As tens of thousands of undocumented migrants prepare to push their way across the U.S. border, and thousands of “got aways” slip into the U.S. every day, Granite State Democrats are fighting to keep a GOP border security bill from passing in the House.
The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Thursday on a major border security bill—H.R. 2—that will very likely die a swift death in the Senate but will serve as a reminder of the country’s ongoing and escalating border crisis. The bill passed its final hurdle last Wednesday night in a straight party-line vote. Both Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas voted against moving the legislation forward.
“Extreme House Democrats have embraced the chaos on the southern border, allowing deadly drugs and violent criminals to flow into our country,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Chris Gustafson.
H.R. 2 is meant, in part, to address what is expected to be a massive flood of migrants entering the country in response to the end of Title 42 border rules.
The bill Kuster and Pappas oppose would order construction of the southern border wall to resume. It would increase enforcement personnel at the border and enact new restrictions on asylum seekers. It would clarify federal policies on family immigrant detention and restrict funding “to any nongovernmental organization that facilitates or encourages unlawful activity, including unlawful entry.
Neither Kuster nor Pappas would respond to requests for comment about their votes. However, Kuster did release a statement as chair of the center-left New Democrat Coalition condemning the border legislation.
“This week, our Republican colleagues will attempt to rush through an ineffective, unserious bill that will wreck our economy and make the challenges on our Southern Border worse,” the statement reads in part. “New Dems firmly believe that we can reach an agreement that secures our border and reforms our immigration system in a way that reflects our shared values, and we are at the table ready to work.”
Both Kuster and Pappas are expected to vote against the bill when it comes to the House floor Thursday.
On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced in a press conference a newly finalized federal rule that would allow the U.S. to “remove individuals who do not establish a reasonable fear of persecution in the country of removal.”
Noncitizens can establish criteria “if they have used our lawful pathways,” Mayorkas said, or “sought asylum or protection in another country through which they have traveled and were denied.”
Asked by reporters Wednesday if he believes the border is in crisis, Mayorkas declined to respond. He has repeatedly claimed that “the border is secure.”
Videos of the border show tens of thousands of undocumented migrants preparing to pour across the U.S. border, where most will be allowed into the U.S. and given a date to appear for a hearing.
Todd Bensman with the Center for Immigration Studies is at the border in Matamoros, Mexico, and reported “thousands of migrants flooding into the U.S. all day Wednesday. They are not waiting for the end of Title 42. Mexican immigration officials on the ground are powerless to do anything.”
In a policy statement this week, the White House said it “strongly supports productive efforts to reform the Nation’s immigration system but opposes H.R. 2.”
“If the president were presented with H.R. 2,” the statement said, “he would veto it.”