Senate Democrats revive bipartisan border security bill as GOP vows to block it again

Senate Democrats plan to force a Thursday vote on the bipartisan border-security package that Republicans had blocked earlier this season, in an attempt to rewrite the script of immigration politics and expose President Joe Biden’s vulnerability.

Negotiated by Republican and Democratic Senators, the legislation is intended to reduce border crossings. It will also raise the bar to qualify for asylum, and turn away migrants who do not meet that standard. The president is empowered to close the border if a certain set of triggers is met. It would be the largest set of immigration restrictions to have been passed in decades if it became law. Biden has endorsed this bill.

Republicans have said they will again block the bill.

Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) informed members of the floor on Thursday about the vote. He called it “the most comprehensive and strongest border security legislation we’ve ever seen.”


Schumer stated Monday that Republicans would have another opportunity to do what is right this week. “Most people are in agreement that the status quo can’t continue. “Our southern border desperately needs more resources, and our immigration system badly needs repair.”

Schumer said, “All those saying we need to fix the border this week will have a chance to show that they are serious about it.” We’ll need bipartisan support to pass this bill.

The overwhelming Republican opposition is expected to prevent the bill from passing.

The Democrats are bringing the bipartisan immigration bill back to the table as part of a broader strategy for the election year to be on the offensive on this issue, which has been a source of frustration in previous cycles. Biden administration officials, along with top Democratic legislators, have been discussing holding votes on legislation that the GOP will oppose. They also weighed different executive actions Biden might take. The administration has proposed a new rule this month to speed up the asylum process.

Republicans have vowed to filibuster this legislation, as they have done in the past. They dismiss the vote as an exercise in political messaging less than six months from the November elections. Even James Lankford of Oklahoma, who was the Oklahoma Republican that negotiated the border package originally with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kyrsten S. Sinema (I-Ariz.), has pledged to vote against the legislation.

Lankford said to reporters that the government was trying to score points politically rather than solve a real problem. “There has been no attempt to sit and ask, ‘OK what went wrong last time? Let’s try to figure out what went wrong. ‘”

Schumer said that GOP opposition to this bill shows the party does not care about border security and instead is trying to preserve it as a weapon Trump can use in 2024. Trump’s campaign has focused on immigration and the overcrowded border, promising a crackdown.

Since months, the impasse on immigration reform has continued. The blame game between competing House and Senate plans is raging. Schumer, after Murphy Lankford Sinema had announced their historic immigration deal in February, packaged it up with crucial aid for foreign allies including Ukraine and Israel and tried to push through the upper chamber.

The Senate was evenly divided on whether or not to advance the border and national security package. This is far below the 60 votes required to end a filibuster. Only four Republicans voted in favor. Four Democrats also defected. Schumer switched sides due to procedural concerns so that he can bring the bill back up. The final vote was 51-49.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who helped to craft the deal and approved it, ended voting against it after it became apparent that most Republicans would not accept it.

The border bill at the time was packaged along with billions in U.S. foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel. Republicans initially wanted tougher border and asylum laws to support foreign aid. However, they finally agreed to pass Ukraine and Israel measures as a separate bill.

The Senate will vote on a procedural amendment this week to allow the border package to be considered as a separate bill, under the 60-vote requirement.

Although it’s unlikely that it will make it to Congress, Speaker Mike Johnson and his team of GOP leaders issued a joint statement claiming the Senate vote was a non-serious attempt to secure the border. They asked Schumer to bring the more aggressive border bill passed by the House, HR 2, instead of the weaker one, despite the fact that it has no Democratic support.

The GOP leaders stated that “Leader Schumer tries to give his vulnerable Members cover by bringing up a vote on an already failed bill in the Senate, because it would codify many of Biden’s disastrous open border policies which created this crisis first in the beginning.” If it reaches the House, this bill will die on arrival.