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Feb 5, 2024, 2:41pm EST
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Semafor Signals

A bipartisan US border bill with aid to Ukraine, Israel faces fierce pushback

Insights from Kyiv Post, Semafor, and Cris Ramón

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REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
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The News

Former U.S. President Donald Trump called for Republicans to block a newly proposed bipartisan border bill, hours after senators unveiled the $118 billion package that would drastically tighten rules for entry across the U.S.’ southern border and provide billions in military assistance to Ukraine and Israel.

Republicans have demanded Democrats agree to tougher border-control measures in order to unlock military support for Ukraine. But efforts to pass bipartisan legislation have consistently faced pushback from the GOP. Even before an expected Senate vote on the bill on Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, said that the legislation was “dead on arrival.”

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

House Republicans’ ‘America First’ attitude may put US soldiers at risk

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Source:  
Kyiv Post

Blocking U.S. military aid to Ukraine would result in Kyiv exhausting its battlefield resources and “force a spoof peace settlement with Russia,” David Root, a Washington-based pro-Ukraine advocate, wrote for the Kyiv Post. Root argued that extremist Republicans — those he called “‘America First’ isolationists” — were falling into a trap laid by Russian President Vladimir Putin to “rebuild his Soviet/Russia” empire. Ultimately, Republicans’ stance would, Root argued, endanger U.S. soldiers, because Ukraine’s defeat would only spur more conflict between the Kremlin and NATO countries, which would inevitably result in U.S. involvement.

Mexico holds de facto veto power over tough US border measures

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Sources:  
Semafor, Washington Post, Cris Ramón

Among the proposed policy measures attracting the most attention in the bill is a new emergency power that would authorize U.S. President Joe Biden to shut down the border with Mexico when migrant crossings are high — a move that some experts say marks a return to hardline policies favored by former U.S. president Donald Trump, but that several Republicans argue is not tough enough. House Speaker Mike Johnson is also eager to resurrect a Trump-era policy informally called “Remain in Mexico,” which activists say exposes migrants to “rape, kidnapping, torture, and other dangers” instead of stopping illegal border crossings. But the Mexican government has already refused to collaborate with the U.S. government on the policy. Republicans’ “failure to fully understand that immigration has emerged as a full-fledged area of foreign policy has produced blunders like proposing resurrecting [the Trump-era policy] without realizing Mexico has effective veto power,” an immigration policy adviser for a major Latino rights group wrote on X.

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