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US Republicans Consider Excluding Pathway to Citizenship in New Immigration Bill

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Mahnoor Jehangir
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US Republicans Consider Excluding Pathway to Citizenship in New Immigration Bill

Republicans in the United States Congress are reportedly considering excluding the possibility of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in a new immigration bill. This decision signifies a significant shift from previous endeavors that contemplated incorporating a process to regularize the status of millions of individuals without legal standing in the country. The current focus of the Republican party seems to center on strengthening border security and addressing the underlying causes of irregular migration such as economic instability and violence in the migrants' countries of origin. The exclusion of a pathway to citizenship could become a point of contention between Democrats and Republicans, complicating the chances of the legislation progressing in a divided Congress.

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Unlikely Inclusion of Pathways to Citizenship in Border Deal

Pathways to citizenship for young immigrants protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are unlikely to be included in a border deal lawmakers are trying to hash out in the final weeks of the year. Republicans are demanding tougher border security measures and stricter asylum laws in exchange for the additional Ukraine aid sought by the Biden administration. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., involved with the negotiations, stated that new pathways to citizenship won't be a part of any final agreement.

Democrats' Standpoint

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Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a top Democratic negotiator in the talks, said that while DACA is a priority that Democrats would want in the deal, it doesn't align with what Republicans want the final bill to look like. Congressional leaders are aiming to pass legislation before Christmas that includes supplemental aid to Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific.

Republicans' Demand and Implication

Republicans are demanding tougher border security measures and stricter asylum laws in exchange for the additional Ukraine aid sought by the Biden administration. Nonprofits advocating for asylum-seekers caution Congress against rushing massive immigration policy changes into proposed spending bills tied with Ukraine, predicting it would provoke 'chaos' in border communities and make asylum standards much tougher.

Immigration Policies Reflecting Former President's Stand

Candidates for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination mirror hard-line immigration policies set by former President Donald Trump. They have argued for the reinstatement of Title 42, a pandemic-era immigration policy that immediately expelled migrants and barred them from claiming asylum. The key sticking point in border talks among US Senate negotiators remains how to handle an immigration authority that gives the administration broad discretion to allow certain migrants into the United States on a temporary basis.

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