US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden AFP

The Biden administration indicated to congressional lawmakers that it would be willing to back the implementation of harder measures at the border in exchange for Republican support to its broad aid package, which includes funding for Ukraine and Israel in their respective wars against Russia and Hamas, CBS reported late Tuesday.

Concretely, the government could support a broader border authority to expel migrants without asylum screenings and a drastic expansion of detentions and deportations, the report said, citing four people familiar with the conversations.

The negotiations take place at a time in which these issues --funding for U.S. allies and the border crisis-- dominate the national conversation. President Biden hosted his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, this week and urged Congress to approve more aid.

"We'll be on your side," Biden told Zelenskiy on Tuesday, asking him to "not lose hope" in fighting the Russian invasion. He added that Putin is convinced that Washington will stop supporting Ukraine, so they must "prove him wrong."

Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky
The U.S. and Ukraine presidents AFP

Biden said he is willing to make "significant compromises" on border issues and, according to CBS, the White House indicated it would support a new law to allow U.S. border officials to summarily expel migrants without processing their asylum claims. This would effectively revive the Trump-era Title 42 pandemic order and allow officials to pause U.S. asylum law without a public health justification.

The administration would also back an expansion of a process known as expedited removal, which allows officials to deport migrants without court hearings if they don't ask for asylum or if they fail their initial asylum interviews. The program is currently limited to the border region. It would also detain certain migrants allowed into the country pending the adjudication of their claims.

Biden's position has put him at odds with members of his own party, with members from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) saying on Monday that they are "deeply concerned" about the negotiations.

Senator Alex Padilla and Rep. Nanette Barragán, both from California, described the measures as "trump-era immigration policies that Democrats fought so hard against -and that he himself campaigned against- in exchange for aid to our allies that Republicans already support."

"Caving to demands for these permanent damaging policy changes as a 'price to be paid for' an unrelated one-time spending package would set a dangerous precedent," the statement adds.

Migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border hit a daily record last Tuesday, as the amount of people making their way to the country continues to increase at a sustained pace. Concretely, there were over 12,000 encounters, according to a report by Fox News, which cited multiple Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources.

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