The Senate has adjourned for the weekend, but negotiations appear to be re-starting between a small group of senators as Republicans demand restrictions to asylum, and other tough border and migration measures, in exchange for passage of a bill to fund Ukraine and Israel aid, border priorities, and other items. This group is expected to meet through the weekend, and the White House now appears to be more directly or openly involved.
- Mike Memoli, Peter Nicholas, Sahil Kapur, “Biden Sees Ukraine Aid as a Priority. But to Get It, He Must Solve a Vexing Immigration Puzzle.” (NBC News, December 7, 2023).
- Zolan Kanno-Youngs, “Biden Tied Ukraine Aid to Border Security, and It Backfired on Him” (The New York Times, December 7, 2023).
The Biden administration is signaling that it is willing to raise the “credible fear” standard that asylum seekers must meet when they are placed in expedited removal proceedings and screened by asylum officers, which would cause more asylum seekers to be rejected if unable to defend their claims while in custody within days of arriving. Republicans will probably want more concessions than that, including a return to family detention and limits to the nearly 70-year-old presidential humanitarian parole authority.
- Jonathan Blitzer, “The Senate Battle Over Immigration and Aid to Ukraine” (The New Yorker, December 7, 2023).
- Ted Hesson, “White House Open to New Asylum Limits for Ukraine Aid, Source Says” (Reuters, Reuters, December 7, 2023).
- “Greg Sargent @Theplumlinegs on Twitter” (Twitter, December 7, 2023).
- “Daniel Goldman @Danielsgoldman on Twitter” (Twitter, December 7, 2023).
The Senate has one week left on its schedule for the 2023 session, though it could add the week of December 18. Lead Senate Republican negotiator James Lankford (Oklahoma) struck a flexible tone, saying he hoped that a bill can pass by the end of the year and that Republicans’ position isn’t “take it or leave it.”
- “Burgess Everett @Burgessev on Twitter” (Twitter, December 7, 2023).
- “Manu Raju @Mkraju on Twitter” (Twitter, December 7, 2023).
Combining Border Patrol apprehensions and people who came to ports of entry, CBP encountered 9,990 people on Wednesday (December 6). That is down from over 12,000 on Tuesday.
- “Anna Giaritelli @anna_giaritelli on Twitter” (Twitter, December 7, 2023).
In order to free up officers to help with migrant processing, CBP has closed its PedWest pedestrian border crossing at the San Ysidro port of entry south of San Diego. The port of entry in Lukeville, Arizona and one of two bridges into Eagle Pass, Texas remain closed. South of Lukeville, authorities in Sonora, Mexico plan to install “checkpoints and ‘migration filters.’”
- “Statement From Cbp on Operations in San Diego, California” (U.S. Customs and Border Protection, December 7, 2023).
- Rafael Avitabile, “Cbp Closing Pedwest in Response to Increased Illegal Border Crossings” (NBC San Diego, December 7, 2023).
- Emily Bregel, “Mexican Officials Hope to Slow Migrant Surge in Lukeville to Get Port Reopened” (The Arizona Daily Star, December 7, 2023).
At a camp in Jacumba Hot Springs, California, where asylum seekers wait for days for Border Patrol agents to process them, ABC News reported, “The lucky ones have tents; however, most sleep on the gravel and use their clothes to shield them from the elements and their backpacks as pillows.”
- Armando Garcia, Mireya Villarreal, Quinn Owen, Timmy Truong, “Migrant Encampments Surging at Border in Jacumba Hot Springs: Reporter’s Notebook” (ABC News, December 7, 2023).
Analyses and Feature Stories
Deaths of women migrants increased sharply during a record year for migrant deaths in Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector (far west Texas and all of New Mexico). Normally, men are the vast majority of recovered remains, but in New Mexico in 2023, of 78 bodies whose gender could be determined, 40 were female, the El Paso Times found.
- Lauren Villagran, “‘It’s Heartbreaking’: Day After Day, New Mexico Investigator Recovers Migrant Remains” (The El Paso Times, December 7, 2023).
On the Right
- Joseph Simonson, “Faced With Record Illegal Immigration, the White House Wants to Expedite Border Crossings” (The Washington Free Beacon, December 8, 2023).
- Aila Slisco, “Migrants Given $5,000 Gift Cards After Crossing Border: Arizona Sheriff” (Newsweek, December 7, 2023).