Lawmakers Propose Bipartisan and Bicameral Border Security Bill
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Representative Tony Gonzales (R-TX), and Representative Henry Cuellar(D-TX) recently introduced the Bipartisan Border Solution Act in response to the influx of migrants at the Southwestern Border of the US. This bipartisan effort by lawmakers in both chambers of Congress working together in proposing sensible immigration legislation to improve the situation at the border is a good first step towards passing additional beneficial immigration policies.
The Bipartisan Border Solutions Act would increase the Department of Homeland Security’s and the Department of Justice’s capacities to manage influxes of migration and adjudicate immigration cases in a timely manner.
“The current influx of migrants has stretched our law enforcement agents and border communities to a breaking point,” said Representative Gonzales. “To restore order, Congress must enact commonsense measures that relieve the bottlenecks in our immigration system and allow our DHS agents to focus on their national security responsibilities. We must take steps towards creating an immigration system that allows people to safely and legally come to the United States.”
The bill would establish four regional processing centers in high traffic border sectors, increase the number of immigration judges, asylum officers, and ICE and Border Patrol officers, and implement policies that prevent unaccompanied migrant children from being released to sex offenders and child abusers, among other policies.
These policies will help to eliminate the 1.3 million case backlog in our immigration courts and help to improve legal proceedings over the current average wait time of two and a half years. By establishing processing centers and increasing staffing, they will also improve the federal government's efficiency and effectiveness in controlling the border.
Improving the federal government’s control of the southwestern border has been a starting point and road block for many Senators when it comes to passing other immigration bills like the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (which have already passed the US House), or President Joe Biden’s comprehensive immigration plan.
Wednesday, during a joint session of Congress, President Biden urged lawmakers to pass his immigration plan, and also said that he would be open to supporting piecemeal bills on immigration if they will result in passage.
“Now look, if you don’t like my plan, let’s at least pass what we all agree on,” he said.
However, the lack of any mention of the border during Biden’s speech on immigration reform was noteworthy to some lawmakers.
“While I share President Biden’s urgency in fixing our broken immigration system, what I didn’t hear tonight was a plan to address the immediate crisis at the border,” said Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ).
Lawmakers should work together to pass the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act to help improve the federal government’s control of the border and increase the willingness of lawmakers to pass additional needed reforms like a legislative solution for DACA and a method to ID and Tax unauthorized immigrants living and working in the US. Or, they could combine a DACA solution (supported by 74% of Americans) with the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act and pass it.