'Close, But Not Quite There’: Sen. Lankford Works On Border Security, Asylum Policy

“Changing asylum, changing the way parole is done, changing the way we do expedited removal, changing catch and release,” Lankford said.

Tuesday, January 23rd 2024, 5:24 pm



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Oklahoma Senator James Lankford is working to reach a deal on changes to border security and asylum policy.

Senator Lankford can’t say exactly what is in the bill because it is not yet finalized, but he can say the final product will include significant policy changes.

“Changing asylum, changing the way parole is done, changing the way we do expedited removal, changing catch and release,” Lankford said.

All these things, Lankford says, will help stem the unlawful flow of migrants into the country. Toward the end of 2023, there were many days when border patrol agents recorded more than 10,000 migrant encounters along the border.

He says paying for these changes is now the focus.

“When you talk about increasing the number of detention beds, increasing the deportation flights, increasing the number of officers, all of those things have a cost,” Lankford said. “We’ve got to be able to figure out how to balance the policy and the cost on it.”

Monday's Supreme Court decision to allow border patrol agents to cut razor wire installed by the Texas National Guard only is making an issue that's already super-charged politically even more so.

Lankford says there's lots of misinformation about what's supposedly in the bill all over social media.

“I also encourage people at home to not believe everything you read on the internet,” Lankford said. “Actually pause until you get the real text to be able to see what’s truly in the bill.”

Lankford says he and the others at the table knew going in that working on immigration reform would bring plenty of public scrutiny, but he says some of it goes too far.

“This is why this kind of hard work isn’t done in Washington, because people get angry and say, ‘If it’s not perfect, don’t do anything.’”

Lankford says they are determined to beat the odds. He didn’t give a prediction on when they’ll be able to bring something to the floor, but he remains confident it will happen.

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