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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., maneuvers past reporters asking about the Senate border security bill as he arrives at his office in the Capitol, in Washington, Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Immigration Deal Hangs in the Balance Amid U.S. Border Crisis

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RICHMOND, VA – The reaction is mixed on a major effort to combine overhauling the country's immigration system with foreign aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Gaza.

The $118 billion bipartisan agreement from the Senate could run into a wall in the House. House Republicans are not on the same page with their Senate colleagues.  

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) calls the bill a once-in-a-generation opportunity. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) meanwhile, is calling it "dead on arrival" -- disagreeing with some of the top lawmakers in his party.

The border security proposal released Sunday is aimed at bringing order to the chaos at the U.S. southern border. 

It includes $20 billion for immigration enforcement, hiring thousands of officers, and increased screenings for fentanyl and other drugs. The measure also adds $60 billion for Ukraine, $ 14 billion for Israel, and $10 billion in humanitarian aid for people in Gaza, The West Bank, and Ukraine.

The proposed measure comes after months of insistence from House Republicans that any Ukraine aid must be paired with addressing the security problems at the southern border.

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slider img 2President Joe Biden is praising the deal, writing in a statement: "Get it to my desk so I can sign it into law immediately."

Democratic leaders hope for swift compromise.

"We cannot let politics get in the way of passing this legislation," Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said.

Election year politics could bog it all down as the likely Republican presidential nominee, former President Donald Trump, rejected the border bill, calling it "ridiculous" on social media.

Johnson says the bill doesn't go far enough and that the House will instead vote on a stand-alone bill for Israel aid.

Meanwhile, migrants' illegal and dangerous crossings continue on the southern border. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled federal agents could remove razor wire placed by Texas officers along the border. 

A group of GOP governors traveled to the region Sunday as some consider deploying National Guard troops to the border after a record number of attempted crossings.

"For stepping up and standing beside, behind, and with Texas in this effort, we're all fighting for a safer, more secure border and country," Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said.

A key test vote of the immigration bill is expected in the Senate on Wednesday.

Christian humanitarian organization World Relief called the bill a "good-faith" effort. Matt Soerens, vice president of the organization, told CBN News immigration is an issue with many factors at play.

"This isn't a simple issue," he said. "There are complicated dynamics here. We want to affirm the dignity of every person made in the image of God. Protect human life, especially those fleeing from persecution. And, we also want secure borders, and we want our government to have an orderly process to be able to distinguish between those seeking to do harm and those seeking to actually escape from persecution." 

World Relief said some of the people approaching the border are Christians legally seeking asylum from religious persecution. They say the bill would allow lawyers to process asylum requests faster.

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