Dems, GOP at standstill on border security deal with several ‘unanswered issues’ remaining

A border deal that was anticipated to be finalized in text this week has hit a roadblock but is still progressing, according to Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. “There’s too many unanswered issues” for officials to sort through still, Lankford, one of the key negotiators, told reporters Monday.  One of those “unanswered issues” lawmakers are stuck on is a key policy issue dividing Republicans and Democrats — parole authority.  Parole authority, an integral border policy that allows illegal migrants to live in the U.S. temporarily and obtain their green cards, was expanded under the Biden administration to permit 30,000 nationals from four nations to fly in and receive parole into the U.S. monthly, forming part of the administration’s strategy to address the continuous crisis at the southern border. KEY LAWMAKERS RETURN TO THE HILL EARLY TO CONTINUE BORDER SECURITY TALKS AS HOUSE REPUBLICANS VISIT BORDER  Lankford, alongside other lead negotiators Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., began negotiations with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other Biden officials a week before the upper chamber was scheduled to go on its holiday recess. Republicans want several measures included in a deal, including more restrictions on parole and reforming how asylum is granted, making the process more stringent for qualifying for asylum. They also want to increase detention beds and the presence of parole agents. DEMOCRAT SENATOR SOUNDS ALARM ON ‘CRISIS’ AT SOUTHERN BORDER, URGES NEGOTIATORS TO STRIKE A DEAL On Wednesday, House Republicans and the Senate Republican Conference will receive a briefing from Lankford on the status of the negotiations. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., on Tuesday said one of his questions is whether there will be “anything in this bill that’s going to deal with the people that are here illegally.” “My understanding is that McConnell doesn’t want to tie having a secure border to Ukraine aid,” Scott said. “So, what are we going to tie to make sure that the Biden administration actually does whatever we pass?” The Senate is also dealing with an upcoming Jan. 19 deadline to pass critical funding for several federal agencies and avert a government shutdown. The second deadline for the remaining agencies is Feb. 2. Sen. Ron Johnson, Wis., told reporters Tuesday “the real conundrum Republicans face is trying to negotiate a deal with this president.” “It’s like negotiating with the arsonist to put out the fire he or she started,” he said. Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., told reporters Monday he doesn’t “think there’s going to be enough for us to get it on the January 19 package, but maybe there will be by February 2, and that makes more sense to me.” SENATE NOT EXPECTED TO RELEASE TEXT ON BORDER PACKAGE THIS WEEK Lawmakers hope to strike a deal that will tie border security measures into the national supplemental funding request that would provide some $60 billion to Ukraine and $14 billion to Israel. But GOP lawmakers have insisted that either the supplemental or government funding have some border security conditions attached to it.  “It should surprise no one that it’s going to take time,” Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor Tuesday. “Of all the difficult issues we face in this room, in this chamber, immigration is near the top.” But the upper chamber could be headed for a showdown in the GOP-controlled House if the border agreement lacks elements of H.R. 2, or the Secure the Border Act.  CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP There were over 302,000 migrant encounters in December, after a fiscal 2023 that saw a record 2.4 million encounters overall. A recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement report said the agency removed 142,580 illegal immigrants in fiscal 2023, up considerably from 72,177 in fiscal 2022 and 59,011 in fiscal 2021, but still down from the highs of 267,258 under the Trump administration in fiscal 2019. Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report. 
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