Republicans Add Immigration Conditions to Ukraine Aid, Jeopardizing Biden’s Assistance Plans


Republicans are doubling down on demands for border security as they pair it with the funding for Ukraine, potentially jeopardizing President Biden’s plan to assist the country in countering Russia’s influence.

Ukraine Aid in Jeopardy

The prospects for further U.S. assistance to Ukraine appear grim as Republicans couple the funding with changes to immigration and border policies, deepening the impasse in Congress despite warnings from the White House about the dire consequences of inaction.

GOP’s Demands

After President Biden expressed willingness to make significant compromises on border security, Republicans revived their demands, aiming to shift negotiations to the right. Lead GOP negotiator Sen. James Lankford’s latest proposal could force the White House to consider measures that many Democrats will oppose, creating new obstacles in the negotiation.

Biden’s Foreign Policy at Stake

President Biden faces the possibility of his foreign policy cornerstone crumbling as Republicans insist on linking the Ukraine aid with immigration conditions, potentially leading to catastrophic consequences for Ukraine’s ability to combat Russia’s influence.

Diplomatic Maneuvers

To maintain U.S. support for Ukraine, the Biden administration has engaged in secretive Senate talks on border policy, attempting to assist a small group of senators in reaching a deal and conveying acceptable policy changes. However, the president is treading carefully to address GOP demands while ensuring that legal immigration is not excessively restricted.

Stalled Negotiations

As talks hit a roadblock this week, Democrats warned that time for a deal was running short, with a holiday break fast approaching in mid-December. The new Republican proposal doubles down on policy changes that Democrats had previously opposed, including ending humanitarian parole programs for migrants and setting new metrics for border shutdowns based on illegal crossings.

Challenges and Concerns

The Democratic negotiator, Sen. Chris Murphy, did not immediately respond to the GOP proposal. While some progress had been made in the talks, immigration advocates and progressives expressed concerns about the negotiations, particularly the lack of reforms to expand legal immigration. Senate Republicans aim to draw President Biden into negotiations, sensing his desire to address the surging migrant numbers before his potential reelection campaign.

Uncertain Legislative Path

The passage of a deal in the Senate poses significant challenges, and even if achieved, obstacles in the House are considerable. Speaker Mike Johnson emphasized the need for sweeping changes to immigration policy, and broad support from House Democrats is not assured, with some raising objections to curtailing access to asylum.