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Lawmakers negotiate US border deal with Ukraine, Israel aid attached

State leaders are demanding U.S. immigration reform as lawmakers in Washington form a border deal that also assists in funding world partners.
Lawmakers negotiate US border deal with Ukraine, Israel attached
Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 17, 2023

Lawmakers in Washington met on Sunday to work through legislation that would possibly form a U.S. border security deal to satisfy state leaders, and would also include aid for international partners like Ukraine and Israel. 

As calls for U.S. immigration reform continue to sound loudly, changes to fix ongoing problems at the U.S. southern border with Mexico were also on the list of demands from leaders on Capitol Hill. There were messages of optimism and pessimism coming from various members of Congress as bipartisan support for the issue at hand felt somewhat out of reach.  

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West Virginia's Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin injected hope into the debate saying over the weekend he was "very optimistic." Manchin said negotiations were progressing "in a very positive way." He said "They understand that the border is broken, that the glass ceiling has been broken and we've got to stop this dangerous immigration that we have coming to our country from all over the world."

Some Republicans pushed back on that optimism, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham who said he felt like the GOP was being "jammed" amid the talks. 

"We're not anywhere close to a deal," he said. Graham signaled he predicts the negotiations will stretch into 2024. 

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons called the situation at the U.S. border with Mexico a crisis, and said lawmakers need to take "responsible steps that reflect our values."

The White House has urged lawmakers to act as aid for the conflict in Ukraine is expected to run out, and could dry up by the end of the year without additional steps from U.S. lawmakers. 

Some Republicans have not voiced support for additional defense aid for Ukraine after months of conflict and military aid packages. The GOP is using that as part of its bargaining power to push through more actions on U.S. border security.

Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales said lawmakers need to act now calling the situation in his district "pure chaos."

Rep. Gonzales said his constituents are "upset because their lives have been turned upside down. My district is predominately Hispanic. Many people are first and second generation Americans, but they're tired. They're tired of the high-speed chases, they're tired of their schools going into lockdown."

Republican 2024 presidential nominee front-runner Donald Trump delivered controversial anti-migrant remarks over the weekend referencing "blood" purity at a political rally, the Associated Press reported. 

In nearby Arizona, Governor Katie Hobbs ordered the state's National Guard to deploy to the border with Mexico and assist border agents trying quell the flow of migrants into the United States. Hobbs accused the Biden administration of failing to respond to requests for reimbursement of funds used for border security that her state has spent. 

On Sunday Sen. Rick Scott issued a statement announcing he joined in with at least 14 other GOP lawmakers in the Senate to send a letter to Conference Chair John Barrasso requesting a meeting at the start of 2024 on the issue. 

GOP lawmakers are pushing for talks with President Joe Biden to urge action on border security demands. In a letter endorsed by lawmakers, the members of Congress said, "The American public deserves an open and transparent process which cannot occur until the House returns the week of January 8, 2024."

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