House Democrats Urge Biden to Bolster Border Security After He Signs $95 Billion Foreign Aid Bill

The lawmakers said they ’strongly agree’ with the National Border Patrol Council that Congress and the president must bring order to the southern border.

A group of centrist House Democrats is calling on President Joe Biden to bolster security at the southern border just hours after he signed a foreign aid package totaling $95 billion into law.

In a statement published on Wednesday, Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (D-Wash.), Jared Golden (D-Maine) Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), and Don Davis (D-N.C.) said they “strongly agree” with the National Border Patrol Council—a labor union—that “Congress and the President must act and bring order to the Southern border.”

“Our national security interests don’t stop at our physical borders,” the group said. “That is why we voted to send more weapons to Ukraine for its fight against Russia. The lesson of Pearl Harbor must not be forgotten: appeasement invites aggression against us. As Speaker Johnson stated last week, we would rather send ‘bullets than American boys.’”

The statement went on to note that all five lawmakers voted to provide Border Patrol with $19.6 billion “so that it could ramp up its efforts to secure the border.”

Concluding their statement, the lawmakers called on President Biden to use his authority to remove some illegal immigrants to Mexico on an expedited basis and for Congress to pass legislation that would “give Border Patrol back the expulsion authority that expired last year.”

Their statement came just hours after President Biden signed into law the $95 billion aid package, proclaiming that it was “a good day for America, a good day for Europe, and it’s a good day for world peace.”

What’s Included in the Foreign Aid Bill?

Under the measure, lawmakers approved roughly $61 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine amid its ongoing invasion by Russian forces, and roughly $26 billion for Israel, along with $8.12 billion for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific.

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More specifically, when it comes to Ukraine, the package states that some U.S. aid to the country—nearly $10 billion—will be in the form of a repayable loan, albeit a forgivable one.

It also includes weapons and assistance for Ukrainian forces, such as the long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems, and allows for assets seized from Russian oligarchs and those with close ties to the Kremlin to be used by the U.S. government to help rebuild Ukraine and finance some of the package’s foreign aid.

The foreign aid bill also includes a provision that could potentially ban or force the sale of the video-streaming app TikTok in the United States.

Other measures focus on sanctioning Iran, quashing China’s fentanyl supply chain, and protecting against money laundering in Mexico and China.

In a press release after signing the measure into law on Wednesday, President Biden said the bill would bolster safety in America and across the globe while also continuing U.S. leadership.

“It gives vital support to America’s partners so they can defend themselves against threats to their sovereignty and to the lives and freedom of their citizens and it’s an investment in our own security, because when our allies are stronger—and I want to make this point again and again—when our allies are stronger, we are stronger,” President Biden said.

The U.S. leader also noted Washington would start sending equipment to Ukraine for air defense munitions, artillery, rocket systems, and armored vehicles almost immediately.

‘Beyond Disappointed’

While Democrats have touted the bill for increasing U.S. security, Republican lawmakers and border security officials have criticized the measure for failing to provide sufficient border security funding or policy provisions amid the ongoing immigration crisis at the southern border.

In a statement to Fox News last week after the measure passed through the House, the National Border Patrol Council’s President Brandon Judd said the labor union was “beyond disappointed” that the House voted to grant aid to “secure the borders of foreign countries” but not to allow Border Patrol to secure the safety of the United States.

President Joe Biden shakes hands with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after a meeting in the East Room of the White House, on Sept. 21, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden shakes hands with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after a meeting in the East Room of the White House, on Sept. 21, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“There’s nothing more backward,” Mr. Judd told the publication. “I wouldn’t have even expected taxpayers’ dollars. They could have given us policy, and that would have been enough.”

In signing the bill into law on Wednesday, President Biden blamed Congress for not ensuring border security measures featured in the bill.

“Just this year, I proposed and negotiated and agreed to the strongest border security bill this country has ever seen,” he said. “It was bipartisan. It should have been included in this bill. And I’m determined to get it done for the American people.”

T.J. Muscaro contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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