California Senator Padilla splits with Biden over proposed immigration and foreign aid package

(Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

California Senator Padilla splits with Biden over proposed immigration and foreign aid package

Immigration and the border

Sarah D. Wire

February 5, 2024

California Senator Alex Padilla said the $118 billion bipartisan border and foreign aid bill backed by President Biden “misses the point.”

“It is critical that we support our allies in their fight to defend democracy and provide humanitarian assistance, but not at the cost of dismantling our asylum system while ultimately failing to alleviate problems at our border.” , Padilla said in a statement on Sunday.

The bill, which amounts to a wish list of Republican Party immigration priorities, has been negotiated by Democrats and Republicans over several months and is one of the most conservative packages to receive the support of a Democratic president in decades. Biden said Sunday he would sign it if Congress approved it.

Immigration and border control have taken center stage politically as asylum seekers arrive in the United States in record numbers. Even Biden’s state-level allies in the Democratic Party have begged him to act.

By agreeing to support such a conservative bill, Biden may be hoping he can do just that

to take

partially neutralize the border as a political issue. Former President Trump has used criticism of Biden in their expected 2024 rematch.

The legislation does not address the citizenship of the millions of people living in the country illegally, including agricultural workers and people brought to the country as children, often called “dreamers.”

It raises the threshold for asylum seekers, limits presidential authority to release people entered from countries facing war or persecution, and implements a new expedited removal process.

It also requires the border to be closed when 5,000 arrests are made every day. If that happens, anyone caught trying to enter the country will be immediately deported without an asylum investigation. Asylum applications can still be submitted at ports of entry.

Padilla personally warned Biden in mid-December against joining the Republican Party on immigration to get the one-time aid to Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies.

“The deal includes a new version of a failed Trump-era immigration policy that will cause more chaos at the border, not less. It is contrary to our international treaties and obligations to allow people to apply for asylum. tackle the root causes of migration. And it provides no relief for Dreamers, farmworkers and our country’s other undocumented long-term residents who contribute billions to our economy, work in essential jobs and make America stronger,” he said. in the statement.

Padilla joins other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who say they were not given a chance to weigh in on the deal.

“They are trying to pass far-reaching legislation without the cooperation of key stakeholders: immigrant communities and those who represent them. Can you imagine a voting rights deal being made without the input from start to finish from the Congressional Black Caucus? Unbelievable!” said Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in a statement.

California Senator Laphonza Butler, also a Democrat, has not publicly commented on the proposed legislation.

The Senate is expected to hold an initial vote on the bill on Wednesday to get a sense of whether the legislation has a chance of passing the 60-vote threshold. Although backed by Republican Senate leaders, several Republican senators already say it doesn’t go far enough to get their support.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are also lining up behind Trump’s opposition to the bill. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Monday that the bill will be “dead on arrival” if it reaches the House.

In a Truth Social post Sunday, Trump urged Republicans not to support the bill.

“This bill is a great gift to Democrats and a death wish to the Republican Party,” he said in the post.


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