The Senate Republican’s chief negotiator of the open borders deal appears to be feeling the heat.
In an email sent Sunday night to outside groups and obtained by Breitbart News, Sen. James Lankford’s (R-OK) staff pleads for air cover in support of the Senate border bill.
“[I]f you and/or your group agrees that this policy could help at the border today and give the next Administration helpful tools to use, please feel free to share a statement of support with our team that we can amplify,” reads the Sunday night email to recipients.
In spinning the bill as a “national security supplemental,” Lankford’s team accurately says the bill’s border provisions “would be the most significant and impactful changes to border security policy in the past 30 years.”
Yet the bill has received astonishing blowback from other Republicans believing those impacts are hugely detrimental to efforts to secure the border.
Among the provisions that Lankford’s staff touts is “a new emergency authority that shuts down the border and deports everyone crossing the border if the number of illegal crossings does not fall. This new authority will make sure illegal crossings dramatically and quickly decrease.”
The bill’s text confirms that the new emergency authority would not be triggered until an astonishing 8,500 migrants cross the border in a single day or an average of 5,000 people cross in seven days — a trigger even higher than previously feared by border security advocates.
Lankford had previously assured Americans that their bill would not permit 5,000 migrants or more per day, attributing those claims as “internet rumors” and “absolutely absurd.”
He took to X Sunday night in an attempt to stop the bleeding, calling the emergency authority “the most misunderstood or maybe just misrepresented parts [sic] of the bill.”
The Border Emergency Authority has been the most misunderstood or maybe just misrepresented parts of the bill. Some people have said it would mean 5,000 people a day are coming into the country every day. That is absurd and untrue.— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) February 5, 2024
“The emergency authority is not designed to let 5,000 people in, it is designed to close the border and turn 5,000 people around.” He continued, “The Border Emergency Authority only lasts 3 yrs to force this Admin to shut down the border & to give time for the next POTUS to hire more agents & more officers. After three years, the emergency authority expires because we should have regained full control of our border by then.”
In the email to outside groups, Lankford’s staff frames the deal as giving “the next Administration helpful tools to use,” a transparent attempt to assuage supporters of Donald Trump, the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
But Trump had come out firmly against pursuing the deal, weakening Lankford’s attempted justification.
Last week, Trump’s top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner argued that existing laws give the executive branch the power to enforce the border, saying the Biden administration possesses the tools necessary. “We have a lot of rules on the books that if you enforce them, you can get back down to where we had it — that’s a 90 percent decrease just through that,” Kushner said.
The staff email also invited recipients to RSVP to an “invitation only” webinar with Lankford on Monday morning at 9:00 am EST “to walk through details of the text” of the bill.
Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.