Senate conservatives are ratcheting up their opposition to an emerging bipartisan deal that would fund Ukraine and address border security, declaring it a “stinking pile of crap” that will allow millions more migrants to cross into the country without resistance.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued at a press conference Wednesday that former President Trump was able to drive the number of migrants crossing the border to just more than 500 people a day “without this stinking pile of crap bill.”
He accused Republicans negotiating the legislation of only wanting to provide money for the war in Ukraine and said they will merely provide the semblance of border security reform to achieve that objective.
He said the emerging Senate border deal may give a green light to letting up to 5,000 migrants per day into the country, and it provides an incentive to millions more people to stream across the border.
“It’s not that they’re bad at negotiating. It’s that they want this outcome and this outcome is terrible for the American people,” Cruz fumed.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) addresses reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 to discuss the border security bill being negotiated in the Senate. (Greg Nash)
Cruz joined Republican Sens. Rick Scott (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Eric Schmitt (Mo.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Mike Braun (Ind.) at a press conference to pan the emerging deal.
The conservative senators acknowledged they haven’t seen all the details of the bill yet, but they’re confident they’ll hate whatever deal emerges.
“One thing that’s important to me is that we don’t codify Biden’s open-door policy. They’re talking about, ‘We’re OK with 5,000 people a day,’” said Scott.
Scott said the bill will likely fail in the House and faulted Senate leaders for not bringing Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) into the negotiations.
“Why isn’t the House part of this negotiation. We have a Republican House. We should not be voting for anything as Republicans in the Senate if Republicans in the House don’t support it,” Scott added, calling on lawmakers to “close the border” until a Republican president is elected.
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Lee, the chair of the Senate Steering Committee, argued Biden “has more than enough tools at his disposal” to stop the flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, which now averages 10,000 people daily.
He criticized the emerging deal for getting rid of the six-month waiting period for work permits.
“That will turn up the electromagnet bringing in illegal immigration and it’s wrong,” he said.
“From what I’m hearing this could cause as many problems as it solves and there’s a risk of it creating some much bigger problems that we don’t even have right now,” he said.
Ron Johnson said the emerging bill is a Rube Goldberg-type solution to the border crisis, referring to the American cartoonist who was famous for devising comically complex contraptions to perform simple tasks.
“This doesn’t have to be complex, this should actually be pretty simple,” he said.
He argued 1,000 people a day crossing the border during the Obama administration “overwhelmed” the nation’s immigration system and now Senate negotiators are putting together a deal that would allow thousands of people more into the country on a daily basis.
Ron Johnson asked whether the proposal to give the president enhanced deportation authority only when the number of migrants crossing the border exceeds 5,000 people per day could “hinder” Trump if he becomes the next president.
He also said the plan to spend billions to “hire a lot more border patrol agents” to process 4,000 to 5,000 migrants a day is “stupid.”
“Shouldn’t we shut down the border and keep it under 1,000 so it doesn’t overwhelm the current system as opposed to stand up the system that can accept 4,000 or 5,000 people a day?” he demanded.
“We’re told we’re going to fund sanctuary cities. Isn’t that stupid? Take better care of illegal immigrants and that’s just going to cause more to come,” he said.
“There are so many aspects of this bill as we understand it that make no sense whatsoever,” Ron Johnson added.