sending back the migrants and removing their ability to claim asylum. If the number of illegal crossings exceeds 5,000, then the expulsion policy will automatically kick in.
If passed, the bill in the upper chamber would put $20 billion aside for immigration enforcement. This would likely be used to hire more border patrol agents and personnel.
The bill also calls for billions of dollars in foreign aid. Around $60 billion will be put toward supporting Ukraine, while another $14.1 billion will be spent on assisting Israel. On top of this, billions of more dollars would be spent on aiding regional partners in the Indo-Pacific.
Funding for Ukraine is a non-starter for House Democrats.
According to Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R), the legislative measure is "dead on arrival."
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) posted on his social media:
“I’ve seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created. As the lead Democrat negotiator proclaimed: Under this legislation, 'the border never closes.' If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival," stated Speaker Johnson on X.
President Biden has come out strongly supporting the bipartisan legislation calling it “the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades.” He accredited the proposed bill to his administration, saying “Working with my administration, the United States Senate has done the hard work it takes to reach a bipartisan agreement.”
The president mentioned that he would use the expulsion authority to “shut down the border” right away if the bill is signed.
Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), who’s been one of the leading negotiators on the Republican side, is also a supporter of the bill. Lankford spoke of the border crisis saying, “People come in mass numbers because they’re getting released.”
He claims that this bill will deter migrants from pouring across the border.
“If the word gets out immediately that it’s not true anymore, people will come in a more orderly fashion,” said Lankford.
While the bill may be marketed as bipartisan, many people in Washington strongly oppose this bill.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) has come out strongly opposing the proposed legislation. Cruz wrote on his "X" account, "What this bill does not do is stop the invasion of illegal immigrants. Instead, it gives them work permits & lawyers."
Nobody is talking about stopping LEGAL commerce. That would be stupid.
What this bill does NOT do is stop the invasion of ILEGAL immigrants.
Instead, it gives them work permits & lawyers.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 5, 2024
Texas Congressman Chip Roy (R) reposted a tweet that reads, "This bill actually does solve the problem of illegal immigration. It simply legalizes it."
House majority leader, Steve Scalise (R-LA), condemned the bill saying that it “will not receive a vote in the House."
Let me be clear: The Senate Border Bill will NOT receive a vote in the House.
Here’s what the people pushing this “deal” aren’t telling you: It accepts 5,000 illegal immigrants a day and gives automatic work permits to asylum recipients—a magnet for more illegal immigration.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 5, 2024
According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a vote on the proposed legislation may take place this week, as early as Wednesday.