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Ranking Member Jayapal Expresses Alarm Over “Border Deal”

WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ranking Member of the Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Subcommittee, issued the following statement in response to the long-awaited border supplemental text:

“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. 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. 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 30 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 30 years of data and would only repeat our mistakes — with migrant lives in the crosshairs.”