By Tim Darnell
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp signed a letter on Monday with 25 other Republican governors requesting a meeting with President Joe Biden in the next 15 days to discuss the southern border crisis.
On Sunday, the U.S. Senate’s parliamentarian ruled Democrats cannot use their proposed, $3.5 trillion social and climate program to advance any of the party’s immigration goals.
The ruling by Elizabeth MacDonough blocks Democrats’ plans to issue 8 million green cards that were designed to provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
“The policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it, and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation,” MacDonough wrote in her ruling, referring to the budget process Democrats are using to avoid a Senate filibuster.
The GOP letter to Biden was spearheaded by Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Greg Abbott of Texas.
“As chief executives of our states, we request a meeting with you at The White House to bring an end to the national security crisis created by eight months of unenforced borders,” it said.
“The negative impacts of an unenforced border policy on the American people can no longer be ignored. Border apprehensions are up almost 500% compared to last year, totaling more than 1.3 million—more people than the populations of nine U.S. states,” they wrote.
Other GOP governors signing the letter were Kay Ivey of Alabama; Mike Dunleavy of Alaska; Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas; Ron DeSantis of Florida; Brad Little of Idaho; Eric Holcomb of Indiana; Kim Reynolds of Iowa; Larry Hogan of Maryland; Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; Tate Reeves of Mississippi; Mike Parson of Missouri; Greg Gianforte of Montana; Pete Ricketts of Nebraska; Chris Sununu of New Hampshire; Doug Burgum of North Dakota; Mike DeWine of Ohio; Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma; Henry McMaster of South Carolina; Kristi Noem of South Dakota; Bill Lee of Tennessee; Spencer Cox of Utah; Jim Justice of West Virginia; and Mark Gordon of Wyoming.
“Despite the lack of federal action to reverse the crisis, many states have stepped up and committed unprecedented resources to support the security of our national border,” the governors wrote. “We have heard directly from our constituents about the damage this crisis has caused in our states, and it is our duty as elected officials to act swiftly to protect our communities, as it is yours.
“We must end the current crisis and return to border operations that respect the laws of our land and the lives of all people, including those in our states looking to the federal government to enforce and protect our nation’s borders,” it said, concluding “due to the emergent crisis, we respectfully request a meeting as soon as your schedule allows within 15 days.”
Democrats are promising other alternatives that would open a doorway to permanent status.
“We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said in a written statement. “Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days.”
Another development that has added a sense of urgency to the immigration crisis is the fact that, according to the Associated Press, the U.S. has begun flying Haitians who have been camped at a Texas border town back to the homeland. The U.S. is also blocking other migrants from Mexico in an effort that could become a large-scale expulsion of migrants and refugees from the southern border.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.