Sen. James Lankford Releases Border Security Bill Text

The text for a controversial border bill that Oklahoma Senator James Lankford (R-OK) has been toiling over for months has been released.

Sunday, February 4th 2024, 5:51 pm

By: News On 6, News 9, Alex Cameron


The text for a controversial border bill that Oklahoma Senator James Lankford (R-OK) has been toiling over for months has been released.

You can see the entire bill below:

Senator Lankford issued the following statement:

"In the last four months, the US has had the highest number of illegal border crossings every month, with December hitting a US record of over 300,000 illegal crossings—averaging nearly 10,000 people per day. In December alone, almost 45,000 people crossing our southern border were given a work permit and parole status the day they arrived as a ‘reward’ for crossing at a port of entry, which only incentivizes more people to come.

Related Story: Senators Release A $118 Billion Package That Pairs Border Policies With Aid For Ukraine And Israel

“Our immigration hearings are backlogged for years, allowing millions of non-citizens to wander around our country. In the past three years, more than 8 million people have crossed our southern border illegally, costing our nation billions of dollars and bringing record levels of fentanyl, crime, and homelessness.

“Even if President Biden will not admit it, this is a crisis. We must secure our border now. It cannot wait any longer.

“Americans are not opposed to legal and orderly immigration, but they are tired of the chaos and abuse at our border. I am happy to announce, we have finally finished strong bill text to add to the supplemental funding bill. Though most members of the Senate have already been briefed on the contents of the bill, the final text will be distributed to members of the Senate soon and posted online within a day.

“The border security bill will put a huge number of new enforcement tools in the hands of a future administration and push the current Administration to finally stop the illegal flow. The bill provides funding to build the wall, increase technology at the border, and add more detention beds, more agents, and more deportation flights. The border security bill ends the abuse of parole on our southwest border that has waived in over a million people. It dramatically changes our ambiguous asylum laws by conducting fast screenings at a higher standard of evidence, limited appeals, and fast deportation."

“New bars to asylum eligibility will stop the criminal cartels from exploiting our currently weak immigration laws. The bill also has new emergency authorities to shut down the border when the border is overrun, new hiring authorities to quickly increase officers, and new hearing authorities to quickly apply consequences for illegal crossings. It changes our border from catch and release to detain and deport.

“Our immigration laws have been weak for years. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to close our open border and give future administrations the effective tools they need to stop the border chaos and protect our nation.”

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Lankford said "Our immigration laws have been weak for years. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to stop the chaos & protect our nation."

This is a developing story. Refresh this page for updates.


Original story below...

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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