Senate negotiations on immigration have fallen through, threatening to derail Biden’s aid package for Israel and Ukraine
Democrats and Republicans in the US Senate have reportedly failed to reach a deal on a border security package, NBC reported on Tuesday, citing congressional aides with knowledge of the talks. The collapse of negotiations now threatens to derail President Joe Biden’s national security bill, which includes aid to Israel and Ukraine.
The Republican party has for weeks been threatening to block Biden’s $106 billion ‘national security supplemental request’, originally introduced in October, unless it included a spending boost for the US-Mexico border and tighter immigration controls, particularly with regards to asylum and parole laws in immigration proceedings.
GOP lawmakers have proposed detaining all migrants seeking asylum in the US upon entry instead of releasing them into the country while their claims are processed, as is currently the case.
Republican lawmakers have argued that the existing system is constantly being abused as it allows migrants to slip through the cracks.
Democrats, however, have called these demands “extremist,” prompting negotiations to effectively break down, with both parties accusing each other of intractable positions.
One Democratic aide told NBC that, despite Democrats offering several proposals to streamline the processing of asylum claims, Republican senators have insisted on “extreme policies” that would “end asylum as we know it” and effectively “shut down the border.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also blasted Republican senators for holding up negotiations, saying on Monday that the GOP’s border demands were being “dictated by Donald Trump.” The politician stressed that the Democratic party “will not keep going in circles if Republicans aren’t interested in meeting us halfway.”
In response to Schumer’s complaint, Republican Senator John Cornyn said there was “misunderstanding” among Democrats.
“This is not a traditional negotiation, where we expect to come up with a bipartisan compromise on the border. This is a price that has to be paid in order to get the supplemental,” he said.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnel has also countered Schumer’s statement by suggesting that the Democrats were “wasting time with bizarre public scoldings.” He claimed that restoring a “functional” asylum and parole system and ensuring a “meaningful” enforcement of US immigration laws was “a bridge too far for Senate Democrats.”
The collapse of the negotiations comes as Biden’s office has urged Congress to “immediately” resolve the military aid deadlock, emphasizing that “there’s money for Ukraine” in Biden’s spending request that is “desperately needed.”
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