Oklahoma GOP Censures Sen. Lankford Over Border Deal With Democrats

2024-01-29 08:00:17

The Oklahoma Republican Party censured Sen. James Lankford over his border deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Whereas, Senator Lankford playing fast and loose with Democrats on our border policy not only disenfranchises legal immigrants seeking citizenship but it also puts the safety and security of Americans in great danger,” wrote the Oklahoma GOP Party.

The Oklahoma GOP won’t support Lankford until he “ceases from these actions.”

Melody Huckaby Rowlett, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma (or, as I call it…that school in Norman), told KOCO the resolution didn’t have support from everyone in the party.

“It may have been a faction of the Republican Party in the state of Oklahoma,” Rowlett explained.

Oklahoma Young Republicans Chairwoman Taylor Broyles said no one notified the committee of the meeting to censure Lankford:

“When you all found out about it is the same time when I found out about it. It’s something that caught us as an organization off guard,” Broyles said.

Broyles’ organization has a voting seat on the State Committee.

“To me, it’s disappointing we are attacking someone like that. He has done so much for Oklahoma in general,” Broyles said. “We have to work bipartisan deals. That’s just part of it.”

OKGOP Vice Chairman Wayne Hill claimed everyone on the State Committee attended the meeting: “Today’s meeting was attended by 172 active Republicans from all across Oklahoma. The 124 voting members of the State Committee resoundingly approved this resolution and others as their first official act of the 2024 election year.”

The details of the bill have outraged conservatives because it would allow 35,000 illegal immigrants into the country every week.

The Title 42 authority in the bill would only happen at the southern border if agents encountered over 5,000 migrants a day:

Daily encounters between 4,000 and 5,000 would allow for discretionary expulsions, and any single day where there were over 8,000 encounters, expulsions would be mandated even if the 7-day average was lower. Those expulsions would also be exempted from judicial review.

The use of humanitarian parole at the border by the administration would also be restricted, but migrants could still be paroled in if they cite humanitarian reasons. Those restrictions are not expected to include parole programs in which migrants are flown in, such as those for Afghans and Ukrainians, as well as the Cuban Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan (CHNV) parole program — which allows 30,000 migrants to fly in to be paroled each month, as part of the administration’s “expanded lawful pathways.”

One source familiar with the proposal said that the time asylum seekers would need to wait for a work permit would be cut from 180 days to 90 in some cases. Also expected to be in the bill is a proposal to grant work permits to children of legal temporary visa holders, including H-1B workers, who turn 21 while in the country. Those foreign nationals have been dubbed “Documented Dreamers” by activists, and it could affect up to a quarter of a million people.

Other additions include an increase in ICE detention beds to 55,000, as well as funding for facilities and additional border officers — something the Biden administration has requested — as well as legal assistance to unaccompanied children in the country.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the bill. A handful of Republican senators said they won’t support the bill.

Sen. Ted Cruz described it as “a kamikaze plane in a box canyon with no exits headed for a train wreck” and a “stinking pile of bull crap.”

“This bill is not designed to fix the problem. This bill normalizes 5,000 people a day coming in,” stated Cruz. “5,000 people a day is over 1.8 million a year. That’s called an invasion by the way. Under Joe Biden we’ve had 9.6 million. So the great Republican compromise is we’re for two thirds of Joe Biden’s open borders. We’ll let in 6 million instead of 9 million.”

Lankford told Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday that the bill does not allow 5,000 people in every day:

“The challenge that Sen. Cruz has and a bunch of other folks is they’re still waiting to be able to read the bill on this. And this has been our great challenge of being able to fight through the final words, to be able to get the bill text out so people can hear it. Right now there’s internet rumors is all that people are running on. It would be absolutely absurd for me to agree to 5,000 people a day,” Lankford told “Fox News Sunday” host Shannon Bream. “This bill focuses on getting us to zero illegal crossings a day. There’s no amnesty.”

Lankford argued the bill increases the number of Border Patrol agents, increases asylum officers, and increases detention beds “so we can quickly detain and then deport individuals.”

“It ends catch and release. It focuses on additional deportation flights out. It changes our asylum process so that people get a fast asylum screening at a higher standard and then get returned back to their home country. This is not about letting 5,000 people in a day,” he said. “This is the most misunderstood section of this proposal.”

House Republicans already said the bill is dead on arrival:

[House Majority Leader Steve] Scalise’s chief of staff, Brett Horton, emphasized that if the Senate bill includes some of the details that have leaked to the public, such as expedited work permits or enhanced expulsion authority that would only kick in after migrant border crossings exceed 5,000 people a day, it won’t have any chance of passing the House.

A person familiar with his comments noted that Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Scalise have said publicly in recent days that if some of the proposals being publicly reported end up in the final Senate bill, then it’s dead on arrival.


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