Kiggans Joins New Bipartisan Effort to Secure America’s Borders and Support Our Allies

Washington, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) announced she has cosponsored H.R. 7372, the Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act. This bipartisan legislation provides the necessary authorities to secure the U.S. southern border as well as critical, defense-only funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The border security authorities and defense funding would be in effect for one year following enactment of the bill.

“We are living in a dangerous world, from the threats at our own borders to those in the South China Sea, Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, and Hamas’ renewed reign of terror in the Middle East,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “We need to display our strength on the world stage. Our friends should trust us, and our enemies should fear us. It’s not enough to simply acknowledge these threats…we have to take immediate action to deter them alongside our allies.” 

“That’s why I am proud to be a cosponsor of the Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act,” continued Congresswoman Kiggans. “This bill is critical to the safety of our great nation and the security of our allies and the world. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation so that we can secure our borders and help our allies maintain stability across the globe.”

BACKGROUND

The Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act was originally introduced by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Jared Golden (ME-02), Don Bacon (NE-02), Ed Case (HI-01), Mike Lawler (NY-17), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05), and Jim Costa (CA-21). 

Border security provisions in the legislation include:

  • Suspending entry of inadmissible aliens to achieve operational control over U.S. borders;
  • Implementing a “Remain in Mexico” policy by requiring that an alien seeking admission (including asylum) and arriving on land from a foreign territory contiguous to the U.S. be returned to that territory pending proceedings for the adjudication of the alien’s status;
  • Requiring an immigration officer who determines that a migrant arriving in the U.S. or along the southern border is inadmissible to be detained and expelled to Mexico (or their nation of origin, birth, or residence) without further hearing or review.
    • Exceptions for aliens claiming to be threatened with persecution or torture would not be permissible if:
      • the alien has ordered or participated in the persecution another individual;
      • the alien, having been convicted of a particularly serious crime, is a danger to U.S. citizens;
      • there is reason to believe the alien committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the U.S.; and/or
      • there are reasonable grounds to believe the alien is a danger to U.S. national security.
  • Prohibiting the use of federal funds to transfer an alien in the custody of the Government from a facility in which they were first detained to another location for a purpose other than adjudicating the alien’s status. 

Support for our allies in the legislation includes a total of $66.32 billion in defense-funding, specifically:

  • $47.69 billion to support the defense of Ukraine.
  • $10.40 billion to support the defense of Israel.
  • $4.91 billion to support the U.S. and allied deterrence operations in the Indo-Pacific.
  • $2.44 billion to support operations in U.S. Central Command, including to address combat expenditures related to recent conflict in the Red Sea.
  • $542 million for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to address critical, unfunded operations.

Having lived at Naval Air Station Atsugi as a military spouse for three years while her husband was forward deployed in Japan, Congresswoman Kiggans has a deep understanding and great appreciation for the critical role our military forces play in Asia and the sacrifices made by our military members and their families deployed there.

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