There remains a lot of daylight between Democrats and Republicans on border policy changes as the White House urges lawmakers to pass its national security supplemental request, according to multiple sources.
While the White House appears willing to offer major concessions on border policy, including new asylum limits and subjecting more undocumented immigrants to a fast-track deportation process, Republicans are seeking more.
Those proposals include a national expulsion authority — similar to a Covid-era restriction that permitted border authorities to swiftly turn away migrants at the US-Mexico border — and chipping away at the president’s parole authority, which allows migrants to temporarily live in the US on a case-by-case basis, a source said. The Biden administration has used parole in emergency situations, like to admit Ukrainians after Russia’s invasion and Afghans after the Afghanistan withdrawal, as well as to admit certain migrants.
Republicans have also floated subjecting anyone released in the US to electronic monitoring, including children. Immigration and Customs Enforcement already uses monitoring technology, though it’s limited in part because of lack of resources and doesn’t apply to children. GOP lawmakers have also proposed a “safe third” country provision that would bar asylum seekers who passed through other countries as well as an expansion of a fast-track deportation process, according to the source.
President Joe Biden has been directly involved with his team as they try to land on a compromise to pass Ukraine aid, according to another source familiar with discussions.
In his push to get his national security supplemental passed, Biden told reporters Wednesday he’d be willing to do “significantly more” on the US-Mexico border, conceding that the immigration system is “broken.”
“But in terms of changes to policy and to provide resources that we need at the border, I’m willing to … change policy as well,” he said, adding that his team has been engaged with Senate Democrats and Republicans.
After Biden’s comments, congressional negotiators Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, independent Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma met Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill after their talks had hit a major snag the weekend before.
Lankford, the top GOP negotiator on immigration, said Thursday that Republicans were willing to move off their most hardline demands and said that Biden needed to be directly involved.
“The president made it very clear, obviously, that, you know, he sees the problem at the border, he wants to be able to do it. He made a statement to say, ‘I significantly want to be able to engage,’ even randomly called me a decent guy for a moment. But we’re trying to do this in good faith, to be able to work through,” Lankford said.
“And the White House made a very clear statement, ‘Hey, let’s actually get something resolved. Ukraine’s too important not to be able to do this.’ So I did think it was helpful for him to be able to make that statement, and I reciprocated back to the White House, I hear you, we’re not trying to be able to over ask either.”
The White House supplemental request also includes $14 billion for border security.
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