BORDER SECURITY TOPS HOUSE’S POST-RECESS AGENDA — House Republicans will leave town today riding high on debt limit passage but already have their eyes on a legislative target for after the recess: their double barrel border security package.

After some back-and-forth behind the scenes with a group of Hispanic Republican lawmakers who were previously against the legislation, there now appears to be some consensus in the conference. Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) told reporters Thursday that House Republicans will tackle border security with a bill in May, the same week that Title 42 — which allowed the government to turn away asylum seekers on public health grounds — is set to expire.

They’re aiming for a May 11 vote on the package, made up of two bills, one each from the Homeland Security and Judiciary Committee. Homeland Security Chair Mark Green of Tennessee said that the separate border security proposals “must move together.” Scalise, for his part, called it the “strongest border security package that Congress has ever taken up.”

Background: The Congressional Hispanic Conference, a group of Latino GOP lawmakers led by Reps. Mario Díaz-Balart (Fla.) and Tony Gonzales (Texas), had opposed the measures, arguing they needed provisions to help legal migrants in the United States.

But it appears that just in the last day, Gonzales has signaled he would be supportive of the package — absent 11th hour changes that rewrote the legislation. Some changes made in a hours-long Judiciary markup paved the way.

As of right now, the GOP border bills would increase penalties for individuals who overstay their visas, overhaul the asylum system and restart previously planned border wall construction. A section from Foreign Affairs Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) would, among other provisions, reinstate a Trump-era policy that required many asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings before U.S. immigration judges.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) called the Judiciary bill “the engine to actually get the border security,” but said he’s open to a merger with the Homeland bill.

“The framework that I talked to Mark Green about, I was generally in favor, but only if married to the Judiciary bill. We cannot pass Homeland by itself,” Roy said.

He’s been in conversation with Green about his red lines on changes to the Judiciary bill that would result in a border security package being “dead on arrival” in his eyes.

“The Judiciary bill ain’t changing,” Roy said. But he also acknowledged that “there are some debates about how E-Verify will play out.”

The E-Verify program requires businesses to check the citizenship status of their employees. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) voted against the Judiciary Committee bill because of the provision and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) could also have changes to propose.

Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Thursday that “Nothing has changed since we passed it a week ago” and that he met with Republican Study Committee members earlier this week.

“Some of the folks who were raising concerns about E-Verify were, I felt, supportive,” Jordan said of that meeting.

Read the full article at POLITICO

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