Easton, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the following remarks Monday in response to the bipartisan emergency national security supplemental unveiled late this weekend.
“This bill is critically important for us to pass as quickly as possible. It provides needed aid to Ukraine – that’s our frontline for defense of democratic states. It’s a much better investment for us to send funds and military equipment to Ukraine than to send American soldiers. We recognize the great need there. It also helps us in the Middle East, and with regards to China’s potential aggression against Taiwan. All of that is wrapped into this bill along with humanitarian assistance.
“This emergency supplemental package also deals with the broken border that we have here in the United States. We need to have a sensible border security policy that can determine a person’s status immediately, so that people don’t come to this country who are not eligible for immediate admission and wait years for determination of their final status. We will take care of legitimate asylum seekers fleeing persecution, but the heavy volume coming to our border is largely for other reasons, such as economic migrants. This package will allow us to have an orderly and secure system – fairer and more humane – and help dramatically reduce the numbers of migrants that are showing up every day.
“We need comprehensive immigration reform. This bill is a first step towards that by having an orderly process for determining asylum at our border. We also increase some of the numbers coming in through lawful means – such as through worker visas or family reunification. But we need to have a more comprehensive and rational policy. We need a pathway to citizenship for those who have been here long-term, including Dreamers and TPS holders. We need a much more orderly process to deal with H2-B visas that are so needed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as well as J-1 visas for seasonal workers. It’s critically important. What is in this bill is a first step. We need more to follow.”