House Speaker Mike Johnson sent a letter to all House Republicans on Friday indicating his opposition to reported details of a border security deal being negotiated in the Senate.
The Senate is currently considering proposals to increase border security and reform the immigrant parole process for asylum seekers, demanded by Republicans, in exchange for authorizing aid to Ukraine to be used in its war against Russia. After alleged details of the plan were reported in the press, Johnson indicated that he would not support the deal should they be included, according to the letter which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I wanted to provide a brief update regarding the supplemental and the border since the Senate appears unable to reach any agreement,” began Johnson in his letter. “If the rumors about the contents of the draft proposals are true, it would have been dead on arrival in the House anyway.”
The negotiations — currently being led by Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — have not yet been completed and a draft proposal has not been published. However, several media reports have alleged contents of the deal, which have spawned conservative opposition.
One alleged aspect of the deal, reported by The New York Times, concerns reform of “humanitarian parole,” a status granted by the Department of Homeland Security that temporarily permits some foreign nationals fleeing persecution to remain in the United States without obtaining a visa. The Biden administration has issued parole status to millions of foreign nationals from nations such as Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Republicans seek to significantly curtail parole issuance to foreign nationals seeking asylum, who either present themselves at a port of entry or cross the border illegally. The draft proposal in the Senate would reportedly add detention capacity for U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to preclude the issuance of parole to illegal entrants, which is often done due to a paucity of space, the Times reported.
The deal also reportedly includes a reported threshold of migrant encounters per day that, if reached, would suspend parole and processing of foreign migrants. The threshold is reportedly 5,000 individuals per day, though that number is far below the current number of daily migrant encounters by Border Patrol, the Times reported.
“[T]here needs to be a hard cap on parole,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
“[T]hey want this outcome and this outcome is terrible for the American people,” said Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Thursday during a press conference to oppose the deal, which he termed a “stinking pile of crap,” according to The Hill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell supports the deal, according to a report by Politico. “He’s fully behind the border bill, fully behind the support for Ukraine and is not going to let political considerations of any campaign stand in the way of his support,” said Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, regarding McConnell’s views on the matter.
In 2023, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, known as the “Secure the Border Act,” which has served as the body’s border security proposal in negotiations. The bill would appropriate funds to construct a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, prohibit asylum status for persons who enter the country illegally and expand the authority of law enforcement to remove foreign nationals ordered deported.
Other Republicans, however, have attacked the alleged parole reform for not being strict enough. “What is currently being worked on in the Senate will be meaningless in terms of Border Security and Closure,” wrote former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the party’s presidential nomination, in a statement.
Democrats, by contrast, want to preserve parole authority and limit removals of aliens, who have long been settled in the country yet are ordered deported from the United States. “Expanded nationwide expedited removal is an incredibly dangerous tool,” said Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of California to NBC.
“I am emphasizing again today that House Republicans will vigorously oppose any policy proposal from the White House or the Senate that would further incentivize illegal aliens to break our laws,” Johnson wrote.
POSTS ON X:
President Trump: "When I'm President, instead of trying to send Texas a restraining order, I will send them REINFORCEMENTS!" pic.twitter.com/6qSmLkBGaW
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) January 27, 2024
On Monday, a trucker convoy heads to Texas to try to protect our country from invasion. A conversation with one of the leaders of it, as well as with the attorney general of Texas on where the border standoff goes next. pic.twitter.com/tZ4PIViJua
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) January 26, 2024
5,000 truckers are headed to the Texas border in support of Texas.
Who else supports Texas?
The mainstream media does not want you to SHARE this! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/0uB9v54zqF
— Donald J. Trump 🇺🇸 News (@DonaldTNews) January 27, 2024
I have deployed @SD_Guard to help secure the southern border three times. I have visited on several occasions over the years.
I visited again TODAY, and the situation was worse than ever. It is clear that Texas needs help.
They aren’t going to get it from Joe Biden. Which is… pic.twitter.com/ffj1cm5lGg
— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) January 27, 2024
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 26, 2024
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