The White House on Monday vowed to veto a House Republican bill aimed at cracking down on the flow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, warning it would worsen elements of the immigration system.
“A successful border management strategy must include robust enforcement at the border of illegal crossings, deterrence to discourage illegal immigration, and legal pathways to ensure that those in need of protection are not turned away to face death or serious harm,” the White House said in a Statement of Administration Policy.
The Biden administration statement argued the House bill, called the Secure the Border Act and introduced last week, would cut off access to humanitarian protections, make processing less efficient and reduce funding for programs that help state and local governments that deal with incoming migrants.
“While we welcome Congress’ engagement on meaningful steps to address immigration and the challenges at the border, this bill would make things worse, not better,” the White House said. “Because this bill does very little to actually increase border security while doing a great deal to trample on the Nation’s core values and international obligations, it should be rejected.”
The GOP bill calls for building barriers along hundreds of miles of the southern border, cutting a program that allows certain migrants to stay in the U.S. for up to two years and increasing requirements for verifying the immigration status of certain workers.
The bill stands little chance of gaining traction in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but House Republicans are hoping to push it this week to spotlight the issue of immigration.
The introduction of the legislation comes as Title 42, which allowed the government to expel migrants who might otherwise qualify for asylum because of the coronavirus pandemic, is set to expire on Thursday alongside the COVID-19 national emergency.
The end of the policy, which was first instituted during the Trump administration, has raised fears of a huge surge of migrants at the southern border, leading to renewed attacks on the Biden administration’s immigration policy.
President Biden is temporarily sending 1,500 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of the lifting of Title 42. The military personnel will help with data entry, warehouse support and other tasks, but they will not be doing law enforcement work at the border.