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U.S. lawmakers return to negotiations for a border-military aid deal

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have resumed talks about a potential deal that would tie military aid funding to an overhaul on border policy.

Discussions for a deal that would have green-lit more military aid for Ukraine in exchange for big overhauls to border policy happened late last year — but fell apart in December. 

On the table back then were things like the Republican-led House Bill 2 — which called for the resumption of border wall construction and an outright ban on asylum seekers who passed through another country en route to the United States.

Now, as CBS  reports, the Biden administration is again considering whether to make GOP-requested changes to immigration in order to push military aid forward — those could include overhauls to asylum interviews for migrants and the ability to turn away asylum seekers when border officers are overwhelmed.

But  a major sticking point is still humanitarian parole, according to CBS. The decades-old executive branch authority has allowed Biden and many other administrations to create programs that allow immigrants to come to the U.S. on a temporary, emergency basis.

A federal judge is currently weighing in on the future of one such program that allows some Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Cubans to come to the U.S. with a sponsor.

Seeking asylum is at the border is a right under US and international law. Those who do so often go through what’s called a credible fear interview with asylum officers who work with Citizenship and Immigration Services. That interview determines whether they can remain in the U.S. to pursue asylum. 

One of the changes lawmakers are discussing now would make it harder for migrants to prove they need protection by changing the requirements of those credible fear interviews.

In a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin at the end of the end of last year, the asylum officers union said that change would defeat the purpose of the work. And it wouldn't help curb the number of people migrating.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.