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Missouri Rep. Alford says don’t expect ‘yes’ vote from Republicans on border, aid bill


On Sunday, United States Senators unveiled a long-awaited cross-party bill that aims to combat illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border and allow for new aid to Ukraine and Israel. 

"Leader [Mitch] McConnell and I who disagree on many issues have never worked so closely together on legislation as we did on this because we both realize the gravity of the situation,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY ) said to CNN on Sunday

The bill has received intense backlash from conservatives who say the border policy isn't good enough. 

“It’s quite simple. Secure the border. Anything less than securing the border we’re not voting yes for,” Rep. Mark Alford (R-Missouri) told ABC 17 News.

The legislation includes $118 billion worth of support related to Ukraine, Israel and the southern border, according to the Associated Press. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week, but House Republicans are expected to reject the proposal.

“I’m telling you what they tried to build Noah’s Arc to try to get everything on this one lifeboat. It’s more like the Titanic right now. This is a shipwreck that is going nowhere in the U.S. House," Alford said.  

The number of migrant encounters on the southern border was on the rise even before President Joe Biden took office, but hit a record high under his administration

Since Biden took office in January 2021, more than 6.3 million migrants have been detained crossing into the US illegally between points of entry, according to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security. The global pandemic and crises in countries such as Ukraine, Haiti and Venezuela have all contributed to the increase. 

Alford argues that House Republicans addressed this issue when they passed HR-2, a bill that aimed to make several changes to immigration law by imposing limits on asylum eligibility and requiring employers to use an electronic system to verify the eligibility of new employees. The Bill did not pass the Senate. Alrford says the Biden administration could close the border if they wanted to. 

"'Remain in Mexico' has to come back. We have to end the catch-and-release program. we have to quit letting people into our country illegally, letting them go until their asylum claims are heard. It’s very simple if they want to secure the border they can do it,” Alford claims.  

While holding migrants until their asylum claims are heard seems like an easy fix, it is not that simple. Many migrants find it difficult to enter the United States through the legal ports of entry. The majority of immigrants who cross the border must wait for a court date so they can make an asylum case. You must be in the U.S. to apply for asylum, according to information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Then, those looking to apply for asylum can file form I-589 within a year of arriving in order to apply affirmatively or defensively, CIS information states.

This process can take years and the system is already overwhelmed; in December 2022, the backlog of asylum applications was nearly $1.6 million, according to CNN

Part of the proposed Senate bill mandates a complete shutdown of the border if migrant crossing surpasses 5,000 in one week. This means migrants who arrive illegally would no longer be able to request asylum and would be deported shortly after. 

However, Alford believes this measure proves House Republicans' argument that completely closing the border can be done. 

"They’re just making it easier for the cartels to work within those standards to get more people into the United States, illegally bringing with them fentanyl and also human sex trafficking," he said. "This is a humanitarian crisis. It’s a nightmare that has to end.” 

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


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