Energy & Technology

Republican lawmakers introduce stringent border control bill for U.S. House approval

Republican lawmakers

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass Republican-backed legislation aimed at stopping illegal drugs and immigrants from crossing the southwestern U.S. border with Mexico. The proposed package includes stringent law enforcement measures, such as requiring asylum seekers to apply for U.S. protection outside the country and expanding federal law enforcement efforts. The bill also calls for the resumption of border wall construction.

Democrats have warned that the bill is likely to be blocked in the Senate. However, some Senate members are hopeful that it will spark negotiations for a comprehensive and bipartisan border security and immigration reform measure in the coming months.

The House scheduled a debate on the legislation ahead of the Thursday midnight expiration of the “Title 42” immigration restriction, which was implemented in 2020 by former President Donald Trump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restriction has allowed U.S. authorities to expel migrants to Mexico without giving them the chance to seek asylum, citing health concerns.

On Wednesday, House Republican leaders had to delay the debate on the bill while working to secure enough votes for passage. At the last minute, provisions for the U.S. agriculture industry to comply with “E-Verify” requirements were scaled back due to concerns that they would make hiring immigrant farm workers too cumbersome.

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Republican Representative Chip Roy argued that the proposed legislation would close loopholes in U.S. asylum and immigrant detention procedures by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to “detain, remove or place in a secure third country” those seeking asylum while awaiting a decision from immigration authorities.

However, Democratic Representative Mary Gay Scanlon countered that the proposed legislation “does nothing more than sow chaos, anger and fear about this important humanitarian system” and “puts the blame on our broken immigration system on the backs of those fleeing violence” in their home countries.

Democrats have called for a broader reform of immigration laws that includes providing pathways to citizenship for some unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. The House voted 215-209 on Wednesday night to clear the bill for a separate vote on passage on Thursday, with no Democrats supporting the move.

In conclusion, the proposed Republican-backed legislation aims to strengthen border security and curb illegal immigration, but it is expected to face opposition in the Senate. Nonetheless, it may lead to negotiations for a comprehensive and bipartisan reform measure in the coming months.

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