Key highlights of the Senate’s proposed border deal package
Feb 5, 2024, 7:10 AM | Updated: Feb 7, 2024, 6:28 am
(CNN) — The Senate’s border deal and foreign aid package, released Sunday, would implement strict limits along the US southern border that have not been previously enshrined into law and would, in effect, severely curtail asylum at the US southern border, a break from decades-long protocol.
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If passed, the bill would dramatically change immigration law for the first time in decades. The package paves the way for a key vote in the chamber this week in which the legislation is at risk of failing and, if it does pass, setting up a clash with the House. In a sign of the grim odds facing the legislation, Speaker Mike Johnson declared the deal “dead on arrival” in the House after the text was released.
It’s unlikely that the deal could take immediate effect even if it were passed, as it would require an immense number of resources, including the hiring of additional personnel, which often takes months.
Here are the key changes included in the bill:
— New emergency authority to restrict border crossings if daily average migrant encounters reach 4,000 over a one-week span. If that metric is reached, the Homeland Security secretary could decide to largely bar migrants from seeking asylum if they crossed the border unlawfully.
If migrant crossings increase above 5,000 on average per day on a given week, DHS is required to use the authority. If encounters reach 8,500 in one day, the department is required to trigger the authority. But the federal government is limited in how long it can use the authority.
In the first year, the government can use it for 270 days, then 225 calendar days in the second year, and 180 days in the third year. The authority sunsets after three years.
— Codifies a policy that requires the government to process at least 1,400 asylum applications at ports of entry when the emergency authority is triggered.
— Raises the legal standard of proof to pass the initial screening for asylum, making it potentially more difficult for asylum seekers to pass.
— Expedites the asylum processing timeline from years to six months.
— Introduces a new process in which US Citizenship and Immigration Services would decide an asylum claim without it going through the immigration court system. The process doesn’t apply to unaccompanied migrant children.
— Preserves the president’s authority to designate humanitarian parole on a case-by-case basis. President Joe Biden has used the authority for Ukrainians, Afghans, Cubans, Venezuelans and Haitians, among other populations.
— Includes limited changes that narrow the use of parole at land borders.
— Authorizes 250,000 additional immigrant visas to spread out over five years for families and applies to employment-based immigrants.
— Provides a pathway to citizenship for Afghans paroled into the United States after the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and extends the special immigrant visa program for Afghans who worked for the US government.