The White House issued a veto threat on Monday against a House Republican bill addressing immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The introduction of Secure the Border Act 2023 comes as Title 42, which allowed the governments to expel migrants who might otherwise qualify for asylum, is set to expire on Thursday, The Hill reports.
The Secure the Border Act 2023 “does nothing to address the root causes of migration, reduces humanitarian protections, and restricts lawful pathways, which are critical alternatives to unlawful entry,” the White House said in a Statement of Administration Policy.
Republicans say the bill would address the crisis at the border by mandating that Customs and Border Protection hire and train 22,000 border patrol agents and develop a plan to upgrade existing technology to make sure agents are well-equipped and safe. Additionally, the DHS secretary would be required to immediately resume construction of the border wall.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said the bill is “the strongest border security package that Congress has ever taken up.”
The White House said the bill would reduce funding for essential programs and cut off the humanitarian protections “in ways that are inconsistent with our Nation’s values and international obligations” and would make processing less efficient.
“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 Biden administration said.
Republicans introduced the Secure the Border Act 2023 in April. The bill was met with major backlash from the congressional Democrats because they said it would “punish all noncitizens, legal residents, trafficking victims and refugees.
Once Title 42 expires on Thursday, the U.S. will go back to using national immigration laws and other tools that target asylum-seekers.
In an MSNBC interview on Friday, Biden stood by his decision to send 1,500 troops to the southern U.S. border ahead of the expected surge at the border and argued that a legislative response was needed. He concluded it is up to Congress to pass an immigration bill.