June 16, 2024

Republicans sink fresh bid to beef up US border security

The US Senate on Thursday rejected sweeping immigration reforms for the second time this year as Republicans again blocked what would have been the toughest border security package in decades, dismissing it as a Democratic “gimmick.”

Polling invariably shows immigration as a priority for voters ahead of November’s presidential rematch between President Joe Biden and his Republican rival Donald Trump, with illegal crossings at historic highs

The Border Act, hammered out by both sides over months of negotiations, initially had broad support but was killed by Republicans in February after an 11th-hour intervention from Trump, who is making the border a central campaign issue.

Democrats brought it back to the floor Thursday, where it fell at the first hurdle — a procedural vote to get debate started — as Republicans again rejected the package.

Biden said in a statement Republicans had put partisan politics ahead of the country to reject “the toughest border enforcement in history,” while Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pledged to continue enforcing immigration law “with the limited resources we have.”

Biden’s reelection campaign circulated a statement blasting “border bill killer Donald J. Trump” and accusing the Republican of “creating chaos” for his own political ends.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had helped negotiate the package when it was attached to $61 billion in Ukraine aid and hailed it as a “huge success by any objective measure.” 

But he dismissed the plan to bring it back to the floor this week as “a gimmick” intended to boost Democrats in tight races and deflect from Biden’s record on the border, which saw record illegal entries at the end of last year.

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