NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, February 4th, 2024

Senate’s bipartisan national security deal unveiled; House Republicans vow to nix it

With enthu­si­as­tic back­ing from the Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion, a bipar­ti­san group of Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors tonight unveiled the text of pro­posed nation­al secu­ri­ty leg­is­la­tion that would increase aid to Ukraine and Israel while mak­ing sub­stan­tial changes to Amer­i­can immi­gra­tion and nat­u­ral­iza­tion poli­cies. At the same time, House Repub­li­cans pro­claimed it dead on arrival, say­ing it has no chance of even being con­sid­ered in Con­gress’ larg­er cham­ber, which they cur­rent­ly control.

“[I]t would be easy to just keep immi­gra­tion and bor­der pol­i­cy as a polit­i­cal cud­gel for anoth­er forty years,” said Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Chris Mur­phy of Con­necti­cut, one of the nego­tia­tors. (Inde­pen­dent Sen­a­tor Kyrsten Sine­ma of Ari­zona and Repub­li­can James Lank­ford of Okla­homa were the oth­er key fig­ures at the nego­ti­at­ing table.) “But pol­i­tics at its best is about find­ing bipar­ti­san com­pro­mise on the tough­est issues. That’s what we’ve done here.”

Mur­phy cit­ed the fol­low­ing as high­lights of the bill:

  • A quick­er, fair­er asy­lum process. No more 10 year wait. Claims processed in a non-detained, non-adver­sar­i­al way in 6 months.
  • A slight­ly high­er asy­lum screen­ing stan­dard at the border.
  • Also, no more wait­ing for work per­mits. Most asy­lum seek­ers can work immediately.
  • A brand new right to legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion for all immi­grants. Remem­ber when Trump denied lawyers to vic­tims of the Mus­lim ban? Nev­er again.
  • And…the first ever gov­ern­ment paid-for lawyers for young unac­com­pa­nied minors. A long stand­ing injus­tice righted.
  • A require­ment the Pres­i­dent to fun­nel asy­lum claims to the land ports of entry when more than 5,000 peo­ple cross a day. The bor­der nev­er clos­es, but claims must be processed at the ports. This allows for a more a more order­ly, humane asy­lum pro­cess­ing system.
  • But… impor­tant checks on that pow­er. It can only be used for a lim­it­ed num­ber of days per year. It sun­sets in three years. Emer­gency cas­es that show up in between the ports still need to be accept­ed. The ports must process a min­i­mum of 1,400 claims a day.
  • You can’t reduce arrivals at the bor­der with­out allow­ing for more legal immi­gra­tion. So, more visas! 50,000 extra employ­ment and fam­i­ly reuni­fi­ca­tion visas each year for the next five years. And a brand new visa cat­e­go­ry to allow non-cit­i­zens to vis­it fam­i­ly in the U.S.
  • A clar­i­fi­ca­tion of how human­i­tar­i­an parole is used at the land bor­ders, but no changes to the Pres­i­den­t’s abil­i­ty to bring in vet­ted, spon­sored migrants through the pro­gram known as CNHV (Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela parole).
  • A new path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for Afghan parolees (the Afghan Adjust­ment Act) and the chil­dren of H1B hold­ers (these kids are often cur­rent­ly sub­ject to depor­ta­tion when they become 21).

“The bill helps fix the bor­der and reform our bro­ken asy­lum sys­tem. But it doesn’t devi­ate from our nation’s core val­ues,” Mur­phy argued.

“We are a nation that res­cues peo­ple from ter­ror and vio­lence. We are a nation that is stronger because of our tra­di­tion of immi­gra­tion. Peri­od. Stop.”

The reac­tion on the oth­er side of the rotun­da was cold­er than icy.

“I’ve seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expect­ed, and won’t come close to end­ing the bor­der cat­a­stro­phe the Pres­i­dent has cre­at­ed,” grum­bled ultra MAGA House Speak­er Mike John­son, a Don­ald Trump syco­phant. “As the lead Demo­c­rat [sic] nego­tia­tor pro­claimed: Under this leg­is­la­tion, ‘the bor­der nev­er clos­es.’ If this bill reach­es the House, it will be dead on arrival.”

“Let me be clear: The Sen­ate Bor­der Bill will not receive a vote in the House,” tweet­ed House Major­i­ty Leader Steve Scalise, the num­ber two House Repub­li­can behind John­son. “Here’s what the peo­ple push­ing this ‘deal’ aren’t telling you: It accepts 5,000 ille­gal immi­grants a day and gives auto­mat­ic work per­mits to asy­lum recip­i­ents — a mag­net for more ille­gal immigration.”

The Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion embraced the deal, ignor­ing Scalise’s negativity.

“Our immi­gra­tion sys­tem has been bro­ken for decades,” said Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris in a state­ment pro­vid­ed by the White House. “That is why Pres­i­dent Biden and I have spent the last three years putting for­ward solu­tions to fix it and address the root caus­es of migra­tion. On the first day of our Admin­is­tra­tion, we sent a com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform bill to Con­gress that includ­ed an increase in fund­ing for bor­der secu­ri­ty and a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for immi­grants, such as Dream­ers who have been here for years.”

“We have part­nered with coun­tries in the West­ern Hemi­sphere to address glob­al pres­sures that are forc­ing peo­ple from their homes, and worked with the pri­vate sec­tor to pro­mote invest­ment in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. Last Octo­ber, as part of our nation­al secu­ri­ty sup­ple­men­tal request, we asked for $14 bil­lion for bor­der secu­ri­ty, which would increase per­son­nel and tech­nol­o­gy to secure the bor­der and pro­vide assis­tance to cities to man­age the influx of migrants.”

“At each step, we have been clear: Con­gress must act. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we have too often been met with those who sought to play polit­i­cal games instead of par­tic­i­pat­ing in solu­tions. For the past two months, Pres­i­dent Biden, mem­bers of our Admin­is­tra­tion, and bipar­ti­san Sen­ate nego­tia­tors have worked togeth­er. Thanks to their col­lab­o­ra­tion, addi­tion­al solu­tions are now at hand.”

“Con­gress must quick­ly pass this agreement.”

“This pack­age will also ensure that the Unit­ed States can con­tin­ue to ful­fill its role of glob­al lead­er­ship by sup­port­ing the peo­ple of Ukraine in their brave fight against unpro­voked Russ­ian aggres­sion; pro­vid­ing Israel what it needs to defend itself against Hamas ter­ror­ists; ensur­ing life-sav­ing human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple; and strength­en­ing our allies and part­ners in the Indo-Pacific.”

“This agree­ment on bor­der secu­ri­ty and immi­gra­tion does not include every­thing we have fought for over the past three years — and we will con­tin­ue to fight for these pri­or­i­ties – but it shows: we can make the bor­der more secure while pre­serv­ing legal immi­gra­tion, con­sis­tent with our val­ues as a nation.”

“Let us remem­ber: we are a nation of immi­grants. Immi­grants have always helped strength­en our coun­try, grow our econ­o­my, and dri­ve inno­va­tion. We know that in Amer­i­ca, diver­si­ty is our strength. So rather than politi­cize this issue, let us all address it with the urgency and seri­ous­ness it requires.”

Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal took a stark­ly dif­fer­ent oppos­ing view, say­ing that the leg­is­la­tion is need­less­ly puni­tive and problematic.

“I am still review­ing the text of this pro­pos­al, which was con­struct­ed under Repub­li­can hostage-tak­ing and refusal to fund aid for Ukraine with­out cru­el­ty toward immi­grants,” began a state­ment from Jaya­pal, the head of the Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus and a long­time cham­pi­on of immi­grant rights.

“How­ev­er, it is already clear it includes poi­son pill pro­vi­sions such as new Title 42-like expul­sion author­i­ty that will close the bor­der and turn away asy­lum seek­ers with­out due process, a boon to car­tels who prey on migrants.”

“For migrants who are able to seek asy­lum, they would now be sub­ject to unre­al­is­tic stan­dards and time­lines under which to present their asy­lum claims, forc­ing too many peo­ple back to cer­tain death, dis­crim­i­na­tion, or oth­er harm. The bill also lim­its parole at land ports of entry which will only dis­in­cen­tivize peo­ple com­ing to ports to be processed in a safe and order­ly way.”

“This enforce­ment-only approach in the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion will not be able to mean­ing­ful­ly relieve pres­sure on the south­ern bor­der — in fact these sim­i­lar pro­vi­sions, when uti­lized by Don­ald Trump, only made things worse, increas­ing ille­gal bor­der cross­ings by over 300 per­cent dur­ing his tenure as pres­i­dent,” Jaya­pal not­ed. “As we saw under Trump, it would also lead to inhu­mane camps on the Mex­i­co side of the bor­der and fur­ther embold­en cartels.”

“It does not cre­ate any addi­tion­al legal and safe path­ways for the migrants who are arriv­ing or do any­thing for the immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties who have lived in lim­bo, wait­ing for a roadmap to cit­i­zen­ship, for decades.”

“There is no ques­tion that we need sig­nif­i­cant changes to our immi­gra­tion sys­tem. It is long over­due for mod­ern­iza­tion to allow for effi­cient and order­ly pro­cess­ing of migrants who seek to come to the Unit­ed States and to increase legal path­ways for work and fam­i­ly visas, refugees, and asy­lum seek­ers. How­ev­er, this pro­pos­al includes none of the thought­ful reforms to do that or to actu­al­ly address the sit­u­a­tion at the bor­der in a humane way that rec­og­nizes the con­tri­bu­tions immi­grants make to our econ­o­my and our communities.

“While Don­ald Trump abhor­rent­ly says, ‘immi­grants are poi­son­ing the blood of our coun­try,’ con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans con­tin­ue to open­ly admit they’d pre­fer the pol­i­tics of a bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem to a func­tion­al, just process.”

“Democ­rats have giv­en in to these extrem­ist views over and over again for thir­ty years. By refus­ing to make the struc­tur­al changes in the Sen­ate need­ed to pass true reforms, allow­ing MAGA Repub­li­cans to lie to the Amer­i­can pub­lic, and declin­ing to stand up and defend immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties, it appears that Pres­i­dent Biden and Sen­ate Democ­rats have fall­en into the same trap again.”

“We have clear evi­dence that shows the way to reduce bor­der cross­ings is to estab­lish legal path­ways, includ­ing the abil­i­ty for migrants to apply to come to the U.S. in their home coun­tries, and increase resources to pro­vide order­ly pro­cess­ing at the bor­der and of visa back­logs. No amount of tough rhetoric or enforce­ment-only poli­cies will change that reality.”

“The Sen­ate will try to sell this so-called deal by point­ing to some addi­tion­al green cards and fix­es for small immi­grant groups. How­ev­er, let’s be clear: minor visa tweaks in exchange for shut­ting down the asy­lum sys­tem and exact­ing fur­ther harm on the vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple seek­ing refuge in the Unit­ed States is not seri­ous reform and it once again throws immi­grants under the polit­i­cal bus.

“I will con­tin­ue to close­ly exam­ine the text released today, but I can­not sup­port a pro­pos­al that fails to learn from thir­ty years of data and would only repeat our mis­takes — with migrant lives in the crosshairs.”

The White House is well aware that the votes prob­a­bly don’t exist to pass this leg­is­la­tion in the House — and even if they did, Speak­er Mike John­son and his ultra MAGA allies would nev­er bring it up for consideration.

John­son has admit­ted House Repub­li­cans are tak­ing orders from Don­ald Trump, and Trump does­n’t want any deal to reach Pres­i­dent Biden’s desk for sig­na­ture, no mat­ter how many con­ces­sions to Repub­li­can demands it might contain.

For the admin­is­tra­tion, this deal appears to be a sort of elec­tion-year tri­an­gu­la­tion maneu­ver, designed to take some of the wind out of the sails of Repub­li­cans want­i­ng to run hard on immi­gra­tion this year. After the agree­ment goes nowhere, Biden and Har­ris will be able to cred­i­bly say, we were ready to com­pro­mise and do a deal with the Repub­li­cans to address what is hap­pen­ing at the bor­der, but the extrem­ists in their par­ty did Don­ald Trump’s bid­ding and said no.

In the future, if Democ­rats regain a fed­er­al tri­fec­ta, the Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus would effec­tive­ly have a veto over any deal because its mem­bers’ votes would like­ly be need­ed to pass it in the House, where­as Sen­ate Repub­li­cans could lose their veto if the fil­i­buster were to final­ly be retired.

The “deal” Biden and Har­ris have just agreed to is thus prob­a­bly the most favor­able arrange­ment Repub­li­cans could pos­si­bly hope to get under divid­ed gov­ern­ment. And yet John­son and Scalise are reject­ing it with­out even a sec­ond thought. That says a lot about the sor­ry state of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics in 2024.

Below is a fact sheet from the White House pro­mot­ing the agreement.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Har­ris Admin­is­tra­tion Calls on Con­gress to Imme­di­ate­ly Pass the Bipar­ti­san Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agreement

The Biden-Har­ris Admin­is­tra­tion strong­ly sup­ports the bipar­ti­san agree­ment announced in the Sen­ate that would address a num­ber of press­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty issues. Pres­i­dent Biden has repeat­ed­ly said he is will­ing to work in a bipar­ti­san way to secure the bor­der and fix our bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem. From his first day in office, he has called on Con­gress to act and over the course of sev­er­al months, his admin­is­tra­tion has worked with a bipar­ti­san group of Sen­a­tors on impor­tant reforms and nec­es­sary funding.

This agree­ment, if passed into law, would be the tough­est and fairest set of reforms to secure the bor­der we’ve had in decades. It will make our coun­try safer, make our bor­der more secure, and treat peo­ple fair­ly and humane­ly while pre­serv­ing legal immi­gra­tion, con­sis­tent with our val­ues as a nation.

This bipar­ti­san nation­al secu­ri­ty agree­ment would also advance our nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests by con­tin­u­ing our sup­port for the peo­ple of Ukraine and Israel as they defend them­selves against tyran­ny and ter­ror­ism while also pro­vid­ing much-need­ed human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to civil­ians affect­ed by con­flicts around the world. The Biden-Har­ris Admin­is­tra­tion calls on Con­gress to not delay and imme­di­ate­ly pass the bipar­ti­san nation­al secu­ri­ty agreement.

Pro­vides Tem­po­rary Emer­gency Author­i­ty for the Pres­i­dent to Shut Down the Bor­der When the Sys­tem is Overwhelmed

  • Estab­lish­es a new tem­po­rary author­i­ty, the “Bor­der Emer­gency Author­i­ty,” that allows the Pres­i­dent and Sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­ri­ty to tem­porar­i­ly pro­hib­it indi­vid­u­als from seek­ing asy­lum, with lim­it­ed excep­tions, when the South­west Bor­der is over­whelmed. The author­i­ty pre­serves access to oth­er pro­tec­tions, con­sis­tent with our inter­na­tion­al oblig­a­tions, and will sun­set after three years.
  • Impor­tant­ly, this author­i­ty is to be used when the num­ber of migrants encoun­tered at the bor­der reach­es very high lev­els – lev­els that strain the U.S. government’s abil­i­ty to process migrants.  Addi­tion­al­ly, the author­i­ty is lim­it­ed to a set num­ber of days each cal­en­dar year – in the third year of imple­men­ta­tion the author­i­ty may only be exer­cised for half of a giv­en cal­en­dar year.
  • The Unit­ed States is a coun­try of refuge for those flee­ing per­se­cu­tion. For that rea­son, the leg­is­la­tion requires asy­lum access be pre­served for a min­i­mum num­ber of indi­vid­u­als per day, lim­it­ed to those using a safe and order­ly process at ports of entry, when the author­i­ty is invoked.

Expe­dites Access to Work Autho­riza­tion for Hun­dreds of Thou­sands of Migrants

  • Ensures that those who are here and qual­i­fy are able to get to work faster. It pro­vides work autho­riza­tion to asy­lum seek­ers once they receive a pos­i­tive pro­tec­tion screen­ing deter­mi­na­tion. This will allow asy­lum seek­ers to begin to sup­port them­selves and their fam­i­lies in the Unit­ed States much ear­li­er than the cur­rent 180-day statu­to­ri­ly required wait­ing peri­od, which only begins after an indi­vid­ual sub­mits an asy­lum appli­ca­tion.  This will also reduce the resource strain on our cities and states who have been sup­port­ing asy­lum seek­ers dur­ing this exist­ing wait­ing period.
  • This bill pro­vides work autho­riza­tion to approx­i­mate­ly 25,000 K‑1, K‑2, and K‑3 non­im­mi­grant visa hold­ers (fiancé or spouse and chil­dren of U.S. cit­i­zens) per year, and about 100,000 H‑4 spous­es and chil­dren of cer­tain H‑1B non­im­mi­grant visa hold­ers who have com­plet­ed immi­grant peti­tions (tem­po­rary skilled work­ers) per year, so they no longer have to apply and wait for approval before they can begin work­ing in the Unit­ed States.

Estab­lish­es an Effi­cient and Fair Process for Con­sid­er­a­tion of Asy­lum and oth­er Pro­tec­tion Claims by those arriv­ing at our South­west Border

  • Today, the process to get to a final deci­sion on a migrant’s asy­lum claim can take 5–7 years.  That is far too long.  Once ful­ly imple­ment­ed, this bipar­ti­san agree­ment would – for the first time – give the Admin­is­tra­tion the author­i­ty and resources to reduce that process to 6 months.  This gets peo­ple quick deci­sions on their asy­lum claims rather than leav­ing them and their fam­i­lies in lim­bo for years.
  • The agree­ment also for the first time gives Asy­lum Offi­cers the author­i­ty to grant a claim at the pro­tec­tion screen­ing stage if the case is clear and con­vinc­ing, there­by reduc­ing the strain on the asy­lum system.

Recal­i­brates the Asy­lum Screen­ing Process

  • Moves con­sid­er­a­tion of statu­to­ry bars to asy­lum eli­gi­bil­i­ty, such as crim­i­nal con­vic­tions, into the screen­ing stage. This will ensure that those who pose a pub­lic safe­ty or nation­al secu­ri­ty risk are removed as quick­ly in the process as pos­si­ble rather than remain­ing in pro­longed, cost­ly deten­tion pri­or to removal.
  • Mod­i­fies the screen­ing thresh­old for asy­lum from “sig­nif­i­cant pos­si­bil­i­ty” to “rea­son­able pos­si­bil­i­ty,” with the goal of mak­ing it more like­ly that those who are screened in to pur­sue pro­tec­tion claims are ulti­mate­ly found to have a valid asy­lum claim.  Cur­rent­ly, of all migrants screened in and allowed to go to the next phase, only rough­ly 20 per­cent are ulti­mate­ly grant­ed asylum.

Pro­vides Crit­i­cal Fund­ing for Com­bat­ting Smug­gling and Drug Traf­fick­ing, Bor­der Secu­ri­ty, and Asy­lum Processing

  • Funds the instal­la­tion of 100 cut­ting-edge inspec­tion machines to help detect fen­tanyl at our South­west Bor­der ports of entry.
  • Over 1,500 new U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (CBP) per­son­nel includ­ing Bor­der Patrol Agents and CBP Officers.
  • Over 4,300 new Asy­lum Offi­cers and addi­tion­al U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices staff to facil­i­tate time­ly and fair decisions.
  • 100 new immi­gra­tion judge teams to help reduce the asy­lum case­load back­log and adju­di­cate cas­es more quickly.
  • Shel­ter and crit­i­cal ser­vices for new­com­ers in our cities and states.
  • 1,200 new U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment per­son­nel for func­tions includ­ing enforce­ment and deportations.
  • More resources to fund trans­porta­tion needs to enable increased removals.
  • Sup­port to part­ner nations host­ing large num­bers of migrants and refugees, and fund­ing to part­ner nations to ensure coop­er­a­tion in accept­ing returns asso­ci­at­ed with the imple­men­ta­tion of the Bor­der Emer­gency Author­i­ty.

Strength­ens Fed­er­al Law Against Fen­tanyl Trafficking

  • Declares that inter­na­tion­al traf­fick­ing of fen­tanyl is a nation­al emer­gency and gives the Pres­i­dent author­i­ty to impose sanc­tions on any for­eign per­son know­ing­ly involved in sig­nif­i­cant traf­fick­ing of fen­tanyl by a transna­tion­al crim­i­nal organization.
  • Allows for trans­fer of sanc­tioned per­sons’ for­feit­ed prop­er­ty to for­fei­ture funds and autho­rizes Trea­sury to impose addi­tion­al restric­tions against sanc­tioned per­sons upon a deter­mi­na­tion that their trans­ac­tions are of pri­ma­ry mon­ey laun­der­ing concern.
  • Directs Treasury’s Finan­cial Crimes Enforce­ment Net­work to issue guid­ance on fil­ing sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions reports relat­ed to fen­tanyl traf­fick­ing by transna­tion­al crim­i­nal organizations.

Increas­es Law­ful Path­ways to Come to the Unit­ed States

  • For the first time in over 30 years, rais­es the cap on the num­ber of immi­grant visas avail­able annu­al­ly by adding an addi­tion­al 250,000 immi­grant visas over 5 years (50,000/year).  160,000 of these visas will be fam­i­ly-based, and the oth­er 90,000 will be employment-based.
  • These addi­tion­al immi­grant visas expand law­ful path­ways to the Unit­ed States, pri­or­i­tiz­ing fam­i­ly reuni­fi­ca­tion and reduc­ing the time fam­i­lies have to spend apart, and get U.S. busi­ness­es access to addi­tion­al workers.
  • Estab­lish­es a faster path­way to per­ma­nent sta­tus for the approx­i­mate­ly 76,000 Afghan allies who entered the Unit­ed States under Oper­a­tion Allies Wel­come and their families.

Pro­motes Fam­i­ly Uni­ty and Sta­bil­i­ty for Noncitizens

  • Pro­vides relief to over 250,000 indi­vid­u­als who came to the Unit­ed States as chil­dren on their par­ents’ work visa.  These indi­vid­u­als have resided law­ful­ly in the Unit­ed States since they were chil­dren and have estab­lished lives here in the U.S but have since “aged out” of con­tin­u­ing to receive law­ful sta­tus through their par­ents and have no oth­er means of law­ful­ly remain­ing in the Unit­ed States with their fam­i­lies. Nonci­t­i­zens who lived law­ful­ly in the Unit­ed States as a depen­dent child of an employ­ment-based non­im­mi­grant for at least 8 years before turn­ing 21 will be eli­gi­ble to remain tem­porar­i­ly in the Unit­ed States with work authorization.
  • In sup­port of fam­i­ly uni­ty, the bill makes clear that cer­tain nonci­t­i­zens can trav­el to the Unit­ed States on a tem­po­rary vis­i­tor (B) visa to vis­it their fam­i­ly members.

Ensure the Humane and Fair Treat­ment of Those Seek­ing Asy­lum, Espe­cial­ly the Most Vulnerable 

  • Chil­dren should not be expect­ed to rep­re­sent them­selves in a court – and this agree­ment will pro­vide, for the first time, gov­ern­ment-man­dat­ed and fund­ed legal coun­sel for unac­com­pa­nied chil­dren age 13 or younger as they go through the process to seek asy­lum.  The bill would also pro­vide coun­sel to par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble, men­tal­ly incom­pe­tent adults.
  • Strength­ens legal require­ments that migrants always be pro­vid­ed with clear and acces­si­ble infor­ma­tion about their rights, includ­ing their right to counsel.
  • Man­dates that only trained Asy­lum Offi­cers are per­mit­ted to con­duct pro­tec­tion screenings.

Ukraine:

  • Pro­vides crit­i­cal­ly-need­ed mil­i­tary aid to help the peo­ple of Ukraine defend them­selves against Russ­ian aggres­sion.  Rus­sia con­tin­ues to launch aer­i­al assaults on Ukrain­ian cities and is active­ly attack­ing Ukrain­ian forces.
  • Invests in our defense indus­tri­al base, sup­port­ing Amer­i­can jobs across our coun­try, and pro­duce weapons and equip­ment that the Unit­ed States can send Ukraine to help Ukraine’s mil­i­tary pro­tect its peo­ple, defend against Russ­ian attacks, and suc­ceed on the battlefield.
  • Enables the Unit­ed States to con­tin­ue to send eco­nom­ic assis­tance to Ukraine. Putin has made destroy­ing Ukraine’s econ­o­my cen­tral to his war strat­e­gy and boost­ing Ukraine’s econ­o­my is essen­tial to its sur­vival. If Ukraine’s econ­o­my col­laps­es, they will not be able to keep fight­ing. This aid will help Ukraine pay its first respon­ders, import basic goods, and pro­vide essen­tial ser­vices to its population.

Israel:

  • Autho­rizes the Unit­ed States to pro­vide addi­tion­al mil­i­tary aid to help Israel defend itself from Hamas, which com­mit­ted hor­rif­ic acts of ter­ror on Octo­ber 7th, and whose lead­ers have pledged to repeat the attacks of Octo­ber 7th over and over again until Israel is annihilated.
  • The aid in this agree­ment will also help Israel replen­ish its air defens­es and ensure it is pre­pared for any future contingencies.
  • This includes its defense against Iran and groups backed by Iran, includ­ing Hezbol­lah. The fund­ing in this agree­ment is essen­tial to sup­port­ing Israel’s short- and long-term defense needs against a broad array of imme­di­ate and future threats.

Human­i­tar­i­an Aid:

  • Includes impor­tant human­i­tar­i­an aid fund­ing to help civil­ians in need around the world, whether it’s to address the spillover effects of Putin’s war and help Ukraini­ans who have been dis­placed by Russia’s inva­sion, or to help Pales­tini­ans in Gaza, where we are active­ly work­ing to increase the flow of aid for Pales­tin­ian civil­ians who have noth­ing to do with Hamas.

Indo-Pacif­ic:

  • Pro­vides resources to help our allies and part­ners in the region build the capa­bil­i­ties nec­es­sary to address threats from an increas­ing­ly assertive PRC and to meet emerg­ing chal­lenges. It is crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant that we main­tain our focus on the Indo-Pacif­ic and pre­serve peace and stability. 

The text of the deal is below in case you’d like to read it yourself.

Pro­posed bipar­ti­san nation­al secu­ri­ty agreement

It’s unclear if Con­gress will be able to pass any aid pack­age for any of Amer­i­ca’s allies this year. Giv­en the dys­func­tion on Capi­tol Hill and the grow­ing pow­er of the iso­la­tion­ist wing of Don­ald Trump’s Repub­li­can Par­ty, it’s hard to rate the prospects for secu­ri­ty assis­tance to Ukraine in par­tic­u­lar as any­thing but poor. And the Netanyahu gov­ern­men­t’s con­duct and inde­fen­si­ble deci­sions are mak­ing it less like­ly that Con­gress will be able to agree on fur­ther assis­tance for Israel, either.

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