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Comprehensive Senate proposal aims to end “catch, release”

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Senator Kyrsten Sinema declared on Sunday that the forthcoming Senate immigration proposal, a product of months of negotiations, seeks to terminate the controversial practice of “catch and release.” The comprehensive deal, set to be unveiled later today, encompasses key provisions aimed at dissuading individuals from unauthorized entry into the country.

Speaking on “Face the Nation,” Senator Sinema emphasized the significance of the proposed changes, stating, “We’ll no longer have people just entering the country and maybe going to court in the next seven or 10 years.” Instead, she outlined a vision for expedited justice, with those qualifying for asylum on a rapid path of six months or less to start anew in America, while those who do not qualify will promptly be returned to their home countries.

The Arizona independent legislator elucidated how the agreement addresses the catch and release policy, replacing it with a system involving short-term detention and comprehensive interviews to assess asylum eligibility. For families, a supervised three-month period will be instituted, requiring early proof of asylum qualification.

Key to the proposal is the provision empowering the executive branch to “shut down the border” in the event of a substantial influx, specifically, 5,000 people seeking asylum on a single day, with the president authorized to take action if that number reaches 4,000 a day. Senator Sinema justified this measure, asserting that it aims to prevent system overload, differentiating it from existing immigration law.

While the Senate is in the “final stages” of assembling the bill, obstacles loom, notably Republican opposition in the House. The threat of derailment surfaced this week, with former President Donald Trump’s pushback causing tension. However, Speaker Mike Johnson’s announcement of a standalone House vote on aid to Israel sets the stage for a showdown between the chambers.

Despite the challenges, Senator Sinema expressed confidence in the Senate bill’s passage, anticipating House Republicans will have an opportunity to review the policy. She posed a pivotal question to her colleagues, “Do you want to secure the border?” Underscoring the urgency of addressing the border crisis, she emphasized the Senate’s forthcoming action on a national security package, which includes what she views as a pragmatic and robust solution to the border crisis, asserting it to be the strongest in her lifetime.

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