Migrant Crisis at U.S. Southern Border Tackled by $118 Billion Senate Package: Here’s What’s Included

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan deal has been revealed by lawmakers on Sunday, consisting of a $118 billion package that aims to address the migrant crisis at the southern border, as well as provide new aid for Ukraine, Israel, and other U.S. allies. The House faces a challenging path forward, as Republican leadership has quickly criticized the deal.

The 370-page bill includes a supplemental aid package requested by President Joe Biden for foreign conflicts, appropriating $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, and $10 billion for humanitarian aid, including in Gaza. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to begin the process of considering the legislation this week, despite criticism from former President Donald Trump and other GOP leaders.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., expressed disappointment in the bill, calling it “even worse than expected” and predicting that it would be “dead on arrival” if it reached the House. Even some Republican senators immediately slammed it, with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, stating, “I cannot understand how any Republican would think this was a good idea.”

In a call with reporters, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., urged his colleagues to consider the bill before passing judgment, emphasizing the need to thoroughly evaluate the legislation. Meanwhile, President Biden has voiced strong support for the bill, describing it as the “toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades.”

The proposal seeks to expand detention capacity and make it harder for people to qualify for asylum, while also providing additional funding for the Department of Homeland Security to address various border-related challenges. However, one of the most controversial elements of the bill is the three-year policy to shut down the processing of asylum applications from people who crossed illegally if certain triggers are met.

In addition to opposition from House Republicans, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has also criticized the package, arguing for further reform to provide a safe, legal pathway to citizenship for migrants. The debate around the bill reflects the ongoing challenges and divisions in addressing the migrant crisis and border security.