The long-awaited bipartisan border agreement met swift opposition from hardline conservatives and allies of former President Trump within hours of negotiators unveiling the 370-page package.
They decried it as an “amnesty bill” that “erases our borders,” attacked the Ukraine funding that’s included, and called it “a complete sell-out, “awful” and “totally unacceptable.”
“Let me be clear: The Senate Border Bill will NOT receive a vote in the House,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “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.”
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) also attacked the bill in a statement.
“This Joe Biden/Chuck Schumer Open Border Bill is an absolute non-starter and will further incentivize thousands of illegals to pour in across our borders daily,” Stefanik wrote. “House Republicans have already passed HR2 – the Secure Our Border Act, which would actually secure the border and return to the effective Trump policies with the most secure border in our nation’s history,” she added.
The $118 billion bill includes the $20 billion border component, along with funding for Israel, Ukraine and other foreign policy priorities.
The border deal specifically includes provisions to raise standards for asylum screening and to process claims faster. The deal also ends the practice known as “catch and release,” and it provides the administration new authority to close the border to most migrants when crossings reach a set threshold.
While text for the border deal had not been released before Sunday, Trump had made clear he did not want Congress to pass any significant border security legislation that could be seen as a win for President Biden ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
His allies were quick to pounce on the bill Sunday.
“This bill reads like it was drafted in Kiev. It’s a massive issue that a border bill for AMERICA is more about funding the wars of foreign countries rather than our own interests and people,” Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) wrote in a statement, adding, “Any Republican who votes for this will betray the American people.”
Conservative Senate Republicans also slammed the proposal.
“This is an open-borders bill if I’ve ever seen one. The Democrats are celebrating already,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said on X, formerly Twitter.
“It is against the law for an individual to illegally cross into our country — it’s incredible that still needs to be said. We are a nation of law and order, yet the Biden administration has allowed over 8.8 million illegal immigrants to flood our border. Meanwhile, at least 85,000 migrant children have gone missing under the watch of Biden’s HHS as cartels and unvetted sponsors take advantage of them. That is unacceptable, and allowing even one immigrant to enter our country illegally is unacceptable,” Sen. Martha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) wrote in a statement.
“I will never vote to make illegal immigration legal, and I will not support this deal. If my Democratic colleagues are serious about working with us to secure the border, they should call for a vote on the Secure the Border Act (H.R.2), which arrived in the Senate on May 15 and has languished without even a hearing,” she added.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) repeated his call for senators to have more time to read the bill before voting on it.
“No self-respecting senator should agree to vote on this 370-page bill this week. Any 41 senators can prevent the bill from proceeding. If you agree that senators should have this bill for at least a few weeks (and certainly more than a few days) before voting on it, say so!” he wrote.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), another hardline conservative and Trump supporter, said “I’m an immovable NO,” in response to the bill.
“I can’t believe this is the ‘border security bill’ that’s been ‘negotiated’. This bill DESTROYS American sovereignty. It will weaken immigration laws for decades and handcuff the next President that actually wants to secure our borders and defend our country. This bill has been crafted to solidify the invasion of illegals into the United States of America.” I’m an immovable NO.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) — who led negotiations on the bill, along with Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) — praised the border deal as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to close our open border and give future administrations the effective tools they need to stop the border chaos and protect our nation.”
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