Senate to Vote Again on Border Bill Previously Blocked by Republicans

The Senate is scheduled this week to bring up a border bill that was blocked a few months ago by Republicans, who are expected to do so again.

In a May 19 letter to colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the upper congressional chamber will look to pass the bipartisan bill.

“Congressional Republicans and Democrats alike were prepared to join arms and act to secure our nation’s border as part of the national security supplemental,” he wrote, adding that the “Democrats’ commitment to act never waned.”

The bill comes a little less than six months until Election Day as the Democrats are looking to keep their Senate majority amid an electoral map that favors the GOP. Vulnerable members include Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

On May 15, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) reintroduced the measure that he helped to negotiate “to give [Republicans] another chance to do the right thing, another chance to choose the safety and security of this country over the political prospects of their candidate for president.”

Ahead of the failed February vote to move the bill along, former President Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, called for his party to kill the measure.

“Only a fool, or a Radical Left Democrat, would vote for this horrendous Border Bill, which only gives Shutdown Authority after 5000 Encounters a day, when we already have the right to CLOSE THE BORDER NOW, which must be done,” he posted on his social media site, Truth Social.

The bill provides a new emergency authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to restrict border crossings if an average of 4,000 daily encounters is hit over a one-week span. If this threshold is reached, then the DHS secretary could shut down the border by denying illegal immigrants the ability to apply for asylum.

But if average encounters reach 5,000 a day over a given week, then the DHS secretary is required to shut down the border. The deal also limits the president’s parole authority, a power that gives the president the ability to allow more illegal immigrants into the country.

The measure raises the legal bar for the initial screening of asylum claims. It would also expedite the asylum processing time to six months from many years.

The White House, in a May 20 statement by press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, called on the Senate “to put partisan politics aside and vote to secure the border.”

However, the legislation doesn’t include a restoration of President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which many Republicans have told The Epoch Times is a must-have.

Overall, Republicans have called the legislation insufficient.

“It’s all about ‘let’s throw more money at it and we’ll put more money in it so we can process more people,'” Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Schumer acknowledged the opposition to the bill on both sides of the aisle.

“I will be honest: I do not expect all Democrats to support this legislation. Many of our colleagues do not support some of the provisions in this legislation, nor do I expect all Republicans to agree to every provision,” he said.

“But that is often how bipartisan legislation must be shaped when dealing with an issue as complex and politically charged as our nation’s immigration laws.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who helped to negotiate the initial bill, said he will vote against the bill even though he voted in February to advance it to avoid a filibuster. He said that bringing it back up is a political ploy.

“We’re in a presidential election year,” he said. “Everybody in America is watching what’s happening on the border and saying something needs to be fixed.”

Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, there have been at least 7.8 million encounters at the southwest border by Customs and Border Protection, according to the agency.

Stacy Robinson contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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