House Republicans rolled out a sweeping package of border and immigration bills Thursday they plan to pass the same week the Title 42 border barrier ends in May.
The package is a combination of legislation from three committees that House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) touted as “the strongest border security package that Congress has ever taken up.”
The three committees’ chairmen, Reps. Mark Green (R-TN), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Michael McCaul (R-TX), introduced their respective components at a press conference while tearing into the Biden administration for its open borders posture, which has attracted a staggering five million illegal migrants to the southern border since January 2021, according to federal data.
Green, factoring in an estimated 1.4 million who have crossed the border undetected, said the more than six million illegal migrant crossings is “greater than all of the folks who came in under President Obama and President Trump — 12 years combined — in just two years.”
Green’s panel, the Homeland Security Committee, passed its bill to address the physical, border-level aspects of the crisis early Thursday morning.
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) April 27, 2023
The bill would require construction on the incomplete border wall to resume immediately, allocate funding for retention bonuses for U.S. Border Patrol agents, and withhold federal funding from any nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that continue their well-documented practice of aiding illegal migrants with food, shelter, and travel.
Jordan’s bill, which passed the Judiciary Committee last week, focuses on immigration enforcement policies.
It would reform the broken and abused asylum process that has driven up the number of cases backlogged in immigration courts to more than 2 million, according to data from TRAC, Syracuse University.
Most of those claiming they are eligible for asylum are not detained when they cross the border, but rather released into the country. Their asylum hearings, if they appear for them, take an average of more than four years to occur, TRAC data found.
The bill would replace Title 42 — one of the last remaining means of quickly expelling illegal migrants, which the Biden administration is terminating on May 11 — with a more powerful expulsion justification for illegal crossers.
The bill would also curb the Biden administration’s practice of rushing to process illegal unaccompanied minors into the country at the expense of safety and humaneness, as well as mandate E-verify for all U.S. employers.
McCaul’s portion of the package is smaller and zeroes in on forcing the Biden administration to enter into agreements with other countries if those agreements would work to bring the asylum process under control.
Advocates seeking to rein in migration largely approve of Republicans’ package, but they acknowledge it is ultimately a “messaging bill” that faces certain failure in the Democrat-controlled Senate, despite solidifying the GOP border and immigration agenda.
While all or nearly all House Republicans are expected to vote for the final package, all or nearly all House Democrats are expected to oppose it.
The legislation aims to install deterrents while stripping away incentives for illegal migration, but Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) argues his committee’s portion is “heartless.”
He contends it would take the country back to what he calls the “radical, inhumane, and racist” policies of the Trump administration, but Nadler repeatedly fails to acknowledge the glaring surge in illegal migration under the Biden administration.
Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-MD), who serves on both the Judiciary and Homeland Committees, told Breitbart News he felt the Homeland bill in particular was “rushed” and took issue with the border wall provision, which he said was “not serious legislation,” and the NGO provision, which he lamented was authored without consulting would-be affected groups like the Red Cross and Catholic Charities.
“You’re talking about cutting those folks off if they give, you know, a bed to somebody or something, right? It’s pretty dramatic to me,” Ivey said.