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House GOP Release Text of Immigration and Border Security Legislation Amid Intraparty Disagreements

House Republicans have released the text of a second immigration bill that is expected to be marked up by the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday April 26th. The bill is expected to be merged with the immigration and border security measure the House Judiciary Committee approved last week and plans to bring to a vote in May.

The Homeland Security Committee’s bill is generally viewed as less controversial among the Republican caucus because it mainly focuses on efforts to secure the border, whereas the Judiciary Committee bill alters existing immigration law—including changes to asylum for immigrants fleeing persecution. The Homeland Security Committee bill mandates the resumption of wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border and increases funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It would also move the U.S. government toward designating Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations, increase funding for local law enforcement in border communities, and upgrade U.S. CBP technology.

The fate of any larger, merged immigration bill passing the House is likely to rise or fall on the concerns moderate Republicans have over changes to asylum law and the anxiety some GOP lawmakers representing agricultural districts have over expanding mandatory E-Verify.

Democrats are already expressing opposition to the Homeland Security Committee bill on the grounds that it diverts resources away from processing migrants, which they say will undo progress achieved in recent months in reducing migrant encounters at the border. Democrats are also concerned that the Homeland Security Committee measure limits the use of the CBP One Mobile Application that the Biden Administration credits with reducing overwhelming, unplanned flows of migrants at ports of entry along the southern border. The app is used by migrants from Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to apply for the special parole status the Administration authorized earlier this year to permit 30,000 people a month from these nations to enter the U.S. and get work permits. The Administration views this parole program as critical to reducing illegal border encounters with individuals from these nations. Democrats also argue that the House Homeland Security Committee bill restricts asylum claimants by curtailing bill CBP’s parole authority.

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