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US Senate unveils $118 billion bill on border security, aid for Ukraine, Israel

A bill up for test vote in the Senate this week would link tens of billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine to an immigration crackdown. 

On Sunday, Senate Democrats unveiled a $118.3 billion emergency national security plan that would link further help to Ukraine to actions taken to restrict migration across the US-Mexico border. 

The measure, which has the support of Senate leaders from both parties and President Biden, will either pass or fail based on how many Republicans support its border security provisions. This is unlikely given that former President Donald J. Trump and House leaders swiftly condemned the measure on Sunday night, calling it a nonstarter that does not go far enough in restricting immigration. 

To move forward this week in the Senate, where a test vote is scheduled for Wednesday, the legislation needs to receive at least 60 votes from both parties. 

Here is a summary of the 370 pages of the bill: 

 Funds for the border, Israel, Palestine, and Ukraine.

The law provides $10 million in humanitarian aid for populations affected by worldwide conflicts, including Palestinians and Ukrainians, as well as $60.1 billion in military assistance for Ukraine and $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel . Additionally, it would fund almost $20 billion in border spending, which would go towards building more detention facility capacity, recruiting more asylum and border patrol officers, and stepping up drug tests for fentanyl and other illegal substances. 

a failsafe at the border.

Creating a trigger that would essentially shut down the border to people attempting to enter the country illegally would be one of the biggest changes to border policy. If 8,500 migrants were seen by border officers on any given day, or 5,000 on average over the course of a week, the trigger would be tripped. For the impacted intake procedures to resume, encounters would need to drop to a daily average of 75% of those criteria, again over the course of a week. Additionally, if 4,000 or more migrants are encountered every day for a week, the president would have the authority to close the border under the terms of the measure. 

Opponents of the accord are using the trigger thresholds to denounce the plan as being too weak, while many Republicans have claimed the standards are too high.The No. 2 Republican in the House, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, promised on social media not to schedule action on the “deal” until he saw what the folks promoting it were not telling him. Every day, it takes in 5,000 undocumented immigrants. 

Parole rates are uncapped, and assistance for Afghan refugees is provided.

Republicans aimed to restrict the president’s ability to parole immigrants, granting them temporary permission to live and work in the US. Democrats opposed these reforms, and the proposal that would maintain programmes that have allowed Cubans, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Haitians, Ukrainians, and Afghans into the country does not contain them. 

A version of the Afghan Adjustment Act is also included, which aims to give Afghans who escaped the Taliban takeover and have been living in legal limbo ever since a route to citizenship. 

reining in the asylum.

The law would make it harder for immigrants to request asylum and would give internal review boards authority over appeals decisions instead of the courts. It would make it more difficult for immigrants to claim they have a “credible fear” of being persecuted in their home countries if they return. They must also demonstrate that they were unable to avoid the harm by simply relocating within their own countries. refuge authorities have the authority to immediately grant refuge to those who exhibit an extreme need for protection, and migrants who can prove a genuine fear are allowed to stay and work in the nation until their cases are resolved. 

More routes to citizenship and visas.

A few measures in the border accord aim to reduce immigration backlogs by providing visas that might allow some migrants to eventually become citizens, even if it does not constitute comprehensive immigration reform. The law would generate 250,000 employment- and family-based green card eligible visas, which would be distributed over five years.Additionally, the plan would make sure that adult green card eligibility would not be denied to immigrant children who entered the country on H-1B visas, which are granted to highly talented foreign workers. 

UNRWA money is prohibited whereas help to Israel is unrestricted.

Despite the efforts of Democrats to guarantee that any weapons purchased by the United States be used in accordance with international law, the bill does not impose any restrictions on aid to Israel. It forbids giving money to the UN Relief and Works Agency, whose support was halted by the US after Israel charged twelve of its staff members with taking part in the Hamas attack on October 7. 

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