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Britt, Tuberville blast border security bill ahead of vote today

Alabama’s two members of the U.S. Senate, Republican Sens. Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville, took aim Wednesday at a bipartisan border security package scheduled to be voted on today.

The two senators’ opposition to the proposal is shared by a number of other Republican senators, leaving the bill unlikely to receive the required 60 votes for passage. Though unlikely to reach the House, Speaker Mike Johnson has already said the bill would be “dead on arrival” should it somehow pass through the Senate.

Though the security package was blocked by Republicans from being voted on back in February, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer, D-NY, along with other Democratic leaders, revived the package in an effort to force a vote on border security and put Republican senators’ positions on the record.

“All those who say we need to act on the border will get a chance this week to show they’re serious about fixing the border,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Monday.

Tuberville, speaking with reporters by phone Wednesday, made his opposition to the bill clear.

“Chuck Schumer is trying to revive Democrats’ so-called border security bill; make no mistake about this, this is not a border security bill. Democrats and Republicans’ leadership crafted this bill in secret, without any input from my Republican colleagues,” Tuberville said. 

“It is a complete joke, the bill does nothing to support continued construction of the border wall, or stop illegals from crossing into our country between points of entry.”

The bill includes $20.2 billion for improvements to border security, $2.3 billion for refugee assistance inside the United States, and also reforms how cases of asylum are handled.

Under the bill, asylum cases would no longer be heard by the Department of Justice, but rather, asylum officers with the Department of Homeland Security. Requirements for being granted asylum as a refugee would also be heightened, including more disqualifiers for having a criminal history.

The changes, however, were insufficient for Tuberville, as well as Britt, whose staff referred Alabama Daily News to a statement she made on the bill back in February, a statement that her spokesperson told ADN Wednesday “remains true” today.

“The legislation would not place any meaningful limits on presidential abuse of parole, would not end ‘catch and release,’ and would not force this administration to begin properly executing interior enforcement, three crucial elements of any strong solution to the ongoing border crisis,” Britt said.

Tuberville added that he would be introducing his own bill this week focused on border security known as the Border Safety and Security Act, which he said would force an immediate, temporary shutdown of the U.S. southern border.

“(The bill) would require the immediate shutdown of the border until DHS regains operational control of the border,” Tuberville said. 

“If Democrats were serious about securing the border, they would vote for the Border Safety and Security Act, but they won’t. They will continue to choose open borders, more crimes, more fentanyl overdoses, more human trafficking, more terrorists over the safety of their own taxpaying constituents.”

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