The ongoing migrant crisis has led to a stalemate between Republicans and Democrats, with no resolution in sight. Despite President Biden’s willingness to make compromises, the two parties remain at loggerheads, resulting in gridlock over a supplemental spending bill.
Recently, Senate Republicans and Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders attempted to pass an emergency spending measure. This measure aimed to provide funding for Israel, Ukraine, and the border. However, it failed to include the border security measures sought by Republicans. Their refusal to support the bill was based on the absence of additional border policy changes and limitations on asylum and humanitarian parole.
The White House had previously requested $110 billion in supplemental funding, which included $14 billion for border security. The proposed funds would have been allocated for shelters, services, hiring officials, transportation, and resources to expand expedited removal. Interestingly, many of these measures were included in the Democratic proposal. However, Republicans have been pushing for more comprehensive changes to border policies.
Among the Republican demands are stricter “credible fear” standards for asylum seekers and limitations on the administration’s use of parole to release migrants into the interior. Some conservatives have even called for the reinstatement of the Remain-in-Mexico policy and the resumption of the border wall. They have clarified that they will oppose any spending bill that does not include these provisions.
A Senate working group proposed measures mainly derived from the House GOP’s border legislation to find common ground. However, their efforts were swiftly rejected by the White House and Senate Democratic leadership. They deemed the proposals a “non-starter.”
Meanwhile, confident Senate Democrats have expressed a willingness to consider policy changes, but only if accompanied by amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the United States. This condition would likely face strong opposition from Republicans and be unpopular among the Republican base.
Other Democrats have shown openness to raising the “credible fear” standard while ruling out changes to parole. Parole has been utilized to bring in tens of thousands of migrants each month, including through the CBP One app at the border and various parole programs for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Afghans, and Ukrainians.
Senator Lindsey Graham stressed the importance of reforming the asylum system, particularly the initial “credible fear” screening. He argued that the current system incentivizes migrants to come to the border, knowing that they will likely be released into the United States with a court date years in the future.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell clarified that Republican support would only be given to a bill that includes border policy changes. He emphasized that fixing the broken asylum and parole system is crucial for national security and not an extraneous issue.