House Republicans are seeking to force a vote on a bill that would curb illegal immigration by reinstating border security rules set forth by the Trump administration.
Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona and Matt Rosendale of Montana introduced a resolution on Wednesday that aims to gather support for consideration of Mr. Rosendale’s bill, which would implement the border controls.
The bill, dubbed the Remain in Mexico Act, would require the Department of Homeland Security to put migrant protection protocols in place. Those controls would allow the U.S. government to return some migrants to Mexico as they await their immigration proceedings.
“MPP was one of the most effective tools in our arsenal to curb illegal immigration under the Trump administration,” Mr. Rosendale said in a statement. “The Biden administration worked to undermine this policy since the moment he took office, and the result has been an unprecedented border crisis.”
The lawmakers must obtain the signatures of 218 members in order to force a vote on the resolution. If the resolution were to pass, it would then force a vote on the bill.
The Republicans are likely to garner support from members of their party, but are expected to encounter Democratic opposition.
However, a handful of Democrats including Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Frederica Wilson of Florida, have broken with their party on the need to better secure the border and immigration.
In a court filing on Monday, the Biden administration urged a federal appeals court to let it nix the Trump-era policy that requires some asylum seekers to return to Mexico as their cases are processed.
If successful, the administration’s move would lift an injunction ordered by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Texas, who ruled that the policy should remain in place until border patrol has enough capacity to detain illegal immigrants at the border, as well as those already in the country unlawfully.
Mr. Biggs said his resolution would in part act as a congressional check on the administration to ensure it keeps the protocols in place.
“While we are pleased that Judge Kacsmaryk has ordered DHS to enforce and implement MPP, Congress must act to ensure that the Biden administration actually implements MPP,” Mr. Biggs said in a statement. “We must act to secure our borders and address the Biden border crisis since President Biden has proven that he is unwilling to do so.”
The Justice Department argued the injunction oversteps the entitled “discretion” that the executive branch has on handling border security and foreign policy.
In hopes for a compromise, the White House is also considering a proposal that would be a diluted version of the policy, requiring a smaller number of migrants to wait in Mexico as their cases are processed.
The new proposal, which some have called “Remain in Mexico lite,” would reportedly offer better housing conditions and attorney access, while also complying with the court ruling.
“Our point of view continues to be that this program was not implemented in a moral way,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “It was inefficient. It used [CBP] resources. It led to a backlog in the system. And it is fundamentally a program we have opposed, but we are also abiding by a court order.”