EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Sound Off On Leaked Border Deal Proposals, Say They Will Absolutely Not Vote For Them

Mike Lee photo by Chip Somodevilla- GETTY- John Hawley photo by Samuel Corum GETTY- Ted Cruz photo by Alex Wong GETTY- Crowd photo by Isaac Guzman GETTY

Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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A number of Senate Republicans are extremely concerned with the ongoing border deal negotiations between the White House and GOP leadership, expressing their frustration with a number of leaked proposals that are being considered and saying they would never vote for the bill, in exclusive conversations with the Daily Caller.

According to sources engaged on the border bailout, the proposals go beyond already reported leaks. The current framework under consideration would drastically change immigration law in the U.S. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz all spoke with the Caller about what they have heard about the ongoing negotiations and reacted to leaked proposals obtained by the Caller.

Here Are Some Leaked Proposals In The Current Framework, According To Sources:  

  • Legally establish 5,000 illegal aliens entering the country per day as the new norm, requiring the crisis hit that number before the president could invoke Title 42-esque authority, effectively forcing Americans to, at minimum, accept 1.8 million illegal aliens a year.
  • Provide amnesty to a “documented Dreamer” class, taking care of 250,000 people whose parents replaced American workers under the deeply flawed H-1B guest worker program.
  • Keep mass parole programs in place — provided illegal immigrants enter through American airports, not at the border.
  • Give quicker work permits to illegal aliens likely committing asylum fraud by ending the 180-day wait period.
  • Expand the already vast network of free benefits like legal services for illegal aliens — adding to the services American taxpayers already fund to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
  • Funnel billions of dollars to the corrupt NGOs that profit off the border crisis by transporting, lodging, and helping illegal aliens enter the country every day.

Lee introduced a resolution Wednesday that would force a public debate amongst Senate Republicans’ “border deal” before it can be voted on, in order for members to truly understand what is in the package. It has picked up the support of at least nine others in the Senate GOP.

“The idea behind it, as the text suggests, we just want to make sure that this thing doesn’t get rushed. These ongoing conversations that have been going on privately for months, once they culminate, the theory is that with something like this, there must be a rush to get it to the floor, and there might be a sort of a wave of unfettered exuberance over the fact that a deal has been reached by those few involved in those discussions, and we just want to make sure that we have a chance to know what’s in it. And there are some provisions in there that we’ve been very concerned about. And so unless this thing is very different than what we imagined, then we’ve got an issue,” Lee said.

The Caller then asked Lee about the leaked proposals listed above, to which he said he has heard of “most of them” and explained many of his concerns.

“So that part about the 5,000 per day, this is one of many things that has me concerned. Now there are 1000 ways this could be written. But what the proponents of the bill, when they share it, say that this is a new title 42-like tool that would allow us to effectively shut down illegal immigration on our southern border anytime daily encounters exceed 5,000 per day. Now, the part about being able to shut down illegal immigration sounds great, of course, but why 5,000 per day, especially when the Border Patrol has told us they can process about 500 per day? So why set the threshold for when this new authority kicks in? Only at 10 times what they can handle per day?” he continued.

“It seems very, very problematic to me. We keep being told ‘Oh, but you haven’t seen the whole thing. So don’t criticize it.’ But, what we’re talking about are the only things that we have heard. The only things that we have heard just give us cause for alarm, like these work permits. If you come in and you apply for asylum, and then you’re released out there right now, they give them work permits,” Lee said. “Now, I don’t think they should be doing that. I think they should shut down the whole asylum process as soon as they’re getting more than they can handle each day because you’re supposed to detain them until their claims are adjudicated.”

“We know that 90 to 99% of them are ultimately not found eligible for asylum. But right now they just release them into the public, buy them a plane ticket. And then after an 180 day wait, they’re given a work permit so they can work over the next decade or so, while they wait for their asylum immigration hearings,” he went on.

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) speaks during Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice in the Hart Senate Office Building on October 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

“This is perhaps my number one concern with this whole thing. I feel that we’re setting this up in such a way that Republicans take the blame for the current border surge and the border crisis. Republicans take the blame for it, and it sends the message incorrectly, that the border surges are happening for want of adequate legislative authority. And that just isn’t the case,” Lee added. “The exact same laws that are on the books today were on the books when Donald Trump brought these border surges down to a minimum.” (RELATED: House Dems Float Trading Border Deal In Exchange For Helping Save Mike Johnson’s Job)

Hawley, who is supporting Lee’s resolution, echoed many of the same concerns and said he does not know how any Republican could vote for some of the proposals in the deal. He also tore into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying McConnell supports the deal. Hawley also said he thinks Senate Leadership will try to push something forward in the next few days on the floor. (RELATED: Biden’s DHS Demands Texas Authorities Stand Down At Southern Border As Legal Battle Intensifies)

“I certainly don’t trust Biden with more money or more authority. I think he’s the source of the problem. I often point out that the law isn’t changed at all between the Trump administration and the Biden administration, and yet we now have record high border crossings. Everybody knows that the only thing that’s changed is the President and his refusal to enforce the law. In fact, it’s worse than that. It’s the red carpet, you know, I mean, come on over to the cartels to all of the huge caravans, so I’m really, really skeptical that giving him more authority or money is going to do anything, number one. Number two, in terms of some of the items that you mentioned, it sounds like you know more about it than I do, which by the way, it’s typical,” Hawley told the Caller.

“I mean, we’ve been told now for literally a month that this is a great deal, and we should all get behind it, but we’re not going to let you see it. And then what does leak out? Things like 50,000 more green cards every year and 5,000 illegal crossings a day before you can close the border. Frankly, that sounds terrible to me. I mean, why would we ever agree to that? I mean, this sounds like a total giveaway. But then as soon as you criticize it, you’re told ‘Oh no, no, just wait for the text. Just wait for the text. At this point my patience has worn thin with this. I think this sounds, from what I know, this sounds like a terrible deal. If the people who say it’s wonderful really believe it is then show us. Show the world, publish the text but quit hiding behind closed doors and saying, ‘Well, wait, wait, wait. You’re gonna love it when you see it.’ I mean, I just I think this is really gotten to the point of absurdity,” he continued.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) questions Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Hawley then said McConnell is in favor of this deal and added that if the proposals the Caller listed out to him are in it, he in no ways will be supporting it. He also said he will not be supporting anything he cannot actually read.

“This is something that’s negotiated between McConnell and Schumer and the White House. McConnell is the biggest cheerleader for this,” Hawley said. “It’s McConnell who said that we had a deal. ‘We have a deal,’ past tense. He said that two weeks ago. He’s the one who keeps telling us every time we get together, Republicans, ‘Oh you know, you need to support this.’ And yet nobody’s seen it. So I really think that this is between the two leaders, Schumer and McConnell, and sure they’ve got people on their teams, but they’re the ones who are who are making the final decisions here. And as I say, from everything I hear, this sounds terrible.”

“McConnell has said that he is for this deal. Now again, he keeps saying it’s a great deal and it’s the best deal we could possibly get. I’m like, ‘Well, if what we’re hearing out there in the press, if that’s the deal, that’s a horrible deal. If it’s better, produce it. Let’s see it. To me it’s very telling that they won’t produce any text over there. We’re just told to take it on its face and love it and line up to support it, but they won’t let us or the public see a word. Again, my patience has worn out with this. I think that that is an absurd way to proceed. I’d say I’m not gonna support it. There’s no way I’m supporting any of the things you just listed. And there’s no way I’m going to pledge that I’m supporting some deal that I haven’t even got to read,” he added.

Cruz, who is also supporting Lee’s resolution, mentioned things got heated during a Tuesday weekly private Senate GOP luncheon after he asked Republican leadership why they were trying to push a bill through that does not have support from a majority of the party.

“This so-called border deal is utterly foolhardy. Republican leadership and in particular, Mitch McConnell, is trying to ram this through. As of today, virtually no Republican Senator has seen the text of the bill. They are keeping it secret, hidden in Chuck Schumer’s basement. But the elements you’ve described are all elements that have been generically mentioned, but nobody’s read even a sentence of statutory text,” Cruz told the Caller.

“Yesterday at lunch, we had a very heated argument about this bill. I asked leadership why they were trying to ram through a bill that would get every Democrat and get the votes of 10 or 12 Republicans — predictably, Republican senators who are not on the ballot this year, who are not running for reelection or who are about to retire — and produce a bill that has a 0.00% chance of passing the House of Representatives. I asked leadership, ‘What in the hell are you accomplishing? Other than giving Chuck Schumer a talking point and enabling House Democrats to attack Republican leadership in the House?’ As I said at lunch, I understand why Schumer would want this bill. This bill could be called the Hakeem Jeffries Speaker Election bill. Because the only purpose I can ascertain is for Senate Republican leadership to use this bill to attack House Republican leadership. The Democrats do not want to secure the border. They have zero interest in securing the border,” he continued.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a press conference on the southern border at the U.S. Capitol on October 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“The border crisis is not because the Democrats are lazy. It’s not because they’re incompetent. It’s not because they’re negligent. This is the outcome Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and Chuck Schumer and the rest of the congressional Democrats want. Joe Biden created this border crisis, and he did so unilaterally. He did so by halting construction on the border wall by reinstating the disastrous policy of catch and release and by pulling out of the incredibly successful remain in Mexico agreement. That is what caused this crisis,” Cruz added.

“Joe Biden could end this crisis tomorrow by reversing those three decisions, by building the wall, ending catch and release and by reinstating remain in Mexico. He does not wish to do so. As we sit here Joe Biden is actively suing the state of Texas, trying to stop the state of Texas from securing the border. And yet Republicans are like Charlie Brown with Lucy and the football where they keep running and falling on their ass. Because Surprise, surprise, Lucy Schumer pulls the ball away.”

The Caller contacted Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford’s office, who was appointed by McConnell to lead the border negotiations. They did not deny that the obtained leaked proposals are being considered and said: “negotiations are still ongoing.”

McConnell’s office directed the Caller to Lankford’s office.