Apr 17, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House GOP resurrects Trump-era rules in new border legislation

Committee chairman U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) attend a hearing on U.S. southern border security. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Republicans on the House Judiciary panel are set to unveil border legislation that includes codifying controversial Trump-era policies.

Why it matters: GOP infighting over specifics has delayed Speaker Kevin McCarthy's promise to bring immigration legislation to the House floor early in this Congress.

  • The bill, which is unlikely to gain Democratic support, is slated for a committee markup on Wednesday.
  • It combines eight separate bills into one, and is expected to be combined with another bill out of the Homeland Security committee before being brought to the floor, a leadership source confirmed.

What to watch: The bill includes measures that would allow the U.S. to suspend entry of migrants and asylum seekers who illegally cross the border if there are no resources to detain, expel or remove them.

  • This mirrors a bill from Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) that had been headed for a vote earlier this year before pushback from some moderates — namely, fellow Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales.
  • Gonzales has previously said he would not vote for any package that includes cutting off some of the few legal pathways for migrants.

Zoom in: On asylum, the bill takes from several Trump-era regulations and executive actions, a GOP aide familiar told Axios.

  • It would require asylum seekers to come through ports of entry, rather than crossing the border illegally. It would also prevent victims of domestic abuse or gang violence from being granted asylum on those claims alone.
  • Measures would enable the long-term detention of migrant families, make it easier to deport minors who cross the border without their parents or legal guardians and ending parole programs targeting certain nationalities that have been used broadly by the Biden administration.
  • The bill would also make E-verify mandatory.
  • The section that would enable the long-term detention of migrant families is titled, "ENSURING UNITED FAMILIES AT THE BORDER."

The big picture: In recent years, Republicans have made a top issue out of the rise in migrants and asylum seekers, who are often facing a treacherous voyage to the southern border.

  • Since taking control of the House, Republicans have held several delegations and field hearings along the southwest border.
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