Conservative activists are up in arms as details of an immigration deal being negotiated in the Senate have been leaked.
The proposed plan suggests that illegal border crossers will be immediately eligible for work permits, and the government will allow up to 5,000 illegal immigrants a day before new expulsion powers kick in.
Rosemary Jenks, government relations director at the Immigration Accountability Project, has been briefing others on the current framework.
She has revealed that it includes a right to government-funded lawyers for illegal immigrant children and would also expand legal immigration, both of which are priorities for President Biden.
In exchange, Republicans are pushing for new limits on attempts to claim asylum and expanded deportation powers. However, there are no significant new restrictions on Homeland Security’s power to “parole” illegal immigrants directly into the U.S. Jenks has criticized the deal, saying she thinks “we’d be lucky if it didn’t increase” the number of illegal immigrants pouring in.
According to her, there is nothing in the deal to stop “catch-and-release.”
Ms. Jenks’s version of the bill has been widely criticized within conservative circles, with activists demanding that the GOP back out of negotiations.
Their primary target is Sen. James Lankford, the Oklahoma lawmaker leading the negotiations. Lankford, for his part, has pleaded for patience from his critics, pointing out that they haven’t seen the bill’s outlines yet.
Despite Lankford’s insistence on the need for generational changes to border security laws, the bill is facing several hurdles.
The current national security spending bill funds Ukraine’s war with Russia and Israel’s war against Hamas, with Republicans saying they cannot pay to enforce Ukraine’s border unless they can assure voters they’ve secured America’s own border.
The White House has acknowledged the border chaos but has resisted major changes to its approach to immigration, insisting instead that it is a global problem, and the only answer is a total overhaul of the U.S. system.