Senator Lee Releases “Dirty Dozen” Disasters in So-Called “Border Deal”

February 5, 2024

Senator Lee Releases “Dirty Dozen” Disasters in So-Called “Border Deal”


The proposed border deal will not secure our border. Passing it into law would worsen the border crisis. Here’s why:


  1. CODIFIES CATCH AND RELEASE: Gives the Secretary of Homeland Security unchecked authority to release an alien into the United States under ineffective “alternatives to detention.” The illegals only have to express “credible fear” of persecution or the intent to apply for “protection determination.” (SEC. 235B)


  1. ALLOWS UP TO 1.8 MILLION ILLEGAL ALIENS TO ENTER BEFORE TEMPORARILY CLOSING PARTS OF THE BORDER: The Secretary of Homeland Security is only required to shut down the border if there are 5,000 average illegal crossings over a consecutive seven-day period or 8,500 in a single day. The Secretary may shut down the border if crossings are at 4,000 daily average over a consecutive seven-day period. Even during a border emergency, this bill requires the administration to process a minimum of 1,400 illegal immigrants a day. This is 400 more per day than Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said constituted a crisis in 2019. (SEC. 244B)


    1. LOOPHOLES: Does not count any unaccompanied alien children from non-contiguous countries, suspected trafficking victims, aliens who are determined “exempted” based on decisions by ICE, or aliens who meet screening criteria for asylum. Also allows the reopening of the border once encounters are at 75% of the number that caused the shut down, so if the number was 10,000 per day, it only has to be reduced to 7,500/day to reopen.


    1. LIMITED DURATION: Limits the number of days each year where authority to shut down the border can be in place: 270 days in first calendar year, 225 days in the second year and 180 days in the third year. The period that this “border shutdown” is mandatory decreases – in year one, the first 90 days are mandatory; in year two, the first 75 days are mandatory; and in year three, only the first 60 days are mandatory.


    1. PRESIDENTIAL DISCRETION: Allows the president to reopen the border any time it is in the “national interest to temporarily suspend the border emergency authority” for up to 45 days.


  1. FUNDS SANCTUARY CITIES AND NGOs SENDING ILLEGALS AROUND THE COUNTRY: Includes $1.4 BILLION for more FEMA grants to NGOs that provide shelter, transportation, legal advice and other services to illegal aliens and $2.3 BILLION to HHS for Refugee Entrant And Assistance, a slush fund for services to unaccompanied alien children.


  1. SUBSIDIZES FREE, TAXPAYER-FUNDED LEGAL COUNSEL TO ILLEGAL ALIENS: Orders the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that “all unaccompanied alien children who are or have been in the custody of the Secretary of Health and Human Services or the Secretary of Homeland Security…have counsel to represent them in legal proceedings” and free legal counsel for any illegal alien who a judge determines is mentally “incompetent.” Mandates that the government provide legal counsel for UACs 13 years old and under. (SEC. 3512-3513)


  1. EXPANDS PAROLE INSTEAD OF LIMITING IT: Does nothing to meaningfully limit President Biden’s abuse of parole. The language makes a fake exemption that seems to sanction Mayorkas' current abuse of parole. Under this bill, Mayorkas can parole in all these groups with the implicit approval of Congress. It also creates a dangerous EXPANSION of parole by saying it can now be granted for anyone the DHS Secretary determines has an “urgent humanitarian reason” to stay and any “culturally important purpose warranting the alien’s presence in the United States on Tribal land located at or near an international land border.” (SEC. 3146)


  1. INCREASES GREEN CARDS BY 50,000 PER YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS: This includes 32,000 family-based green cards and 18,000 employment-based green cards.  Hurts American workers by importing cheap foreign labor. (SEC. 3402)


  1. WORK PERMIT FOR ADULT CHILDREN OF H-1B VISA HOLDERS: Hurts American workers by providing indefinite work permits to an estimated 250,000 adult children of H-1B nonimmigrant visa holders who will be competing for jobs with recent college graduates. (SEC. 3403)


  1. IMMEDIATE WORK PERMITS TO EVERY ILLEGAL RELEASED FROM CUSTODY AFTER THEY PASS AN INITIAL SCREENING: Current law requires a 6 months waiting period after filing an asylum claim before you can apply for a work permit. Under this bill, applicants are granted an IMMEDIATE work permit if they pass the initial asylum credible fear screening. (SEC. 235C)


  1. NOTHING TO DEPORT ILLEGALS: Does not require the President or Secretary of Homeland Security to deport anyone.


  1. AFGHAN ADJUSTMENT ACT: Creates a pathway to citizenship for over 60,000 poorly vetted Afghans who were brought to the country due to President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. (SEC. 331)


  1. WEAKENS ASYLUM SCREENING BY CODIFYING BIDEN POLICY: Codifies the Biden asylum officer regulation and empowers USCIS asylum officers to grant asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture without review by an Immigration Judge, ensuring significantly higher approval rates. (SEC. 3141)


  1. NO IMMEDIATE FUNDING FOR THE WALL: The bill claims to give $650 million for “building the border wall.” This is a budgeting gimmick without any new money. The bill would simply rescind current money and then put it back in with a later date (FY2028) so that President Biden and Sec. Mayorkas don’t have to build any wall and can delay spending money on the border wall. (SEC. 205)