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February 27, 2024

Senate Nears Deal on Ukraine Aid But Immigration Disputes Persist

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Dec 16, 2023

Democrats and Republicans Inch Towards Agreement on $47 Billion Ukraine/Israel Aid Package

After months of partisan impasse, the Senate appears close to finalizing a year-end deal that would provide about $47 billion in military and economic assistance to Ukraine and Israel while enacting some new immigration enforcement measures.

Aid Package Hits Snags Over Border Security Provisions

According to multiple reports, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have broadly agreed on a framework that would deliver significant aid to Ukraine and Israel. However, final passage of the package has snagged over disputes about the immigration enforcement provisions demanded by Republicans in exchange for supporting the foreign assistance.

Talks were underway this week between Senate leaders and the White House to try bridging the divide, but objections from progressive Democrats over strict asylum restrictions and expanded fast-track deportation authority were presenting obstacles.

The situation reflects “a tale of two chambers,” as the Democratic-controlled House left town this week with no deal while the Senate stayed in session to try resolving the impasse (CBS News).

Democrats Warn of ‘Unconscionable’ Concessions on Immigration

Democratic Senators, including progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren, have warned the White House not to make “unconscionable and unworkable concessions” in order to pass the aid package (Mother Jones).

There is particular resistance to agreeing to further expand the Trump-era Title 42 public health restrictions used to rapidly expel migrants at the border during the pandemic.

Under the tentative framework, Title 42 or similar asylum limits would be imposed if migrant detentions exceed a “crisis threshold,” expected to be set around 5,000 per day (Daily Mail).

Latino Lawmakers Warn of Political Fallout

Meanwhile, Hispanic members of Congress have “expressed outrage” over reports that the Biden administration may accept such hardline immigration crackdowns, warning of fierce political backlash in Latino communities if deportations increase (NBC News).

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Progressive Caucus, decried Republican demands as “anti-immigrant” and vowed to oppose them (Jayapal Press Release).

Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez of New Jersey also pushed back sharply against changes to asylum laws (New Jersey Globe).

Key Disputes Holding Up Senate Aid Package Deal
  • Asylum restrictions like expanded Title 42 authority
  • More Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) funding
  • More personnel and barriers at border
  • Limited legal immigration, especially asylum access
  • Expanded use of fast-track deportations

White House Under Pressure as Time Dwindles

With only days left before the holiday recess, the White House faces rising pressure to resolve disputes over linking immigration crackdowns to vital military assistance for Ukraine.

Schumer set a new tentative deadline of December 23rd to pass the aid legislation before recess (Roll Call). Time is running short for Congress to deliver the emergency funding requested by the Biden administration to support Ukraine’s defenses against Russian aggression.

Some analysts urged Democrats to accept tougher immigration enforcement in exchange for the crucial Ukraine aid package (Bloomberg). But immigrant advocacy groups dismissed such policy concessions as “short-sighted and immoral” (Colorado Newsline).

With Biden’s domestic approval sinking over immigration concerns, the coming days may test whether the administration prioritizes bipartisan dealmaking or resisting pressure from its left flank. The future course of US support for Ukraine hangs in the balance.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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