Democrats Revive US Border Security Bill As Election Looms


Democrats revive US border security bill as election looms

Washington, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 21st May, 2024) The US Senate's Democratic leadership said Monday it would reintroduce a sweeping border security bill killed by Republicans as the party of President Joe Biden seeks the upper hand on a key election issue.

Polling has repeatedly identified uncontrolled immigration as a top concern for voters ahead of November's presidential rematch between Biden and his Republican rival Donald Trump, with illegal crossings from Mexico at historic highs.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would bring the Border Act -- hammered out over months of negotiations by a Republican, a Democrat and an independent -- back to the floor Thursday, although it has almost no chance of success.

The measure was supported by Democrats facing tough congressional elections, but was blocked by Republicans in February amid opposition from former president Trump, who is making the border a central campaign issue.

"(When) we released this bill earlier this year, many of our Republican colleagues were surprised at how strong it was, at least in private. For a short while, it seemed like we finally had a bill both parties could link arms on and pass together," Schumer said.

"Of course, we all know what happened. Donald Trump happened. He barged into the border debate and publicly came out against the bill, and the rest of his Republican supporters fell in place like dominos."

Republicans see the bill's revival as a political exercise intended to boost Democrats in tight races and deflect from Biden's record on the border, which saw record illegal entries at the end of last year.

Schumer is vying to cling to a razor-thin 51-49 Senate majority, with 10 Republicans and 23 Democrats up for reelection in November and his five most vulnerable members all in seats where immigration is a top issue.

The bill -- which reforms the asylum system, boosts staffing at the southern border and provides emergency powers to shut it down when crossings meet a certain threshold -- represents the strictest immigration crackdown in a generation.

But it will likely fail even to get a simple majority -- let alone the 60 votes required to overcome blocking tactics in the chamber.

Schumer acknowledged that not every Democrat will support the legislation, with Hispanic members and a handful of progressives expected to join every Republican in voting no.

Republican House leaders issued a statement Monday saying the bill would be "dead on arrival" if it ever came to the lower chamber for consideration.

The House passed a "Secure the Border Act" last year that Republicans say would end the crisis through measures including resumed border wall construction and the reinstatement of a Trump policy requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico.

The measure aims to purge the country of undocumented workers through mass surveillance while making it harder to claim asylum, slashing services to undocumented immigrants and rolling back protections for migrant children.

Democrats argue the sweeping legislation amounts to one of the most draconian immigration bills Congress has ever seen. It has not been introduced in the Senate.