Democrats don’t know what to do anymore.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, faces internal dissent from progressive members within his party regarding ongoing negotiations over the inclusion of more stringent border policy provisions in the national supplemental package. A recent meeting involving White House officials, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and senators from both sides, including Chris Murphy, Kyrsten Sinema, and James Lankford, aimed to advance these negotiations.
However, some Democratic senators express concern that their party may concede too much to Republican demands for policy changes. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey voiced his opposition, warning against adopting what he perceives as Trumpian policies, asserting they would aggravate border challenges without providing solutions.
Senator Alex Padilla from California expressed similar reservations, describing the information Democrats are receiving as “very concerning.” Beto O’Rourke, former House Representative and current Texas gubernatorial candidate, emphasized the potential negative consequences of embracing what he views as failed Trump immigration policies, including increased crossing attempts, more migrant deaths, and decreased enthusiasm among progressive voters.
Schumer indicated a willingness to revise the supplemental package to incorporate proposed border provisions, although specifics remain unclear. Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey expressed unease, highlighting the uncertainty about the party responsible for enforcing these policies after 2024.
Negotiations intensified as Republicans conditioned the passage of approximately $60 billion in additional aid to Ukraine on the inclusion of strict border security measures. These measures include immediate screenings for asylum processing, increased detention beds, and enhanced border patrol capabilities.
Despite expectations for a Senate recess, Schumer announced the cancellation of part of the holiday break to facilitate ongoing negotiations and schedule a vote on the supplemental package in the coming week. GOP negotiator Senator James Lankford emphasized the party’s focus on basic elements to bolster border security, such as reforming asylum processing, expanding detention capabilities, and strengthening border patrol efforts.
Reports suggest the Biden administration’s openness to a nationwide expansion of expedited removal and the mandatory detention of certain migrants during the claims consideration process. Discussions also revolve around the reinstatement of a Title 42-style authority, previously used for the rapid expulsion of migrants during the COVID-19 era.
As these negotiations unfold, the southern border continues to experience a surge in migrant encounters, surpassing 10,000 in a single day, according to Customs and Border Protection sources.