Senate Unveils Bipartisan Immigration Overhaul as House GOP Rages

Mandel Ngan/Reuters
Mandel Ngan/Reuters
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A bipartisan group of U.S. senators finally unveiled a long-awaited bill Sunday that, if passed, would starkly change the country’s border and immigration policies for the first time in decades.

The agreement, negotiated by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and James Lankford (R-OK), would cost $118 billion and strengthen immigration enforcement significantly, including by tightening asylum rules to limit the number of people released into the country and enacting a full-scale border shutdown if the number of migrants encountered by federal agents exceeds a specific daily number.

The deal also includes funding for the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel , as well as defense money for the Indo-Pacific.

It’s anything but a done deal, however. The agreement has several high-profile detractors, including House Speaker Mike Johnson and Donald Trump, who both have attacked any deal negotiated in the Senate as too weak.

“This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created,” Johnson posted on X after the release of the bill.

“If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival.”

A number of Republicans have publicly acknowledged that inking any immigration deal could rob the former president of a powerful cudgel against his 2024 opponent, given the salience Republican voters have given to immigration.

Put simply: striking a deal would give President Joe Biden a victory on a key issue—something Trump is trying desperately to avoid.

“A Border Deal now would be another Gift to the Radical Left Democrats,” Trump said on Truth Social earlier this month. “They need it politically.”

Greg Abbott and His Gang of GOP Guvs Throw a Fit at Border Over Biden

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previously said he wants to hold a vote on whether to advance the bill this week, though it faces uncertain odds. The measure needs 60 votes to pass in the Senate.

“Let me be clear: The Senate Border Bill will NOT receive a vote in the House,” Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) wrote in a post on X Sunday night, calling the bill “a magnet for more illegal immigration.”

Despite this pushback, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, threw his support behind the measure Sunday, writing in a statement that the bill features “direct and immediate solutions to the crisis at our southern border.”

“The Senate must carefully consider the opportunity in front of us and prepare to act,” he continued.

Biden likewise voiced his support, saying in his own statement that “it would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed.”

“Get it to my desk so I can sign it into law immediately,” he added.

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