Immigration & Border Security - Meet the Freshmen

Immigration & Border Security

In its first year alone, the Biden administration issued 296 executive orders addressing immigration, over 30% of which were aimed at undoing or disentangling those of the previous administration.[1] The Biden White House has also increased its projected refugee admissions for FY2023 to 125,000 – five times the number of refugees admitted in FY2022.[2] In particular, Democrats have been eager to ease the humanitarian crisis that erupted as a result of two Trump-era policies: “Zero Tolerance” (also known as “Family Separation”) and “Remain in Mexico.”

Coming into the 118th Congress, Republicans are keen on rolling back these steps, with a focus on migrants at the southern border, restricting sanctuary cities, and limiting DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

During the last Congress, Sens. John Kennedy (R-LA), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06) all introduced bills to overrule and end “sanctuary” policies in states and municipalities.[3] [4] [5] The Republican-controlled House could move quickly and aggressively on the issue. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) has stated that the first bill out of the new Congress “should be the border security package,” while Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-04) was willing to be more specific, stating, “We need legislation to put back in place Remain in Mexico. We need legislation to actually build the wall, finish the wall.”[6]

Notably, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA-03), who could become chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, cosponsored 13 bills in the 117th Congress aimed at limiting immigration and resettling migrants.[7]

While divided government may make passage of these reforms difficult, Republicans do have levers to pull when it comes to government funding. Rep. Roy said, “Republicans should not fund a government that refuses to carry out its constitutional duty and its legal duty to secure the border and enforce the law.”[8]

[1] Muzaffar Chishti & Jessica Bolter, “Biden at the One-Year Mark: A Greater Change in Direction on Immigration Than Is Recognized,” Migration Policy Institute, January 19, 2022, available at

[2] “Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2023,” US Department of State, September 8, 2022, available at

[3] S 876 – Ending Sanctuary Cities Act of 2021, March 18, 2021, available at

[4] S 3452 – Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, January 18, 2022, available at

[5] HR 319 – Ending Sanctuary Cities Act of 2021, November 9, 2021, available at

[6] Caroline Coudriet, “Republicans plot immigration moves if they control House,” Roll Call, July 21, 2022, available at

[7] “Representative Clay Higgins,”, accessed on November 7, 2022, available at

[8] Caroline Coudriet, “Republicans plot immigration moves if they control House,” Roll Call, July 21, 2022, available at

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