U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez among sponsors of bipartisan border, aid proposal


U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Wash., is among the co-sponsors of a House bill that, if enacted, calls for the immediate detention and expulsion of illegal immigrants crossing U.S. borders and would also provide $66.32 billion in defense-only funding to the nations of Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan for a one-year period.

The proposal seeks to break congressional stalemates on stemming the tide of “inadmissible aliens” entering the southern U.S. border while also aiding the three ally nations from aggression in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

“Our government has an obligation to maintain secure borders and stand up for our allies facing existential threats to their democracies,” Gluesenkamp Perez said in a news release Friday.

“Instead, we’ve seen months of political grandstanding and shifted goalposts. The American people have had enough, deserve better, and are asking Congress to simply do its job,” said Gluesenkamp Perez, who represents southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

Along with Gluesenkamp Perez, the “Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act” is co-sponsored by fellow House Democrats Ed Case of Hawaii, Jim Costa of California, and James Golden of Maine and Republicans Don Bacon of Nebraska, Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Mike Lawler of New York.

All echoed similar sentiments regarding the measure, which Fitzpatrick introduced Thursday.

“We secure our borders and help Ukraine defend itself against an immoral invasion by Russia in this bipartisan bill,” said Bacon, a retired U.S. Air Force general. “We support Ukrainians who love freedom, Israelis who defend their homeland, and Taiwanese who want freedom. We stand for democratic values.”

The one-year bill is not intended to be “the ultimate fix,” said Chavez-DeRemer. Rather, she said, it is “a much-needed, long-overdue patch that will help secure the border while simultaneously supporting our friends and allies around the world. I’m honored to join this bipartisan group of my colleagues to take the lead on the most important issues facing our country.”

If enacted, the measure would require immigration officers to detain and expel “inadmissible” migrants arriving at U.S. borders – particularly the Mexican border – “without further hearing or review.” There would be exceptions for individuals with disabilities or acute medical conditions.

The bill would implement a “remain in Mexico” policy for one year by requiring that an alien seeking admission, including asylum, and arriving on land from a foreign territory contiguous to the U.S. be returned to that territory pending proceedings regarding the individual’s status. The measure would also prohibit using federal funds to transfer a migrant in government custody from the facility in which they were initially detained to another location unless the purpose was to adjudicate that individual’s immigration status.

Regarding funding for the trio of U.S. allies, the bill calls for a one-year, $66.32 billion allocation to the Department of Defense that includes nearly $47.7 billion for the defense of Ukraine, $10.4 billion for Israel, $4.9 billion to support U.S. and “allied deterrence operations” in the Indo-Pacific region, $2.44 billion to support U.S. Central Command operations related to recent conflicts in the Red Sea region of the Middle East, and $542 million for other “critical, unfunded operations” in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

H.R. 7372 has been referred to the House Appropriations and Budget committees for consideration in “a period … to subsequently be determined” by House Speaker Mike Johnson. It remains to be seen how House and Senate leaders, along with the Biden Administration and perhaps former President Donald Trump, respond to the latest proposal to address controversies regarding immigration control and defense funding for the trio of U.S. allies.