WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Friday delivered the following remarks following the release of the national security supplemental bill:

“First of all, let me say how grateful I am to the work that Senator Schumer and Senator Murray have put into this breakthrough package. Senator Schumer is right. There was not a day that went by without him being deeply connected to the talks that we had between myself, Senator Lankford, and Senator Sinema. Senator Murray had such important work to do to make sure that the funding package honored our agreement with respect to policy changes at the border.

“I also want to thank Senator Sinema and Senator Lankford. It's no secret that these negotiations were long, and at times torturous, but we produced something important – a bipartisan agreement to help fix our broken asylum system and better manage our border.

“Americans know that our immigration system is broken. They see how our current laws leave the border in often chaotic conditions, and Americans have been begging Republicans and Democrats to stop just using the border as a political weapon and get something done. And that's what we did. We decided that instead of complaining about the state of the border or immigration policy, instead of just seeing this issue as unsolvable, or simple election ad fodder, we would come together and try to fix this problem.

“So our bill is aggressive. We're creating bold new tools to get control of the border for the first time in a long time. But our bill does not deviate from our nation's core values. We are a nation that rescues people from terror and violence. We are a nation that is stronger because of our tradition of immigration. Our bill fixes the crisis at the border. But our bill also upholds our values as a nation of immigrants.

“So here's what our bill does in a snapshot. It gives the president the ability to temporarily stop processing asylum claims but only in between the ports of entry during periods of abnormally high crosses. Importantly, even during these emergency times, the border never fully closes. The President is just better able to manage the border by moving asylum claim processing to the land ports.

“The bill reforms the asylum approval process and system so that claims are heard in six months, not 10 years, as is often the case today. That's better for immigrants, but it also reduces an incentive for people with invalid claims to come to the United States knowing now that they won't have ten years inside the country before their claim is rejected.

“It raises the screening standard for asylum claims to make sure that people who apply for asylum are the ones that are likely to get it. It gives near immediate work permits to asylum seekers so that we won't have migrants who can't work sleeping on the streets or crowding homeless shelters.

“It expands legal pathways to come to the United States. You cannot fix the issue at the border without creating more legal pathways for people to come to United States. This bill includes 250,000 new family and employment visas over the next five years.

“The bill includes the Afghan Adjustment Act, so that our brave Afghan partners can finally become citizens.

“This bill fixes the problem of so called ‘Documented Dreamers.’ It provides a pathway for citizenship for the kids of H1B holders who under current law can be deported when they turn 21.

“This bill includes the first ever right to legal representation for asylum seekers, and even more importantly, for the first time, requires the government to appoint and pay for every unaccompanied minor under the age of 14 to have an attorney help them during their asylum claim.

“The bill clarifies that humanitarian parole at the land ports should be used for humanitarian purposes, but it specifically protects the program that President Biden has created to bring in vetted, sponsored immigrants from countries like Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, Cuba, Ukraine.

“Now, I'm not going to claim that this bill is comprehensive immigration reform. This bill is a compromise. It does not include things that Democrats still believe are moral imperatives, like providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented Americans. but it also does not include many Republican priorities. There is no expansion of expedited removal in this bill. There is no increased detention authority. There's no transit ban. There’s no return of Title 42.

“This bill is a compromise. But it is a breakthrough. A breakthrough many political opponents didn't think could happen. And so I just think this is a moment for us to step back and look at what we are announcing tonight – a bipartisan bill to fund Ukraine, to fund Israel, to spend billions on humanitarian relief, and pass landmark immigration and border reform.

“We should not let Donald Trump or any other bad faith actor stand in the way of getting this done. We shouldn't waste this opportunity to do something good for the country.

“So again, I want to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Murray for having the faith and the patience in the process that has bound Senator Lankford, Senator Sinema, and I together over the last four months. I want to thank them specifically for all the work that went into this piece of the emergency supplemental bill, and I look forward to bringing this bipartisan breakthrough products to the floor of the Senate this week.”

A one pager of the national security supplemental is available here.  

A section-by-section is available here.

Full text of the national supplemental is available here.