Senate border bill isn’t aggressive enough, border area official says

Teny Sahakian By Teny Sahakian Fox News

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close Arizona border county official’s blunt message to Congress to reject immigration bill: ‘Shut down the border’ Video

Arizona border county official’s blunt message to Congress to reject immigration bill: ‘Shut down the border’

Yuma County, Arizona, Supervisor Jonathan Lines said the Senate deal does not go far enough to crackdown on illegal immigration into the U.S. and should be rejected by Congress. 

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Congress should reject the Senate’s border security bill and any other legislation that doesn’t “cut off and eliminate all illegal entry into the United States,” an Arizona border county official said.

“Do not vote yes on the bill,” Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines told Fox News. “Sit down with the Freedom Caucus, sit down with all interested parties and establish what needs to be done as a baseline, which is shutting the border down right now.”

“There are thousands of people on their way,” he added. “There is a pipeline to the United States. You see them in airports, you see them in police stations sleeping on the floor, you see cities that are unable to care for these people. They don’t have the resources to do it and it’s simply because these numbers continue to multiply on a daily basis.”

A long-awaited bipartisan border security deal was revealed Sunday night, aimed at gaining control of an asylum system that has been overwhelmed by historic numbers of migrants flooding the border. It also would give the president and the Department of Homeland Security power to temporarily close the border when its overwhelmed and require a shutdown once a certain threshold is reached. 

Arizona border county official’s blunt message to Congress to reject immigration bill: ‘Shut down the border’ Video

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“We need to cut off and eliminate all illegal entry into the United States.”

While the bill is a good “jumping off point,” Lines said, it isn’t aggressive enough to stem the flow of illegal entry into the country. He said some Trump-era restrictions should be reinstated.

“Like the proverbial boy putting his finger in the dam, we need to cut off and eliminate all illegal entry into the United States,” Lines said. “Shut down the border, shut down fentanyl trafficking, shut down human trafficking, cut off the supply to the cartels who are in every state, who are taking advantage of their integrated supply routes.”

The bipartisan bill would allot $20 billion to immigration enforcement, including the hiring of thousands of new officers to evaluate asylum claims and hundreds of Border Patrol agents, plus $650 million to build and reinforce the border wall. It would also grant a certain number of migrants work authorization while waiting for their asylum claims to be decided.

A CBP agent and migrants

Yuma County, Arizona, Supervisor Jonathan Lines said the Senate deal does not go far enough to crackdown on illegal immigration into the U.S. and should be rejected by Congress.  (Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images)

SENATE RELEASES LONG-AWAITED BORDER LEGISLATION, MAJOR ASYLUM CHANGES

If the number of illegal border encounters reaches above 5,000 daily for a five-day average, an expulsion authority would automatically kick in so that migrants are sent back to Mexico without an opportunity to make an asylum claim. If the number reaches 4,000, presidential administrations would have the option of using the expulsion authority.

Migrant encounters hit 302,000 in December, an all-time high, according to Customs and Border Patrol. Border encounters have reached 5,000 all but seven days over the past four months, according to CBP data.  

President Biden said he would use his authority to “shut down the border” as soon as the bill is signed into law. But House Speaker Mike Johnson said that even if the Senate passed the legislation, it would be “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber.

“Why would we continue to allow people to come in unvetted and remain here waiting for adjudication?”

“Instead of setting a threshold, whatever it might be, I think we need to go back to getting control of the border first and foremost, before we can address any type of a number type system or identify how many people we will allow in,” Lines told Fox News. “We’ve got around 8 to 10 million people that still need to be adjudicated, and I am seeing dates into the 2030s for people to go before a federal judge.” 

“So knowing that we have that type of backlog, why would we continue to allow people to come in unvetted and remain here waiting for adjudication?” he added. 

Members of Congress on the house floor

Lines said border security legislation should not be tied to spending requests for allies involved in foreign conflicts.  (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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Many House Republicans have voiced opposition to the $118 billion spending package in addition to Johnson, saying its measures aren’t aggressive enough to curb illegal immigration. Some are critical of its attachment to Democrats’ supplemental aid proposal allocating $60 billion toward Ukraine, $14 billion to Israel and $10 billion in humanitarian assistance for civilians “caught in conflict zones.”

While he thinks aiding U.S. allies should be a priority, Lines said the border issue should not be tied to issues involving foreign conflicts. 

“We need to separate Ukraine from Israel from our U.S. border,” he said. “We need to tackle those problems independently because they’re so different. We can’t just put riders into these bills that send out money by the millions and even billions to these different areas.”

Teny Sahakian is an Associate Producer/Writer for Fox News. Follow Teny on Twitter at @tenysahakian. 

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