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Back in Session, Congress Dealing with Battles Over Border Security, Aid to Ukraine, Israel

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WASHINGTON – A divided Congress is back to work and facing several big battles over government funding, foreign aid, and immigration. 

Trying to strike a deal on border security and immigration policy has become central to passing more aid for Ukraine. 

Senate negotiators are struggling to reach an agreement as House Republicans are trying to interject their hardline immigration demands. 

Congressional leaders have already secured a separate agreement on overall spending as they try to avoid a partial government shutdown. The leaders left out border policies pushing some House conservatives to use the prospect of a government shutdown to further their efforts for border reform. 

Portions of the U.S. southern border wall are so busy with the flood of migrants that street vendors sell migrants food. 

With the number of illegal crossings topping 10,000 over several days last month. High-stakes talks on Capitol Hill center on the border. 

A small group of Senate negotiators are working on a bipartisan bill to reduce the number of migrants who travel to the southern border to apply for asylum protections.  

Significant disagreements remain, possibly prolonging negotiations beyond this week. 

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) told Fox News bargaining talks are long overdue. 

“Nothing has been done in this area for decades,” Lankford explained. “The Biden administration has authorities they’re choosing not to use. But even during the Trump administration, they struggled in certain years because they’re limited in some of the authorities that are there.”

“We need to desperately change the way we handle asylum,” he said. 

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slider img 2Negotiators have been working for months after Republicans insisted on pairing border policy changes with supplemental funding for Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, Democrats want Ukraine and Israel’s aid in a spending package together. 

An agreement would unlock GOP support for President Biden’s request for more than $100 billion in foreign aid. 

While visiting border town Eagle Pass, Texas, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called on Congress to act on immigration reform agreeing in part with Lankford that it’s long overdue.  

“We now need Congress to do their part and act,” he said. “Our immigration system is outdated and broken and has been in need of reform for literally decades. We need more asylum officers and immigration judges so that we can resolve asylum claims quickly, granting relief when it is warranted, removing migrants when it is not, and reducing the 3 million case immigration court backlog that has been growing for years and years.”

On top of this, some House Republicans are threatening to block any bill to fund the government unless their border security demands are met. 

Those hard-right members are also strongly opposed to passing any short-term government funding. However, a deadline is looming since some federal agencies are only funded through Jan. 19.



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