Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says the package of proposed border security reforms Republicans unveiled Monday is a “total non-starter” that will only imperil the chances of passing money for the war in Ukraine.
He slammed the proposal for being largely drawn from the House-passed Secure the Border Act of 2023, which didn’t pick up a single Democratic vote in the lower chamber.
“If Republicans inject partisanship into otherwise bipartisan priorities, that is only going to make it harder to avoid a shutdown,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “A group of Senate Republicans released a proposal for border security that they want in exchange for Ukraine funding, and they know full well what they came up with is a total non-starter.”
The new Senate GOP proposal would require the Department of Homeland Security to resume construction of the border wall, reform U.S. asylum laws, crack down on the administration’s use of humanitarian parole to release unlawful migrants into the United States, and prohibit migrants from requesting asylum in the United States if they first pass through a safe third country.
“Senate Republicans basically copy and pasted large chunks of the House’s radical H.R. 2 bill and that’s their asking price for helping Ukraine,” Schumer said. “Making Ukraine funding conditional on the hard-right border policies that can’t ever pass Congress is a huge mistake by our Republican colleagues.”
“By tying Ukraine to border, Republicans are sadly making it harder, much harder, for us to help Ukraine in their fight against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” he said.
A White House spokesperson said President Biden “supports comprehensive reforms to our immigration system.”
“If Republicans want to have a serious conversation about reforms that will improve our immigration system, we are open to a discussion. We disagree with many of the policies contained in the new Senate Republican border proposal,” the spokesperson said.
The White House aide said the Senate Republican proposal lacked anything to create an earned path to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers” — based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act — who migrated to the country at a young age and have become productive members of society despite lacking citizenship.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.), however, predicted that Schumer and other Democrats will soften their position on negotiating border security reforms as part of a foreign aid package.
“I would expect him to say that, and I would expect that to be the initial position of the White House as well, but I think they should start sooner rather than later, if we’re going to get action on a supplemental package, in negotiating with our colleagues that put forward that proposal because it does represent the view, a majority view — it doesn’t include everyone — of Republicans,” Thune said. “Our folks have put a lot of work into this. It is a national security issue, there’s no question about.”
“I think he’s going to have to be prepared to negotiate,” Thune said of Schumer.