Migrants await processing by immigration authorities after crossing the US-Mexico border in Eagle Pass, Texas, December 20, 2023
Representational image

Negotiators in the Senate announced late on Thursday that they reached a tentative agreement on the bill aimed at strengthening immigration and asylum laws, aiming to release its content soon and holding a vote on it as soon as next week.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that the prompt release of the text will "give members plenty of time to read the bill before voting." He intends to hold the first procedural vote "no later than Wednesday."

Negotiators from both parties are pushing ahead with the initiative despite fierce opposition from some high-ranking Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson and likely presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Republican Senator James Lankford, the party's leading negotiator, is among those hopeful that the release of the bill will help sway lawmakers from his party. "I feel like the guy standing in the middle of the field in a thunderstorm holding up the metal stick currently," said Lankford, who has been having one-on-one meetings with fellow Republicans to address "misinformation" about it.

However, it is unclear whether his efforts will be fruitful, as Johnson and Trump have dug in their heels, with the first one calling it "dead on arrival." Trump, on his end, explicitly saying that the party shouldn't do any deal "at all, unless we get EVERYTHING."

Former U.S. President Donald Trump Brandon Bell/Getty Images.

The momentum is moving against the negotiators, with Punchbowl News reporting on Thursday that "Senate Minority Whip John Thune explicitly and repeatedly told Republicans that things are heading in the wrong direction."

Moreover, Senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, said he's inclined to supporting the measure but the prospects are dim as some of his colleagues prefer not to ""walk the plank," especially considering it's unlikely the bill will pass the House.

The bill needs 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate, but Republicans want to get at least 25 votes to give their support.

President Joe Biden, on his end, pressured Republicans to pass the deal, saying that is willing to exercise the ability to shut down the border if it's passed.

"What's been negotiated would —if passed into law— be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we've ever had in our country," Biden said. "It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law."

Among the main provisions of the deal: it would limit options from people outside the U.S. to seek asylum in the country, it would raise the standard to qualify for asylum and speed up processing of claims, reduce possibilities to appeal if rejected and strengthen the monitoring of migrants throughout the process.

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