After months of closed door talks, the Senate has released its bipartisan border security bill, which ties border reforms to new aid for Ukraine and Israel.
But it may be dead out of the starting gate, with Republicans publicly balking. That includes Republicans from New York — both those in comfortably red districts, and several representing competitive seats.
Suffolk County Congressman Nick LaLota, in a tweet, took a swipe at his fellow Republican who worked on the border deal, writing, “My nine year old did a better job negotiating last night’s bed time than Senator [James] Lankford did on this so-called border bill.”
Syracuse-area Congressman Brandon Williams likened the deal to “giving Biden a ‘get out of jail free’ card on the border.” Dubbing it the “Biden Re-Election bill,” he said the plan is “DOA.”
Nassau County Congressman Anthony D’Esposito called the bill “disastrous” and said in a statement that the Senate should negotiate with the House GOP on their own hard-line border package, which they passed last year.
Rep. Nick Langworthy expressed concern that former President Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy was not reinstituted. “Remain in Mexico is the single most important policy to shutting down the massive influx of illegal immigrants that we saw during the Obama years,” he said.
In a statement, Rep. Marc Molinaro, another New York Republican representing a competitive district, said the Senate bill “includes provisions I can support like funding for law enforcement” but argued it does not succeed in closing the border.
He called for an “immediate conference meeting with the House, Senate, and White House to develop a real bipartisan solution.”
Republican senators have indicated Trump wants them to kill the bill to deny President Joe Biden a victory on the border.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged his colleagues to act.
“The $64,000 question now is whether or not senators can drown out the outside noise, drown out people like Trump who want chaos, and do the right thing for America,” he said.
Among other things, the bill would close off the border if illegal crossings reached a certain level, it would make it harder for migrants to win asylum., and it would provide funding to communities overwhelmed by migrants.
Some Republicans argue the bill is not even needed, saying that Biden could act on his own to fix the border situation.
Alberto Benitez, the director of the immigration clinic at The George Washington University Law School, disputes that assertion.
“A president doesn't have the unilateral authority to shut down the border. If a president did … the prior president would have done it,” he said.
It is not just Republicans pushing back on the Senate proposal. Some progressives are criticizing it as too tough.
Rep. Nydia Velázquez argued in a statement that this Senate deal could actually make the situation at the border worse.
"The Senate Border Deal ignores measures to address the systemic problems of our broken immigration system in favor of regressive and exclusionary policies that could exacerbate the situation at the border,” she wrote. “We need comprehensive immigration reform, not the destruction of asylum and return of Trump-era policies.”
Schumer has teed up a test vote on the bill for Wednesday.