FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is turning up the heat on his opposition to the emerging border deal that officials expect as soon as next week.
“James Lankford is smart, hardworking, and knows the issue — he’s on a suicide mission,” Scott told Fox News Digital. “So it’s real simple — if we cannot force Biden to secure the border, we need to just shut the border down.”
“If we go back home, the voters are not saying ‘hey, we want to secure border next year,’ — they’re saying, ‘we want to secure borders today.’ So, I’m not going to support something that doesn’t do it,” he said.
Scott is part of a growing group of Senate Republicans who have voiced opposition to the purported border deal — with only one portion relating to asylum being worked out in the appropriations committee — as details of the deal were leaked last week.
However, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has already indicated that if the deal resembles what has been reported out of the negotiations, it will be dead on arrival in the House.
Scott said he recently chatted with Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is trudging forward with Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to bring the bill to a floor vote as soon as possible.
It’s unclear when the final bill text will be available, but the White House has been urging Johnson to grant Biden “authority and funding” to secure the border. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump — expected to be the GOP presidential nominee — has been urging lawmakers to reject the deal.
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But Scott shifted blame to the leader, arguing McConnell is disconnected from a majority of American voters.
“So, what scares us is that we were told, ‘Oh, you’re gonna have plenty of time,’ and then we’re also told, ‘we’re gonna vote on it this week.’ Well, give me a break, I haven’t read it,” he said.
Talks have been ongoing for months as a bipartisan group of lawmakers — Sens. James Lankford, Krysten Sinema, and Chris Murphy — have tried to strike a deal with White House officials to fix the crisis at the southern border. The deal would be included in supplemental spending that includes billions in foreign assistance to Ukraine and Israel.
The Biden administration is seeking over $100 billion in funding, including $14 billion for the border. But Republicans have demanded limits on migrant releases into the interior, including the use of parole, and negotiators have been attempting to find a compromise.
“The bill needs to say there is no more parole,” Scott said. “The public is tired of an open border. How many terrorists are we okay with? How many human traffickers are we okay with? How many drug addicts are we okay with, or drug sellers, or human traffickers? The answer should be zero.”
Multiple sources familiar with the proposal previously told Fox News Digital that the proposal would tighten the language of the initial credible fear standard for asylum screenings, coupled with a Title 42-style expulsion authority to quickly remove migrants at the border similar to the COVID-19-era authority. Multiple sources said that the use of that authority would be mandated only if there was a 7-day rolling average of above 5,000 encounters a day.
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Daily encounters between 4,000 and 5,000 would allow for discretionary expulsions, and any single day when there were over 8,000 encounters, expulsions would be mandated, even if the 7-day average was lower. Those expulsions would also be exempted from judicial review.
The use of humanitarian parole at the border by the administration would also be restricted, but migrants could still be paroled in if they cite humanitarian reasons. Those restrictions are not expected to include parole programs in which migrants are flown in, such as those for Afghans and Ukrainians, as well as the Cuban Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan (CHNV) parole program — which allows 30,000 migrants to fly in to be paroled each month, as part of the administration’s “expanded lawful pathways.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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