The border bill fails a vote in the Senate as Democrats try to highlight Republican resistance

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Republicans have again blocked a bill aimed at limiting the number of migrants allowed to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Chuck Schumer – demanded on Thursday to emphasize the Republican Party’s resistance to this proposal.

The legislation was negotiated by a bipartisan group of senators already rejected by most Republicans in February, when it was linked to a foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies. But as immigration and border security become one of the top issues in this year’s election, Democrats are looking for answers wave of GOP attacksled by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“We gave Republicans a second chance to show where they stand,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said after the vote. “Do they want to fix this so-called emergency, or do they want to show blind allegiance to the former president even if they know he is wrong?”

Schumer is trying to defend a narrow majority in the Senate in this year’s elections and sees Republicans’ rejection of the agreement they negotiated as a political “gift” to Democrats. Seeking to underscore Republican resistance to popular measures, Schumer also plans to introduce a bill in June to protect access to contraception.

The Democratic leader said that “it will show the public who is on which side, and in June we will spend a lot of time talking about reproductive rights.”

On Thursday, a majority of Senate Democrats again supported a procedural vote to begin debate on the border bill, but it failed to achieve a 43-50 majority because all but one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted against it. When the proposal was introduced in February, a test vote failed 49-50 — just shy of the 60 votes needed to advance.

This time, even some of the bill’s main authors, Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, and independent Kyrsten Sinema, did not vote for Schumer’s move.

“Today is not a bill, today is a prop,” Lankford said on the floor before the vote. “Everyone sees it for what it is.”

Sinema called the vote “political theater” that would do nothing to solve problems at the border.

“Using this failure as a political punching bag only punishes those who were brave enough to do the hard work in the first place,” she said.

Republican leaders have spent much of the week condemning the vote as a brazen political maneuver and amplifying a well-worn criticism of President Joe Biden: that he is responsible for the historic number of migrants who have entered the U.S. in recent years.

“As we near the end of President Biden’s term, Americans’ patience with the failure to secure the southern border is wearing thin,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.

Earlier this week, McConnell told reporters: “The president has to respond and do everything he can because clearly the legislation is not going to get approved this year.”

Since the Senate legislation failed in February this year The Biden administration has considered this option implementing regulations on border policy and immigration. It’s already done some changes to the asylum system were intended to speed up the processing and potential removal of migrants. But this week’s Senate test vote was widely seen as part of preparations for Biden to issue more sweeping border measures, potentially as early as June.

After the failed vote, Biden said in a statement that he was “committed to taking action to fix our broken immigration system.”

He also criticized Republicans for blocking the bill, saying it showed they “don’t care about securing the border or fixing America’s broken immigration system.”

The Democratic president was considering using a provision in federal immigration law that gives him the discretion to block certain immigrants from entering the U.S. if doing so would be “detrimental” to the U.S. national interest. Trump has repeatedly exercised this power while in the White House, but some of these actions have faced legal challenges.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters on Monday that legislation that addresses problems at the border – as opposed to executive actions by the president – will be more effective. The Senate legislation would provide more money for Customs and Border Protection officials, asylum officers, immigration judges and border scanning technology – all issues officials say stem from underfunded needs of the immigration and border protection system.

“Laws provide tools that executive action cannot,” Mayorkas said.

The Senate bill aims, among other things, to: taking control of the asylum system who have been overwhelmed at times over the past year. It would ensure that faster and more stringent law enforcement asylum process, as well as giving presidents novel powers to immediately expel migrants if the number of border officials exceeds an average of 4,000 per day during a week.

Even before the bill was fully published earlier this year, Trump has effectively killed this proposal, calling it “senseless” and a “gift” that will enhance Biden’s re-election chances. Top Republicans soon followed suit, and even McConnell, who had initially demanded negotiations on border measures, voted against further action.

A significant number of Democrats have also criticized the proposal, largely because it provides no broad aid for immigrants who have already settled in the United States. On the left, four Democrats, as well as independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Maine, voted against the bill.

“It does not address the root causes of migration or establish more lawful pathways,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, a California Democrat.

The Congressional Latino Caucus said in a statement this week that the Senate bill “is out of step with the moment, presenting a policy that is limited to law enforcement alone and containing no provisions that will allow families to stay together.” They called for executive action that would provide protection from deportation for immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for years or have family ties to U.S. citizens.

Amid the tension, representatives of Biden’s re-election campaign met with CHC leaders on Wednesday to discuss options for reaching Latino communities, and Biden spoke by phone with Rep. Nanette Barragán, the group’s president. She discussed the reasons for the group’s opposition, according to a person familiar with the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.

Schumer said he wants to advance “comprehensive immigration reform” if Democrats win majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives next year.

Still, for Democratic senators facing a tough re-election battle this year, Thursday’s vote provided another opportunity to show they support stricter border measures while also distancing themselves from Biden’s handling of the border.

Sen. Jon Tester, who is trying to hold on to the Democratic ticket in the red-leaning state of Montana, said in a statement: “This common-sense bill will push back on the Biden administration’s failed border policies by forcing the president to close the border, strengthen our asylum laws, and end catch-and-release.”

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts