EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., told Fox News Digital on Monday that he is a definite no vote on the Senate border and immigration deal coupled to aid for Israel and Ukraine — arguing that aid to Israel should be siloed off separately and that President Biden already has the power he needs to end the border crisis.
“I’m a Hades no,” Scott said when asked if he would support the agreement released on Sunday evening and which will likely be voted on this week.
Senate negotiators released the $118 billion supplemental spending deal package late Sunday, which includes funding for Ukraine, Israel and approximately $20 billion in funding for border and immigration-related matters.
It includes a new border authority to allow Title 42-style expulsions when migration levels exceed 5,000 a day over a 7-day rolling average, narrows asylum eligibility while expediting the process, provides additional work permits for asylum seekers and funds a massive increase in staffing at the border, in the immigration courts and asylum offices.
It is facing considerable heat from conservatives, including in the Republican-controlled House, where lawmakers have claimed the deal will regularize high levels of illegal immigration, while funding non-governmental organizations and gives legal aid to illegal immigrants. Some on the left have also objected to the bill due to its failure to include a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
Scott slammed the bill as “unsatisfactory and unnecessary” as he argued that Biden is already able to secure the border without a power that Scott believes allows too many migrant crossings before it is activated. Biden has said he can’t secure the border without fixes to a “broken” immigration system and additional funding.
“I think it’s such a lie to think that Joe Biden needs Congress to act in order for him to secure the border,” Scott said.
He also objected that the bill is being coupled with $60 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel, saying those issues should be debated and passed separately.
“We’re going to spend $60 billion for Ukraine, and we already need accountability in the resources that we’re spending,” he said. “What brought us to this point, the crisis in Israel, $14 or so billion. We are making a critical mistake in using our ally Israel’s crisis to put more money into Ukraine and less real attention on the border,” he said.
“I’m thankful that we are finally having a conversation about the border, but it’s the wrong one. It should be in a silo. We should be fixing and securing our southern border, and the president of the United States can do that right now,” he said. “He undid what [former President Donald] Trump secures for us. Joe Biden did it by himself. He literally shredded a secure border with his actions as president.”
Scott, who recently ended his 2024 bid for president and backed Trump for his White House bid, said that he would first take care of Israel on its own, then have a standalone bill to deal with the border crisis.
“It would actually acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of people coming across our border aren’t from Mexico,” he said. “Literally, Chinese nationals are coming across our southern border at record numbers, we see 150 plus countries represented on our southern border. So if we were to do an effective job, we would have these in silo packages so that we could actually confront the problem facing this nation to include what I believe are sleeper cells in our nation, because …the Biden administration, they have not monitored who’s coming in our country with an 85% release ratio, with 10 million people coming in by the election.”
Scott contrasted that with the stance taken by the Trump administration, which he sees as a success in controlling illegal migration into the U.S.
“The key was the desire to have a secure border number one,” he said. “The second was the tenacity and the fortitude to take the necessary steps to secure our border, to include the Remain in Mexico policy, to include seeking asylum in a country that’s contiguous with yours, to include looking at putting more focus on Mexico’s other border, not our border, and of course, the, codifying a wall and the funding for it,” he said.