Thursday, February 29, 2024
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The Good and the Bad of the Senate Border Bill

A bipartisan group of senators sleepless A long-awaited border security bill tying a plethora of immigration-related provisions to funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan was introduced Sunday night, the culmination of four months of negotiations. The 370 pages, $118 billion proposal, released by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I–Ariz.), James Lankford (R–Okla.), and Chris Murphy (D–Conn.), would bring dramatic changes to the United States immigration system if passed.

Several House and Senate lawmakers have already expressed opposition to the bill, suggesting a difficult path to its passage. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) saying the bill would not receive a vote in his chamber, a sentiment that Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) echoedcalling it “dead on arrival” in the House. On to dozen Republican senators are reportedly already against the bill, as are Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).

the bill is programmed for a first vote in the Senate on Wednesday and appears to face major difficulties in the House. Still, it’s worth examining the key provisions of this bill, if only to understand what constitutes compromise border legislation these days.

The border security package includes some boosts for legal immigration and legal immigrants, including “work authorization for family members of certain visa holders” and 50,000 additional employment and family visas per year for five years. It would provide relief to the so-called Documented dreamers, dependent visa holders who were brought legally to the U.S. as children by parents on nonimmigrant visas. They would be protected from the “lapse” of their legal status at age 21 if they do not obtain a green card (a situation which forces some Documented Dreamers to self-deport).

The package includes the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would eventually provide “permanent legal status to tens of thousands of Afghan citizens” who helped the United States and were evacuated here after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. Also goals establish more efficient vetting processes for Afghan allies still abroad.

The bill would more drastically affect the asylum system, making it more difficult for immigrants to qualify for protection. It has some good intentions, for example, speeding up award of protection claims, which often take years under the current system, but it would require a massive investment of resources to achieve it and the modification of certain legal norms, probably to the detriment of due process and humanitarian protection.

The bill would create “a new temporary removal authority” that would be used “when the number of immigrants overwhelms the system,” according to a summary of the package. The Department of Homeland Security would have to close the border “if the average daily migrant encounters reach 5,000 in a week” or “8,500 in a single day,” something Johnson said. opposes because “the goal should be zero illegal crossings per day.” Ports of entry would “process at least 1,400 immigrants daily during periods” when the authority was in use, and immigrants would be subject to a “new enhanced asylum standard and removal authority.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association warned that “rapid and truncated procedures” would “undermine the fairness and thoroughness of asylum examinations” and put asylum seekers at risk “by pushing them back into unsafe and violent conditions.” Immigrant advocacy organizations, including FWD.us and the Coalition for the human rights of immigrantsHe criticized the asylum changes and the fact that the bill did not outline a path to citizenship for the country’s undocumented immigrants.

The package would preserve the status quo in some positive and negative aspects. I would be keep a key measure used by the Biden administration to ease border pressures: humanitarian parole. President Joe Biden has used the authority to establish a legal route of entry for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans, which has been successful to reduce illegal border crossings between those nationalities. But, as the National Immigration Forum has pointed out notedoffers no solutions for Dreamers or the country’s agricultural workforce.

As is often the case with oversized, overpriced bills, the border security package would throw money at ill-conceived, unprepared agencies. The cash injection goes well beyond the current budgets of immigration agencies, said David J. Bier of the Cato Institute. argument, “that agencies are likely to have to commit serious financial mismanagement just to spend it within the required time frames.” The financing of the package is intended to hire 4,338 asylum agents, but it belongs to anyone guess How much time will it take?

These types of outstanding issues may never be resolved, given the House’s opposition to the package. Even if the bill passes, lawmakers will have a tougher task ahead: finding lasting solutions for nearly every level of the U.S. immigration system, from the undocumented people who already call the country home to the highly educated. and highly trained people who have There is no viable way to migrate and launch new lives here.

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