The bill also disproportionately allocates more funding for US overseas military efforts: $60 billion for Ukraine and $14.1 billion for Israel, whereas it allocates just $20 billion for border security. Biden's original supplemental request included $14 billion for the border, meaning the Senate leaders expanded the funding by some $6 billion.
The proposed $20 billion for immigration enforcement includes the hiring and training of hundreds of Border Patrol agents and thousands of new officers to evaluate asylum claims; as well as funding shelters and services in cities across the US, which is deemed too little, too late by the House GOP.
The bill provides $650 million to build a border wall, whereas Congress appropriated at least $1.4 billion to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in each of fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to build a barrier system along the southwestern US border. House Republicans planned to wall off at least 900 miles of the US’ roughly 2,000-mile border with Mexico.
The legislation's asylum reform would mandate the expulsion of illegal immigrants only if the number of illegal border crossings exceeds 5,000 daily for a five-day average. House Republicans are seeking to tighten asylum standards by restricting asylum to only foreigners who cross at legal ports of entry.
The new bill would mandate expulsion when there are more than 5,000 daily crossings, whereas in September, October, November and December 2023, more than 10,000 people a day crossed the southern border, suggesting a tough job for border security which remains understaffed and underfunded, as per Republicans.
Besides allowing 5,000 illegal immigrants to enter a day, the bill would give automatic work permits to asylum recipients which would turn the process into "a magnet for more illegal immigration," Republicans argue.
The law clarifies the definition of the Biden administration's humanitarian parole system to stop abuse at the border, whereas Republicans seek to cancel the measure altogether. (The system allowed certain non-US citizens to enter or remain in the United States if they apply for admission but lack any legal basis for admission).
The new bill was drafted in "secrecy" by top senators, not allowing lawmakers to participate in the drafting, with Senate leaders forcing a quick vote on it to deny them "a real opportunity to read, digest, and debate the measure on its merits", as per Mike Lee, a senator from Utah.