House Republicans on Thursday passed legislation to resume border wall construction and restrict asylum claims, hours before Title 42 expires and hundreds of thousands of migrants in Mexico are expected to enter the country.
In a 219-213 vote, the House passed the Secure the Border Act, which would require migrants seeking asylum to apply outside the United States and fund the hiring of tens of thousands more border agents. Democrats in the Senate are expected to kill the bill.
Thousands of migrants are expected to enter the United States as soon as Title 42 ends Thursday night. Officials warned last week that 700,000 migrants were waiting in Mexico for the lapse of the border policy, which allows border agents to turn migrants away.
Migrants will be processed and released into cities at bus stops, gas stations, and other places across the border.
Rep. Mark Green (R., Tenn.) said he is "holding out hope" Senate Democrats change their minds, as they did when they voted with Republicans to overturn a controversial Washington, D.C., crime bill.
"They changed their minds because people got really loud," Green told the Washington Free Beacon before the House passed the legislation. "Look at what’s happening at the border right now, it's gonna get really loud."
"I would hope that Chuck Schumer does his damn job," Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R., Wis.) said. "That Joe Biden does his damn job."
President Joe Biden has already said he’d veto the bill if it reaches his desk. The White House on Monday issued a statement saying the act "does nothing to address the root causes of migration."
Republican lawmakers told the Free Beacon they're confident the party can pass measures to fight illegal immigration even if Thursday's legislation dies in Congress.
Rep. Harriet Hageman (R., Wyo.) noted that the House has power over the budget and Republicans may use it to leverage immigration reform from Democrats, including by "defunding some of their pet projects."
Green said Republicans should pursue his proposal to incentivize companies to relocate jobs and supply chains from China to Latin America. He said the measure would "create opportunity in Latin America and ... decrease pressure on our southern border."