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Baldwin Backs New Legislation to Respond to Immediate Needs at Southern Border

New proposal provides immediate assistance to border officials and authorities to help secure the border & efficiently process asylum seekers; provides support to communities that receive migrants

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined her colleagues in backing the Border Management, Security, and Assistance Act of 2023 to respond to the immediate needs on our southern border. The Senators’ proposal provides immediate assistance to help secure the border and efficiently process asylum seekers. The bill also provides critical support to the communities across America that receive asylum seekers.

“We have to secure our border, stop illicit drugs like fentanyl from coming into our country, and have an orderly process to offer migrants in danger safe harbor. We need to stop the political posturing and take action. This legislation helps deliver solutions, putting forward resources to bring order to the border by investing in additional law enforcement, boosting screening personnel capacity, and supporting the communities impacted,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am proud to support this legislation to take on this challenge we face at the border and am committed to working to fix our broken immigration system”

The Border Management, Security, and Assistance Act of 2023 includes the following key elements:

Strengthens Border Security: This legislation would provide funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to increase capacity, personnel, and technology to strengthen security at the southern border.  It would provide new resources for innovative technology and smarter capabilities that improve situational awareness between ports of entry, and significant investments to increase staff and improve technologies at ports of entry, including tools to prevent drug trafficking and other criminal activity. It would create a Transportation Coordinator to facilitate coordination between the federal government, and state and local governments.

Consequences for Unlawful Entry: This legislation would provide resources to deter unlawful migration by enforcing consequences for unauthorized border crossings.  The legislation would ensure efficient processing and swift removal of people whose applications are denied and are otherwise prohibited from remaining in the country, including by adding resources for immigration officers and judges to quickly screen and deny ineligible cases.  It would also enhance penalties for human smuggling, drug trafficking, and illegal surveillance of border security personnel, and add resources for U.S. attorneys for increased law enforcement activities related to southwest border enforcement.

Supports Frontline Personnel: This bill would provide additional support to frontline officials through hiring additional CBP officers, processing coordinators, and contracting staff to enable law enforcement personnel to carry out critical law enforcement duties.  In recognition that our frontline personnel are critical to the nation’s security, the bill also provides critical funding to support employee retention, recruitment, and wellness efforts. 

Enhances Lawful Processes: This proposal would build upon the initial success of the Biden Administration’s Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela Parole program, which reduced apprehensions of nationals from those four countries by 97 percent, by providing resources for infrastructure to process migrants and asylum seekers in Latin America, and streamlining connections to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for groups experiencing persecution in the region.  It would also increase resources for U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) to help the agency to ensure efficient processing of asylum claims and applications for employment authorization.  Finally, it would improve the employment authorization process for individuals who comply with legal requirements.

Supports American Communities: This proposal would provide local communities and nongovernmental organizations that are receiving asylum seekers—both at the border and in the interior of the United States—with the resources that they need and ensure that federal agencies are coordinating with such communities and organizations.

The legislation is led by U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and also cosponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Angus King (I-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

Full text of the legislation is available here.