Dec 14, 2023

The GOP Puts the Border Over Ukraine

Ukraine’s need for aid runs up against America’s need for immigration reform.
The GOP Puts the Border Over Ukraine

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Written by Anthony Constantini

What’s happening: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently spoke to Congress in an attempt to convince reluctant representatives to pass President Joe Biden’s $60 billion Ukraine funding bill. But he left empty-handed, as Republicans are refusing to pass any further Ukraine aid unless it is tied to serious immigration reforms.

Why it matters: Supporters of intervention and aid abroad have long made the argument America “can do both”: support ourselves and our allies. Now, a coalition of MAGA and moderate Republicans is holding them to it.

Why Zelenskyy is so desperate: The Russo-Ukrainian War has increasingly looked like a stalemate, something confirmed by Ukraine’s top general last month. The past few weeks have seen both Russia and Ukraine make small gains.

  • Without America: Ukrainians fear Russia, with its significant manpower advantage, could make substantial gains and threaten key cities like Bakhmut and Avdiivka.

Why Congress isn’t budging: At least 10 million people have tried to enter the U.S. under Biden’s watch. The border is wide open, and senators across the conservative spectrum are demanding Democrats link immigration reform to any Ukraine aid bill.

  • Specifics: Reforms include weakening the president’s ability to release some asylum seekers and limiting who can seek asylum in the U.S.
  • Keep in mind: Whatever the Senate comes up with will need to pass the House of Representatives, and Speaker Mike Johnson is demanding that any reform package include H.R. 2, a hardline Republican immigration bill that would, among other things, restart southern border wall construction.
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