The United States will be able to close the border with Mexico as soon as “it collapses” if Congress adopts a bipartisan bill unveiled on Sunday that toughens immigration policy, a condition of Republicans opening the funds for Ukraine.
It remains to be seen if this text will be approved by Congress in this election year due to the opposition of the hard wing of the conservatives.
The legislative package includes total funding of $118.3 billion, with $60 billion to help war-torn Ukraine—matching the White House’s request—and $14.1 billion to Israel, according to a summary published by the president. of the Senate Appropriations Commission, Patty Murray.
It also includes $20.2 billion for US border security.
The agreement, reached by a group of Republican and Democratic senators, provides for “a new emergency authority to close the border” between the United States and Mexico if “it collapses,” the President reported Joe Biden in a statement.
If adopted, the authorities could restrict border crossings if the daily average of migrants reaches 4,000 a week, but would be obliged to ban them if they exceed an average of 5,000 a day—in a period of seven consecutive days—or 8,500 a week. Read the text of the bipartisan agreement.
The government is limited to using the new authority for 270 days in the first year, 225 days in the second, and 180 days in the third, he added.
During the activation period, the authorities must process at least 1,400 asylum applications at ports of entry “in a safe and orderly manner.”
The agreement also strengthens the standard for so-called credible fear interviews, where they check if there is a possibility of persecution or torture if the person returns to their country.
“It dramatically changes our vague asylum laws by providing speedy trials with a higher standard of proof, limited appeals, and speedy deportations,” Senator James Lankford, the chief negotiator with the Republican Party, said in a statement.
The bill “provides funds to build the wall, increase technology at the border (with Mexico), and add more beds (in detention centers), more agents, and more deportation flights,” he added.
It is not clear that the project has the 60 votes needed to overcome the first vote in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, which is scheduled for Wednesday at the latest.
And it is unlikely to win approval in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
In a message to
“This is worse than we expected and will not end the disaster at the border” that “President Biden has created,” he said.
Trump, a heavy favorite for the Republican presidential nomination, called it, before knowing the content, a “terrible betrayal of open borders.”
Among some Democratic congressmen, especially those of Hispanic origin and defenders of migrants, the agreement also raises the blisters of a party that has promised to work to grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants. who has lived in the United States for many years.
And Biden came to the White House with a promise on human migration to abandon the heavy-handed policy under Trump that allowed the separation of families at the Mexican border.
“Although this agreement does not address everything I would like, these reforms are essential to making our border more orderly, secure, fair, and humane,” Biden said in the statement.
“It will speed up work permits so that those who are here and qualified can work faster, and it will create more opportunities for families to be reunited through short-term visits and greater permanent legal ways,” said the Democrat.
Republicans accused him of implementing a policy of open borders. They are based on record-breaking statistics. In December, border authorities intercepted migrants and asylum seekers at the southern border 302,000 times.
“It’s more of the same; they don’t want to go to the bottom,” said Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on Thursday. “Imagine what it feels like to close the border! How long will it stay closed? “It will harm both countries,” he added.
The new restrictions are reminiscent of the Title 42 policy, a health regulation implemented during the pandemic that allowed almost all migrants to be blocked at the border.
“Deporting migrants seeking protection means sending some of them back to potential danger,” said Adam Isacson, an expert at WOLA, in an analysis published by this NGO.
He considers it a “violation of human rights.” These “deportation policies and ‘bottlenecks’ also increase the income of organized crime and corrupt officials in Mexico,” the country where most were returned, he estimated.