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Senate Dems' border bill negotiator: No solution 'without creating more legal pathways' for migrants

Senate border deal would allow migrants who are released into the U.S. to receive two-year work permits without waiting 6 months

Published: February 5, 2024 2:37pm

Updated: February 5, 2024 3:15pm

Sen. Chris Murphy, Senate Democrats' negotiator on the chamber's recently released border deal, says the country's migration crisis cannot be fixed "without creating more legal pathways" for migrants to come into the U.S.

“It expands legal pathways to come to the United States," the Connecticut lawmaker said after the final text of the bill was released Sunday evening. "You cannot fix the issue at the border without creating more legal pathways for people to come to United States. This bill includes 250,000 new family and employment visas over the next five years."

Democratic mayors in cities like New York City, who have taken in thousands of immigrants released into the U.S. at the U.S.-Mexico border, have been calling on the Biden administration to expedite work permits for new arrivals into the country.

The Senate border deal would allow migrants who are released into the U.S. to receive two-year work permits to legally work in the country faster than the current process.

The provision, advocated for by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, would reportedly remove the existing six month waiting period for the work permits.

The bill also would give children and minors free government-funded legal counsel as their case makes it way through the U.S. court system. 

It also includes a border closure provision if migrant encounters reach 5,000 per day. 

House Republican leaders released a joint statement on Monday, emphasizing that the deal is dead on arrival in the House.

"House Republicans oppose the Senate immigration bill because it fails in every policy area needed to secure our border and would actually incentivize more illegal immigration," Speaker Mike Johnson and other leaders of the GOP-controlled chamber said.

“Among its many flaws, the bill expands work authorizations for illegal aliens while failing to include critical asylum reforms. Even worse, its language allowing illegals to be ‘released from physical custody’ would effectively endorse the Biden ‘catch and release’ policy."

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