Immigration advocates urge Schumer to abandon reconsideration of border deal

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Immigration advocates urge Schumer to abandon reconsideration of border deal

More than 100 immigration and civil rights organizations are urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to abandon his plans to bring a bipartisan Senate immigration deal to the floor after it was cast aside by the GOP earlier this year.

In a Thursday letter, the groups said the bill “constitutes a deep betrayal of immigrant communities.”

The Senate GOP blocked advancement of the package in February after former President Trump criticized it as something only a “fool” would support. It had been negotiated by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) alongside Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).

But it was also opposed by various immigration allies because it would sharply curtain asylum rights for those fleeing danger and persecution.

The package would raise the “credible fear” standard those seeking asylum would need to meet to further pursue their claim.

It would also only allow migrants to seek asylum if they cross at a port of entry, but that option would also cease if certain border crossing limits were triggered.

“Among many concerns, this bill would, for the first time ever, allow the U.S. government to deny people the opportunity to apply for asylum at our border simply based on border apprehension numbers,” the groups write in a letter, spearheaded by Humans Rights First.

“Instead of supporting a proposal that would exacerbate the challenges at the border, we need Congressional leaders to invest in increasing processing capacity to meet humanitarian and operational needs,” the letter added, arguing Schumer had been critical about efforts to restrict immigration during the Trump administration.

Schumer has told colleagues he plans to bring the legislation to a vote next week.

And on the Senate floor this week, he asked Republicans to join Democrats in backing it.

“We’re not walking away from trying to resolve the problems at the border. We hope Republicans will change course and join us. Instead of just making a lot of speeches, pointing a lot of fingers, blame, blame, blame, let’s get something done. It is right within our grasp, a bipartisan bill that, when shown to many Republicans, they said, ‘Wow,’” Schumer said.

“It wasn’t until Donald Trump said, I want the border to remain in chaos so I can win re-election…that Republicans backed off. Well, shame.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, Immigration Hub, International Refugee Assistance Project and the National Immigrant Justice Center were among the groups that asked Schumer to keep the bill shelved.

Schumer’s initial consideration of the bill followed demands from Republicans that aid to Ukraine would only mulled if it was paired with immigration reform.

However, the GOP later shifted on that demand, passing an aid bill for Ukraine and other allies last month.

“Now, aid for Ukraine is not an issue. Sending this harmful and counterproductive bill to vote, again, constitutes a deep betrayal of immigrant communities,” the groups wrote.