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Democratic Senators Clash over Inclusion of Asylum Changes in War Funding Bill

A group of bipartisan senators has reached an agreement on including an asylum measure in a spending package for Israel and Ukraine. However, they are deadlocked on more extensive immigration changes that Republicans are demanding.

The proposed measure aims to make it more difficult for individuals to be granted asylum in the United States, particularly by imposing stricter definitions for those claiming persecution in their home countries.

The agreement has angered progressive and Hispanic Democrats, who argue that it could harm vulnerable people seeking protection. The potential change to asylum policy has sparked concerns among liberal lawmakers, who fear that it could establish a dangerous precedent.

While the Biden administration has shown some openness to the measure, negotiations are ongoing, and its fate remains uncertain.

Credits: DepositPhotos

The inclusion of asylum policy changes in the spending package underscores the political significance of concerns about border security. Republicans have capitalized on the issue to attack President Biden and the Democratic Party, while polls indicate widespread dissatisfaction with the president’s border policies.

Consequently, Biden and many Democrats are eager to address the issue and protect themselves from criticism. Nevertheless, the emerging consensus on changing asylum policy has alarmed progressives and Latino Democrats, who have raised serious objections to the proposed measures.

They argue that the talks should be abandoned unless Republicans are willing to pursue a broader agreement that includes legalizing some undocumented immigrants. Failure to reach a compromise could jeopardize Mr. Biden’s national security bill.

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The negotiations over immigration policy are the latest in a series of unsuccessful attempts to reach a bipartisan deal over the past two decades. While the current group of negotiators has made some progress, they face tighter deadlines and more stringent conditions compared to their predecessors.

Notably, Latino lawmakers are absent from the group, which could influence the final outcome. The negotiations are being closely followed by the Biden administration and House Speaker Mike Johnson, who are receiving updates from the respective Democratic and Republican negotiators.

Optimism about the talks has grown, with Johnson expressing confidence that a bill encompassing funds for Ukraine, Israel, and border security could pass the House in December. However, passing such a bill without significant policy changes would be challenging given the already tough border legislation approved by the GOP in the House.

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Credit: DepositPhotos

The Biden administration has signaled some willingness to accept the Republican demand for a stricter credible-fear standard for migrants seeking asylum. However, this change would only affect a small percentage of individuals subject to expedited removal proceedings.

The potential impact on border crossings is uncertain and depends on whether Congress approves additional funding for border patrol agents, asylum officers, and detention facilities.

Republicans are pushing for more aggressive measures, such as changes to parole policies and the reinstatement of various Trump-era policies. Democrats have shown little flexibility on these demands and are unlikely to support changes to parole without concessions from Republicans.

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