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Senators Unveil $118.28 Billion Bipartisan Bill Overhauling Immigration System

A bipartisan group of senators has unveiled the text for a proposal of a bill that would combine billions of dollars in foreign aid to a major overhaul of America’s immigration system. Senators James Lankford, Chris Murphy and Kyrsten Sinema are the lead authors of a bill that plans to improve border security and immigration enforcement while providing more assistance to Taiwan, Israel and Ukraine.


The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Patty Murray, released the full text of the $118.28 billion national security supplemental package Sunday night. The funding includes $60.06 billion in supporting Ukraine in the fight against Russia and $14.1 billion towards providing security assistance for Israel. There is also $10 billion in humanitarian assistance for people stuck in Gaza, the West Bank, Ukraine, and other conflict zones around the world.


The bill also includes border policy changes, $20.3 billion towards supporting the existing needs of operating the border, and the introduction of the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence Off Fentanyl Act.

The deal would supposedly require the Department of Homeland Security to almost shut down the border if the number of migrants crossing rises above 5,000 per day in any week or if the average daily encounters reach a 4,000-a-day threshold in one week.


This then set off Republican opposition to the bill, which Lankford, the Republican key negotiator of the bill, worked on dissuading up to its release. The Senate is expected to begin voting on the legislation later in the week. The bill’s supporters will need 60 votes to proceed during a procedural vote happening on Wednesday. 


This bill comes after increased controversy surrounding illegal migrant crossings along the Rio Grande River and transportation of migrants by Texas Governor Greg Abbot to cities like Chicago and New York, which has cost the Texas government $124 million.


The fentanyl portion of the bill comes after a highly publicized hearing last month by singer and former drug dealer Jason Bradley “Jelly Roll” DeFord, who discussed the opioid and fentanyl epidemic. During the hearing, he called for government action and to be more proactive regarding action towards the drug. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug used as pain relief and anaesthetic and is approximately 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin.

President Joe Biden reacted to the unveiling of the deal by saying in a statement on the White House official website: "For too long, going back decades, the immigration system has been broken. It’s time to fix it. … I strongly support it."


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