On Wednesday, the House Republican caucus voted to support a measure aimed at increasing border security by finishing the border wall and hiring thousands of additional border agents. The vote came on the same day that Title 42, a public health order that allowed the government to expel migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic, expired. The measure is unlikely to gain traction in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but it highlights the ongoing divide over immigration policy in Congress.
The bill, called the “Secure the Border, Protect the Homeland Act,” would allocate $7.4 billion for border security efforts, including completing the border wall and hiring 20,000 additional border agents over five years. The bill would also increase funding for technology at the border and create a task force to combat drug smuggling and human trafficking.
Republicans argue that the border is in crisis and that the Biden administration’s policies have encouraged a surge of migrants. Democrats, on the other hand, say that the solution is not more border agents or a physical wall, but rather comprehensive immigration reform.
The expiration of Title 42 has been anticipated for months, and immigration advocates have criticized the policy as a way to circumvent asylum protections. The Biden administration has said it will continue to use other public health measures to control the spread of COVID-19 at the border.
The vote comes as the Biden administration faces ongoing pressure from both sides of the aisle over its handling of immigration. The administration has been criticized for a surge of migrants at the border, as well as its handling of the crisis in Afghanistan.
It remains to be seen whether Congress will be able to find common ground on immigration reform, but the ongoing debate highlights the importance of finding solutions to address the complex issues surrounding the U.S. immigration system.