Proposed Immigration and Border Security Measures Draw Criticism
A proposed immigration bill aimed at tightening current immigration and asylum laws has faced significant opposition from House Republicans. The bill, supported by President Biden and the Department of Homeland Security, also includes provisions to fast-track eligible asylum claims and grant temporary authority to shut down the border during overwhelming situations.
Republicans Call for Stronger Border Reform
Despite the proposed measures, a majority of House Republicans have insisted on border reform that goes even further. They point to their H.R.2 border security bill passed last year as a more comprehensive solution. Some Republican lawmakers, including Freedom Caucus member Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., have expressed criticism over the bill’s attachment to Democrats’ initiatives, such as allocating $60 billion towards Ukraine and additional funding for Israel and elsewhere.
Rep. Crane told Fox News Digital, “This pathetic excuse for [a] border security deal gives Ukraine three times as much as it allocates to the U.S. border.” Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., added, “This is a Ukraine border deal, not a U.S. border deal.”
Concerns over Migrant Influx
Even before the bill was released, critics expressed concerns over the rumored authority to allow 5,000 migrants into the country per day before enforcing expulsion measures. The bill text introduces a new “border emergency authority” to turn people away, which would become mandatory if the average number of migrants encountered reaches 4,000 per day across a seven-day period. The authority can be used for up to 270 days in the first year of implementation, gradually decreasing before expiring after three years.
However, critics like Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., argue, “The acceptable number of illegal aliens allowed into the U.S. should be zero.” They view the bill as a “slap in the face to Americans” and urge Republicans and Democrats alike not to support it.
Opposition from House Leadership
In addition to GOP hardliners, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., have vowed not to bring the bill to a House vote. GOP Conference Policy Chair Gary Palmer, R-Ala., wrote, “This poor excuse for a border security bill will continue to incentivize illegal crossings and will not have my support.”
Debate over Bill’s Intentions
Amidst the controversy, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., the lead negotiator for Senate Republicans, emphasized that the notion that 5,000 people were “coming into the country” each day is “absurd and untrue.” He clarified that the emergency authority is designed to close the border and turn 5,000 people around, not to let them in.
The proposed immigration bill remains a highly contentious issue, with Republicans expressing their reservations and urging for stronger border security measures. The future of the bill remains uncertain as opposition intensifies both within and outside the GOP.