Republicans Intensify Border Security Demands Amid Escalating Concerns Over Ukraine Aid and Growing Jeopardy

US & WORLD

A deal to increase U.S. assistance to Ukraine by the end of the year seems increasingly elusive for President Joe Biden. Despite dire warnings from the White House about the consequences of inaction, an impasse in Congress deepens as Republicans insist on tying the funding to changes in America’s immigration and border policies.

This week, President Biden expressed his willingness to “make significant compromises on the border,” prompting Republicans to revive demands they had previously set aside. Their positions have hardened, and negotiations are shifting rightward, according to an anonymous source familiar with the talks.

During a meeting before senators left Washington on Thursday, lead GOP negotiator Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., presented a new proposal. This proposal could force the White House to consider measures that many Democrats strongly oppose, creating additional obstacles in the already complex negotiations.

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President Biden faces the potential erosion of a key aspect of his foreign policy – deterring Russia’s Vladimir Putin from taking over Ukraine. U.S. support for funding the war is diminishing, especially among Republicans. The White House warns that a failure to approve more aid by year’s end could have catastrophic consequences for Ukraine and its ability to fight.

To maintain U.S. support, the Biden administration has been quietly engaging in Senate talks on border policy in recent weeks. They are assisting a small group of senators in reaching a deal and communicating which policy changes they find acceptable.

President Biden is navigating delicate ground, aiming to satisfy GOP demands to reduce the influx of migrants at the southern border while addressing Democrats’ concerns about potential impediments to legal immigration.

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As negotiations resumed this week, Democrats cautioned their GOP counterparts that time for a deal was running short, with Congress scheduled to depart Washington in mid-December for a holiday break.

The new Republican proposal reinforces policy changes that had previously caused Democrats to step back from negotiations. It calls for ending the humanitarian parole program for certain classes of migrants and proposes monitoring systems like ankle bracelets for those awaiting parole at the border.

Sen. Lankford, the lead GOP negotiator, declined to discuss specifics but emphasized negotiating in good faith. He highlighted the challenges posed by the historic number of migrants at the border.

While senators had made some progress before Thursday, the new Republican proposal introduces contentious policy changes, leaving the fate of the negotiations uncertain. The complexity of the issue makes finding an agreement challenging, even as some senators express optimism for a resolution this year.

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