House Passes GOP Border Security Bill, Hours Ahead of End of Title 42

The House of Representatives passed a far-reaching bill immigration and employment bill on Thursday that seeks to bolster the border wall and impose stricter regulations on asylum seekers, countering President Joe Biden’s immigration policies at a time when migrants are congregating along the border ahead of the lifting of pandemic restrictions. 

The legislation, H.R.2. would restore many of the policies implemented by former President Donald Trump, such as constructing walls along the border. It would also restrict asylum by mandating that migrants cross legally, pay a $50 fee, and meet more stringent standards to demonstrate that they are fleeing political, religious, or racial persecution.

The House voted 219–213 to pass the bill, with no Democrats in favor and one Republican opposed.

“The key component of this bill is where we say, ‘If you come to our country, you will get to, according to the law, file your asylum claim … but you will be detained or you will be returned while your claim is adjudicated,’” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) during debate on the bill.

The legislation has little chance of becoming law, with Democrats holding a narrow majority in the Senate and decrying the measure’s “cruel” and “anti-immigrant” provisions. Biden has also pledged to veto it.

The vote came hours before the midnight lifting of Title 42, a rule implemented in response to the public health emergency that permitted border authorities to expeditiously return numerous migrants who crossed the border unlawfully. Biden has admitted that the U.S.–Mexico border will experience disorder as migrants weigh whether to cross, and U.S. officials use a new set of policies aimed at curbing illegal immigration while creating more legal pathways.

Republicans have sought to pin blame on Biden for the surge in illegal immigration during his tenure. Passing the bill would allow House GOP lawmakers to claim they have fulfilled their pledge to secure the border.

“Republicans have solutions,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to reporters on Wednesday night, expressing confidence that the GOP could pass the legislation through the closely divided House on a party-line vote.

“This is President Biden’s record on the border: record crossings, record carelessness, record chaos,” the speaker said in his address before departing to high-fives from a few GOP lawmakers present, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

Democrats, meanwhile, opposed the measure, deeming the policies “inhumane.”

“My Republican colleagues are trying to take us back to the failed, illegal and immoral policies of the Trump administration,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the Judiciary panel, on the House floor.

“This bill serves as a wholesale ban on asylum. No one would be able to seek asylum in the United States if they cross between ports of entry or if they had or could have had even temporary status in a third country,” Nadler added.

Republicans have been working for months to bring the bill to the House floor, amid public disputes among GOP lawmakers over the legislation.

The 213-page bill is a compromise in the Republican caucus between mainstream lawmakers, who desired to strengthen border enforcement, and hardline conservatives, who wanted to see drastic changes to U.S. asylum and immigration laws.

As the bill approached its final form on Wednesday, it had to be revised to appease worries from the House Freedom Caucus and other lawmakers. They were concerned about the consequences of granting the Department of Homeland Security the power to label cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, as well as whether a separate provision requiring agricultural companies to check the immigration status of workers would disrupt them.

Reuters contributed to the report. 

From The Epoch Times

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