Thursday, June 20, 2024

Senate Will Try Again to Pass Border Bill, Schumer Says

The Senate will hold a second vote on the touted “bipartisan” border bill this week, more than three months after the bill failed to pass the first time, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday.

The bill—which Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla.; Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., originally negotiated—is expected to fail again this week. Schumer, D-N.Y., acknowledged in a letter to his colleagues Sunday that he “does not expect all Democrats to support this legislation,” adding “nor do I expect all Republicans to agree to every provision.”  

Schumer laid blame for the bill’s failure in February on former President Donald Trump, who, according to the New York Democrat, “demanded congressional Republicans kill the legislation.”  

On Feb. 5, two days before the Senate voted on the border bill the first time, Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social, “Only a fool, or a Radical Left Democrat, would vote for this horrendous Border Bill, which only gives Shutdown Authority after 5,000 Encounters a day, when we already have the right to CLOSE THE BORDER NOW, which must be done.”

Trump went on to call the bill a “gift to the Democrats,” declaring the legislation “takes the HORRIBLE JOB the Democrats have done on Immigration and the Border, absolves them, and puts it all squarely on the shoulders of Republicans.”  

The bill does, as Trump said in February, direct the Department of Homeland Security to close the southern border “during a period of seven consecutive calendar days, [if] there is an average of 5,000 or more aliens who are encountered each day.” 

More than 1.8 million illegal aliens a year still would be permitted to enter the United States under the legislation. The bill also would give the president the authority to “direct the [Homeland Security secretary] to suspend use of the border emergency authority on an emergency basis.”   

The reintroduction of the bill comes as President Joe Biden is expected to soon take executive action on the border, and border and immigration issues remain a top concern for voters.

“I hope Republicans and Democrats can work together to pass the bipartisan Border Act this coming week,” Schumer said in Sunday’s “Dear Colleagues” letter. “At the end of the day, the American people deserve political leaders who will work towards bipartisan solutions, and that is what we are prepared to do in the United States Senate this coming week.”  

In response to Schumer’s announcement, the pro-border security organization The Immigration Accountability Project labeled the bill a “joke” and called on Schumer to “Pass HR 2, not this bill that codifies the Biden border crisis!”  

The House passed HR 2, or the Secure the Border Act of 2023, a year ago. The bill would end “catch-and-release,” restart construction of the border wall, and reinstate the Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy. The Senate has yet to take up HR 2.