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As record numbers of illegal immigrants surge at the southern U.S. border, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has told Congress the country’s “broken” immigration system is in need of a top-to-bottom update.
Pushed to the negotiating table by Republicans, the Biden administration is considering restricting the asylum and humanitarian parole process in exchange for approval of the president’s $106 billion year-end request for Ukraine, Israel and national security needs. It comes as Mayorkas, the face of the administration’s immigration policy, faces impeachment proceedings from House Republicans over what they view as failed border policies.
“We’re not going to try to secure other countries and not secure ours,” Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said as he rolled out the Senate GOP’s border effort earlier this month.
“We’re at a point for three years we’ve been saying, ‘When are we going to secure the country? When are we going to do this?’ And every year it’s gotten worse.”
A core group of senators, Republicans and Democrats, has been eyeing a deal that would provide money for the wars overseas in exchange for changes to the asylum process.
Negotiating behind closed doors, the senators have discussed making it tougher for illegal immigrants to pass initial screening used by asylum officers to decide whether a person can stay in the country to pursue their asylum case.
The idea is to raise the threshold during what’s known as the initial credible fear interview for asylum claims from a “significant possibility” of success before an immigration judge to “more likely than not,” according to those familiar with the private talks and who were granted anonymity to discuss them.
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