President Biden fought on Friday to save lots of a bipartisan immigration deal from collapse in Congress, vowing to close down the border if the plan grew to become regulation even because the Republican speaker pronounced it dead on arrival within the House.
In a written assertion that got here as Senate negotiators scrambled to finalize a deal that former President Donald J. Trump is pressuring Republicans to oppose, Mr. Biden used his most stringent language but in regards to the border, declaring it “damaged” and in “disaster” and promising to halt migration instantly if Congress sends him the proposal.
“What’s been negotiated would — if handed into regulation — be the hardest and fairest set of reforms to safe the border we’ve ever had in our nation,” he mentioned. “It would give me, as president, a brand new emergency authority to close down the border when it turns into overwhelmed. And if provided that authority, I’d use it the day I signal the invoice into regulation.”
The pending compromise wouldn’t give him a lot alternative. Under the rising deal, the administration could be required to close down the border to migrants making an attempt to enter with out prior authorization if encounters rise above 5,000 on any given day — a threshold that has been surpassed routinely in latest months.
Mr. Biden’s recent efforts to salvage the deal got here hours after Speaker Mike Johnson sought to choke off the final remaining glimmers of hope that it’d survive, repeating that the settlement would nearly definitely be a nonstarter within the Republican-led House.
“If rumors in regards to the contents of the draft proposal are true, it will have been dead on arrival within the House anyway,” Mr. Johnson wrote in a letter to House G.O.P. lawmakers.
It was the most recent grim prediction for the proposed border settlement after the highest Senate Republican conceded this week that Mr. Trump’s opposition had made the plan politically tough for the party to embrace, all however killing its possibilities.
Mr. Biden’s Friday night assertion amounted to a counterpunch in opposition to Mr. Trump’s efforts to torpedo the deal, pitting the present and former commanders in chief in opposition to one another in a high-stakes struggle over what’s shaping as much as be a central problem within the presidential marketing campaign.
As the immigration plan teeters on Capitol Hill, the destiny of further support for Ukraine hangs within the steadiness as properly, with hard-right House Republicans additionally dug in in opposition to it and threatening to depose Mr. Johnson if he seeks to push it by over their objections.
In his letter, Mr. Johnson mentioned the House would transfer forward subsequent week with its drive to question Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland safety secretary, and doubled down on his calls for that Congress embrace both an immigration crackdown invoice the House handed final 12 months or an equally extreme measure.
“Since the day I grew to become speaker, I’ve assured our Senate colleagues the House wouldn’t settle for any counterproposal if it will not truly remedy the issues which were created by this administration’s subversive insurance policies,” he wrote.
Mr. Biden’s phrases had been unlikely to maneuver the rising variety of skeptical Republicans who’ve argued that the president already has the instruments and the manager energy he must dramatically limit migration into the nation — and refuses to make use of them.
“Many of our constituents have requested an essential query: ‘What is the purpose of negotiating new legal guidelines with an administration that won’t implement the legal guidelines already on the books?’” Mr. Johnson wrote in his letter. “If President Biden desires us to imagine he’s critical about defending our nationwide sovereignty, he must reveal his good religion by taking instant actions to safe it.”
The letter mirrored a stance Mr. Johnson and different hard-right Republicans within the House have maintained for months, repeatedly dismissing the border enforcement measures below dialogue within the Senate as inadequate. It got here as Republican proponents of the deal within the Senate toiled to construct wanted G.O.P. assist to push it ahead. That activity has grown far more tough as Mr. Trump has gained floor in his quest for the party’s presidential nomination.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority chief, informed fellow Republicans behind closed doorways this week that Mr. Trump’s hostility to the plan and his rising dominance within the main had put them “in a quandary.”
Mr. McConnell, a chief Republican proponent of sending extra support to Ukraine, has been a vocal supporter of the border deal that members of his party have insisted upon as the value of their backing for continued help for Kyiv.
The bipartisan workforce of senators that has been working for months to strike a compromise to crack down on rampant migration and drug trafficking throughout the southern border with Mexico has come to an settlement in latest days on a set of coverage adjustments. They embody measures to make it harder to safe asylum and enhance detention services.
The deal would additionally enhance the variety of obtainable visas by 50,000, together with many that may be green-card eligible, and set a purpose of deciding asylum instances inside 90 days.
The group has not but agreed on how a lot cash to commit to the hassle.
Many Republicans are upset that the deal doesn’t embody a selected restriction on parole, the administration’s authority to let migrants not in any other case legally approved to enter the nation dwell and work within the United States on a short lived foundation. In his letter on Friday, Mr. Johnson repeated his demand for extra restrictive adjustments, similar to inserting strict limits on parole and reviving the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” coverage that pressured migrants who couldn’t be stored in detention services to attend exterior the United States till their court docket dates.
And some Republican opponents of the border compromise have questioned the knowledge of bothering to think about it within the Senate if their counterparts within the House are decided to dam or kill it.
“If you’re going to take a tricky vote, you need it to truly accomplish one thing,” mentioned Senator J.D. Vance, Republican of Ohio. “If it’s not going to move the House, then it doesn’t make a ton of sense to power a vote in your membership that isn’t going to perform something from a coverage perspective, and it’s going to trigger quite a lot of issues politically.”
There had been political dangers for Mr. Biden and Democrats as properly in embracing powerful border measures which have enraged progressives.
Immigration advocates took Mr. Biden’s assertion as a betrayal from a president who had campaigned on taking a humane strategy to the border. Some warned him in opposition to coming into a race with Republicans over who may outmuscle a border crackdown that the advocates mentioned would result in chaos and struggling.
“What does President Biden need his legacy to be?” mentioned Heidi Altman, director of coverage for the National Immigrant Justice Center. “The president is asking to commerce the lives and rights of individuals in search of security for a failed political technique, and it’s shameful.”
Michael D. Shear, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Hamed Aleaziz contributed reporting.