It's one of the biggest political issues of our time — border security and immigration. However, it's also an issue that's divided members of Congress for years.
Not much has changed from a policy standpoint as of late — but there's a chance something may change in the coming weeks.
In fiscal year 2023, which ended in September, there were 2.48 million migrant encounters by patrol agents at the southern border. That's a new record high. Some individuals are counted more than once because they tried to enter the U.S. more than once.
For the migrants who have not been deported and allowed to stay, it's become a major issue in cities far from the border, like New York City.
Debate in Washington
As for why border security is suddenly being talked about, it's because of a desire by many leaders in Washington to pass aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan in the coming weeks.
Republican leaders have been saying that the only way many of them will agree to more Ukraine aid is if aid to the U.S. border is included as well.
"If we are going to take care of a border in Ukraine we need to take care of America's border as well," House Speaker Mike Johnson recently told reporters.
"This has to be part of it," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said this week at a GOP stakeout.
While no deal has been announced, Scripps News wanted to talk to one of the handful of senators involved in the negotiations to see if a deal is going to happen.
"I think it is going to happen, and that's because we can't fail to fund Ukraine," Sen. Michael Bennet told Scripps News in an interview.
Bennet is one of those lawmakers at the negotiating table right now. He says both sides will need to make some concessions to get this done.
SCRIPPS NEWS DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR JOE ST. GEORGE: Could we see border wall funding?
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET: Well, I think that will be a part of it, that was in the president's proposal so we will see some funding. Republicans are also saying they will need some changes in policy.
It's those policy changes that may be the real sticking point. Republicans have been publicly discussing the need for a higher standard to declare asylum, and limits on presidential powers to allow those from war-torn countries humanitarian parole to come to the U.S.
Those are tough policies to swallow for many Democrats who would like to see immigration changes in any deal. For years, Democrats have been advocating for a pathway to citizenship for migrants who came to the United States illegally as children.
For the moment, that is not expected to be included in any deal.
ST. GEORGE: Is DACA on the table for this?
BENNET: No, for DACA I would desperately want the Dreamers to be part of this.
ST. GEORGE: Is this going to be more border security only?
BENNET: I don't know, you said I wasn't going to negotiate in public and that's right.
ST. GEORGE: I had to try.
BENNET: Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
One thing that seems to be agreed upon by many in Congress is the need to get money to Ukraine soon, which is moving border talks along.
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