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Johnson opposes border deal as negotiators try to save it

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

President Mike Johnson sought Friday to snuff out the last glimmers of hope for a bipartisan immigration compromise in Congress this year, repeating that a deal under discussion in the Senate would almost certainly be “dead on arrival” within of the Republican-led party. Home.

Mr. Johnson’s statement, in a letter to Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives, comes after the Senate’s top Republican acknowledged this week that former President Donald J. Trump’s opposition had made the proposed border deal politically difficult for the party to pass, thus killing its chances. .

“If the rumors about the contents of the draft proposal were true, it would have been dead on arrival in the House anyway,” Mr. Johnson wrote.

As the immigration plan falters, the fate of additional aid to Ukraine also hangs in the balance, with far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives also opposing it and threatening to impeach Mr Johnson. he seeks to have it adopted despite their objections.

In his letter, Mr. Johnson said the House would instead move forward next week with its campaign to impeach Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, and doubled down on demands that Congress pass or an immigration enforcement bill that the House passed last year. or an equally severe measure.

“Since the day I became president, I have assured our colleagues in the Senate that the House would not accept any counterproposal if it did not actually solve the problems created by the subversive policies of this administration,” he said. -he writes.

The letter reflects a position that Mr. Johnson and other far-right Republicans in the House have maintained for months, repeatedly dismissing border control measures under discussion in the Senate as insufficient. This came as Republican supporters of the deal in the Senate worked to gain the necessary support from the Republican Party to move it forward. That task has become much more difficult as Mr. Trump, who derailed the plan, has gained ground in his quest for his party’s presidential nomination.

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Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, told his Republican colleagues behind closed doors this week that Mr. Trump’s hostility to the plan and his growing dominance in the primaries had put them “off.” in a dilemma.

Mr. McConnell, a leading Republican supporter of sending more aid to Ukraine, has been a strong supporter of the border deal that members of his party have insisted on as the price of their support for continued aid to Kiev.

The bipartisan team of senators that has worked for months to find a compromise to crack down on rampant migration and drug trafficking across the southern border with Mexico reached agreement in recent days on a series of policy changes. They include measures to make it more difficult to obtain asylum, increase detention centers and force the administration to turn away migrants without visas if more than 5,000 people try to enter the country illegally. given day.

The group has not yet agreed on how much to spend on the effort.

Many Republicans are upset that the deal does not include a specific restriction on parole, the administration’s power to allow migrants who are not legally allowed to enter the country to live and work at the United States temporarily. In his letter on Friday, Mr. Johnson reiterated his demand for more restrictive changes, such as imposing strict limits on parole and reviving the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy that required migrants who could not be kept in detention centers waiting outside. in the United States until their court date.

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And some Republican opponents of the border compromise have questioned whether it should be considered in the Senate if their counterparts in the House are determined to block or kill it.

“If you’re looking at a tough vote, you want it to actually accomplish something,” said Sen. JD Vance, Republican of Ohio. “If this is not going to pass the House, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to force a vote on your members, it won’t accomplish anything from a political standpoint, and it will cause a lot of political problems. .”