Debate continues in Congress over tying military aid to border asylum restrictions

Published: Wednesday, December 6, 2023 - 8:43am

Lawmakers in Congress are still mulling over a deal that could tie President Joe Biden's foreign military aid package requests to a bill that would restrict asylum processing at the border. 

In a letter sent this week to the White House, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson says he would approve a multibillion dollar aid package for Ukraine only if the House’s border bill was passed. 

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick with the American Immigration Council says that would essentially end asylum access at the border. 

"At the end of the day, if we’re going to be talking about ending our decades old system of asylum protections, we should have a long and deliberate conversation about it, not try to rush it through in an unrelated funding bill for our allies," he said.

U.S. and international law guarantee the right to seek asylum at the border. But under the House bill, called the Secure the Border Act, migrants who passed through a third country would be outright banned from asking for that protection. It would also limit the administration's ability to use an emergency, short-term immigration status called humanitarian parole, and roll back protections under the 1997 Flores agreement, which prohibits immigrant children from being held in long-term immigration detention. 

PoliticsFronterasImmigration Southwest Border