WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans plan to take their opposition to President Joe Biden’s border policies to the U.S. Senate floor on Wednesday, attempting to move legislation that promises to tie up the chamber for hours, a source familiar with the matter said.
At least five Senate Republicans are expected to seek unanimous consent for a series of measures targeting Biden’s decision to reverse the border policies of former President Donald Trump, including a resolution labeling the current border situation a “crisis.”
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the actions could lead to some rhetorical “fireworks” on the Senate floor if Democrats block the measures, as expected. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office was not immediately available to comment on Democratic plans.
The anticipated actions are part of a mounting effort by Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives to pressure Biden and his fellow Democrats over a new flood of migrants, including unaccompanied children, to the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans see an opportunity to retaliate against Democrats, who sharply criticized Trump’s border policies, ahead of the 2022 congressional elections.
A sharp rise in the number of migrants fleeing violence, natural disasters and economic hardship in Central America is testing Biden’s commitment to a more humane immigration policy than his predecessor’s.
Republicans say Biden’s decision to reverse Trump’s policies has given migrants an incentive to take the journey north and contend it poses health and security risks for American citizens.
Republicans are moving to capitalize on what Reuters/Ipsos polling shows to be an increasingly hostile attitude toward illegal immigrants among party voters. A Morning Consult poll released on Wednesday also showed that 48% of Democrats believe the United States is facing a “problem” with illegal immigration.
Details about the Republican measures to be offered on Wednesday were not immediately available. But the source said the effort could consume the Senate floor for up to three hours.
Biden was due to meet with immigration advisers and top Cabinet officials on Wednesday, while dispatching White House officials to a Texas resettlement facility as pressure mounts over a recent jump in migrant arrivals at the U.S. border.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)