Awful Policy and Terrible Politics: 6 Extreme Demands in the Senate Immigration Talks

FROM: Todd Schulte,

TO: Interested Parties

DATE: December 7, 2023

RE: Awful Policy and Terrible Politics: 6 Extreme Demands in the Senate Immigration Talks

As several Senators themselves have recently acknowledged, the current negotiations are a deliberate effort to hold Ukraine funding hostage in exchange for what collectively would be enacting the most restrictive anti-immigrant legislation since the racial quota laws of the 1920s. In no way do these policies resemble any prior “border” or “immigration” bipartisan negotiations, and it is entirely misleading to refer to these as “border security talks.”

These demands are a series of immigration policies so extreme they have never been considered acceptable in any bipartisan negotiations. Together they would eliminate the basic foundations of our immigration system, slash existing legal immigration pathways, expand the use of expedited removal in the interior, eliminate any ability to seek asylum, and more. While there has been reporting largely focused on changes to asylum standards, including the credible fear standard, these other proposals have received less attention. Not only will these policies fail to improve conditions at the border, but some will have the impact of increasing, not decreasing, unauthorized encounters, creating more chaos at the border in 2024.

These 6 policy proposals include:

  1. Unilateral So-called “Safe Third Country” Transit Bans
  2. National Expulsion & Visa Suspension Authority (“Title 42 on Steroids”)
  3. Elimination of Nearly All Immigration Parole Authority
  4. (Near) Mandatory Incarceration of All People/Families Seeking Asylum, Leading to Remain in Mexico
  5. Mass Expansion of Expedited Removal to Everyone into the Interior
  6. Numerical Caps on Asylum & Mandates on Asylum Refusal

Outlined below are proposed changes that, even if only some were enacted, would likely be the most negative immigration legislation in roughly a century. Experts have repeatedly warned policymakers about the potential operational and humanitarian consequences of these policies, and why it would be a grave mistake to assume they would improve conditions at the border. These policies are the very foundational tools that President Trump and his team have explicitly demanded as central to their xenophobic, authoritarian efforts to slash nearly all immigration, resume family separation and attack Dreamers, and arrest and deport millions a year if they reach the White House in 2025.

We hope this information provides helpful context on these particular ideas. If you are working on a related story or require expert analysis or data on immigration policy and its implications, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team at

The 6 Extreme Demands in the Senate Immigration Talks

1. Unilateral So-called “Safe Third Country” Transit Bans

  • Give the President the unilateral ability to disqualify any person who comes through any country (namely Mexico) from ever applying for asylum. It would ban anyone seeking refuge who attempts to come to the U.S. border, thus completely dismantling the post-World War II protection regime that gave displaced people a process to apply for asylum instead of being automatically sent back to countries where they might face violence, persecution, or death.

2. National Expulsion & Visa Suspension Authority (“Title 42 on Steroids”)

  • Allow the President to declare an indefinite emergency for nearly any reason and suspend our immigration system. This could bar all entry of foreign nationals into the United States, trigger mass expulsions, and also stop any/all visa issuance (President Trump tried this and was immediately blocked in days). This would not just impact children or families seeking asylum, it could include all employment, family-based, and other visas.

3. Elimination of Nearly All Immigration Parole Authority

  • Ending the current usage of parole would eliminate safe, orderly pathways and push thousands of people to cross between ports of entry–spurring more chaos. It is a huge trap for Democrats. President Biden’s Parole Pathways are the single most effective tool to reduce pressure on the border. Since the inception of the Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua pathways, unauthorized crossings are down 95% for these countries.

4. (Near) Mandatory Incarceration of All People/Families Seeking Asylum, Leading to Remain in Mexico

  • Restricting ICE’s ability to parole people out of ICE jails will lead to horrible consequences since only a small number of people will be able to pay a cash bond. The administration would either need to construct more jail beds at a scale not seen since World War II era internment, and/or they will immediately resume Remain in Mexico.

5. Mass Expansion of Expedited Removals for Families/people into the Interior

  • President Trump and his advisors have been open about expanding expedited removal as central to their efforts to arrest and deport millions of people without due process.

6. Numerical Caps on Asylum & Mandates on Asylum Refusal

  • Limiting the number of people who can seek asylum would revert the United States to the pre-WWII era, when the executive branch had the authority to limit the number of people deserving of protection, leading to many to return to their deaths. President Biden would be forced pick which vulnerable populations the U.S. would accept and those denied.

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