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Editor’s Note: POGO staff is logging off for the holidays next week, so this is our last edition of Weekly Spotlight for 2023. We wish you a restful holiday and a happy new year. See you in 2024!
Something dangerous is unfolding in the Senate right now. Immigration rights are being treated as a concession in negotiations over foreign aid.
Last week, in a 51-49 party-line vote, Republican Senators blocked a supplemental aid bill addressing a funding request including military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan from President Joe Biden, demanding that the bill be amended to include severe domestic immigration policies. The legislation proposed could drastically cut off pathways for asylum seekers looking for haven in the U.S. — and could include a dramatic expansion of power within the interior of the country for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — a massive and largely unaccountable law enforcement agency.
Previous U.S. aid to Ukraine is set to run out by the end of the year. President Biden has made it clear that securing more aid for Ukraine is a priority for him — even saying that he is “willing to make significant compromises on the border” to get there.
If President Biden obliges, the impact would be disastrous. The proposed policy changes would expand nationwide expedited removal, a process that gives CBP the power to deport undocumented people without due legal process. We’ve written on the dangers of expanding expedited removal before.
The Senate delayed their holiday recess this week to continue negotiations over the bill. As they continue, it is critical that President Biden refuses to concede to extremist immigration policies in exchange for foreign aid.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“It really speaks to our priorities that the Pentagon has divested from essential functions like base security.”
Julia Gledhill, Analyst for the Center for Defense Information, inthe Intercept
"Because the Marine Corps built an operating concept around this aircraft, whenever they’re grounded ... that creates a huge disruption to Marine Corps operations."
Dan Grazier, Senior Defense Policy Fellow, in KPBS