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Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Friday, April 26, 2024

White House seizes on Mitch McConnell's remarks that Trump stalled action on border security

WASHINGTON — The White House seized on remarks by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that former President Donald Trump resisted accepting any bipartisan compromise to toughen border security laws. McConnell, R-Ky., made the comments hours before the Senate passed a sweeping $95 billion foreign aid package to provide assistance to Ukraine and Israel, capping months of internal GOP infighting that culminated in no immigration add-ons. “This week Senator McConnell explicitly said why the toughest, fairest bipartisan border legislation in modern American history is stalled: ‘our nominee for president did not seem to want us to do anything at all,’” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in an email Thursday. “After President Biden worked with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to assemble a landmark deal that secured the border and cracked down on fentanyl, congressional Republicans have been direct about why many of them sided with drug cartels and human smugglers over the Border Patrol Union and the Chamber of Commerce — because Donald Trump told them to,” Bates added, while noting the declining crime rate nationwide. “President Biden will not allow extreme Republican officials to endanger American communities. He will keep fighting for the toughest, fairest border security deal in decades.” The White House’s swipe at Trump and Republicans comes in the midst of a campaign between Biden and the ex-president. Trump has made anxieties about the immigration and the asylum system a central component of his pitch to voters, and surveys show voters trust Trump over Biden by wide margins on handling the border. Biden is trying to neutralize his vulnerability by arguing that Trump doesn’t care about securing the border and is seeking to weaponize the issue only for political gain. The new White House statement is an indication that Biden’s team plans to continue to lean into that argument. McConnell told reporters Tuesday, hours before the bill passed, that Trump had a role in delaying the passage of Ukraine aid because of his resistance to a bipartisan border deal. “I think the former president had sort of mixed views on it. We all felt that the border was a complete disaster, myself included,” McConnell said. “First there was an effort to make law, which requires you to deal with Democrats, and then a number of our members thought it wasn’t good enough. And then our nominee for president didn’t seem to want us to do anything at all. That took months to work our way through it. So we ended up doing the supplemental that was originally proposed, which dealt with not all problems — it didn’t solve the border problem but certainly addressed the growing threats at the moment.” Biden and Democrats initially rejected GOP demands to include border security in a foreign aid package. But eventually they backed down and struck a deal with McConnell’s designee, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who called it “by far the most conservative border security bill in four decades.” Recommended JOE BIDEN Biden says he would be 'happy to debate' Trump TRUMP ON TRIAL Key prosecution witness in Trump trial faces grilling from former president's lawyers The bill they released would have raised the bar to seek asylum, and it included a host of triggers to turn away new arrivals, but it had none of the legalization provisions Democrats had initially demanded as part of any immigration deal. Trump pressured Republicans to kill the bill anyway, saying on social media that “we need a Strong, Powerful, and essentially ‘PERFECT’ Border and, unless we get that, we are better off not making a Deal.” In a separate post, he wrote: “I do not think we should do a Border Deal, at all, unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people, many from parts unknown, into our once great, the soon to be great again, Country!” Even though McConnell championed the bipartisan bill, it was blocked by a Republican filibuster, as only four GOP senators voted to advance it in February, with the rest arguing that it fell short. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the chief Democratic negotiator on the border deal, said in an interview: “This all took way too long. But if you’re a Democrat and, in the end, you got the full Ukraine, Israel, humanitarian aid — and you fundamentally expose Republicans on their most critical issue, immigration? Query whether that’s a political deal worth taking. “We got Ukraine done,” he said. “And we improved our position dramatically on the issue that we were most vulnerable on in the election: immigration.” Since then, the Biden administration has been considering executive actions to deter illegal migration, but any unilateral steps would pale in comparison to what Congress can do. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

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