Republicans are also looking to limit the administration’s power to parole immigrants from detention, and would require mandatory electronic monitoring of anyone, including children, not in detention. They are also trying to implement a so-called transit ban and create a nationwide expedited removal authority — a return to a Trump-era policy that the Biden administration rescinded in 2021.
While the GOP’s counteroffer helped jump-start talks after a failed Senate vote this week, the inclusion of policies that Democrats have already rejected raises questions about whether a bipartisan proposal can be reached before Congress recesses for the year. At the very least, it shows how much light remains in reaching a border agreement that could unlock billions in funding for Ukraine and Israel.
“There is no final draft,” said an aide to Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, the lead Republican negotiator.
“Lankford was clear that they had been exchanging papers for weeks,” the aide said.
Lankford and Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) met Thursday before the weekend recess and agreed to resume negotiations that had proven extremely difficult to conclude. Even if they agree to policy changes in the abstract, they must still formalize those changes in actual legislative language. It remains unclear whether anything passed by the Senate can find the necessary support in the House.
The pressure is not coming only from Republicans. Most of the provisions proposed by the GOP are opposed by progressives and immigration advocates, and Murphy has complained that Republicans are pushing for complete border closures in previous proposals.
“We’re still exchanging papers like we were before,” Lankford said Thursday afternoon, after his meeting with Murphy. “It’s not just parole, but how do you deal with thousands of people being released every day?”
Spokesmen for the other negotiating senators did not comment.
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