Border Security Bill Text Expected To Release Over Weekend

The details — the actual text — of the controversial border bill Oklahoma Senator James Lankford has been toiling over now for four months is expected to be released sometime this weekend. Debate on the Senate floor could begin by the middle of next week.

Friday, February 2nd 2024, 5:35 pm



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The details — the actual text — of the controversial border bill Oklahoma Senator James Lankford has been toiling over now for four months is expected to be released sometime this weekend. Debate on the Senate floor could begin by the middle of next week.

In the meantime, the efforts by many conservatives to lessen its chances for passage continue.

There are several justifications Republican critics are using to cast aspersions on the coming border bill, and some of those won’t go away, regardless of what’s in the text. But it’s the argument, based on alleged leaks, that the bill won’t actually solve the problem that many have latched onto.

"There’s a great concern, which I share," said Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK2) in an interview Tuesday, "of normalizing high numbers of illegal immigrants."

That's what Congressman Brecheen, who at this point is inclined to oppose the bill, has heard it would do, by allowing in up to 5,000 asylum-seekers a day.

"There’s just so much misinformation, like this 5,000-- that number is absolutely ridiculous."

Senator Lankford is begging his colleagues to hold off on judging the bill until they've actually seen the text. Oklahoma's junior Senator is make the same case to his constituents, who are calling and writing, urging him to vote against the bill.

"I have a hard time people telling me that I shouldn’t vote for this when no one‘s read the bill," Mullin said in a video posted to his social media page. "And I’m not trying to be condescending here. I’m just being real serious -- we’re making a decision on a bill that we haven’t read."

Another justification for opposing the bill is the argument being made by former President Donald Trump out on the campaign trail that no legislation is needed to secure the border.

First District Congressman Kevin Hern says he's reserving judgment on the bill until he's seen the text. But he also questions whether legislation is actually needed.

"No law has changed since President Trump was in office," said Rep. Hern (R-OK1) in an interview this week, "the only thing that’s changed is the actions by the president himself."

The counterargument that many more moderate Republicans make is that this is a rare opportunity to achieve real policy gains, and Republicans, more or less, have the upper hand.

"We have this moment, in this divided government, where we have some leverage as Republicans," said North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer, "to secure the border, to make some incremental changes in the right direction, particularly in the policy realm."

Senator Mullin says, for him, it comes to three 'pillars' of reform -- stemming the flow of migrants to the border, changing asylum policy, and changing parole policy.

"If it does those three things," Mullin said in his video, "guys, that’s a win for us. If it doesn’t, it’s a non-starter."

Some want the bill to fail because they think passing it would help Biden and the Democrats in the election.

"That’s silly, we’re up here to solve problems," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4) in a recent interview.

"I mean, I’m in year six of a six-year term," said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) to reporters Thursday, "and I don’t think you’re supposed to take the last year off."

There’s obviously a huge question as to what Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) would do with the bill in the House, but first, it will have to get through the Senate, which is far from a given. Not only are there Republican opponents, but some of the more progressive Democrats are also likely to oppose it. And it will need 60 votes to pass.

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