Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Oklahoma Republicans on Jan. 27 censured Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) for leading negotiations with Senate Democrats on a bipartisan border security bill that has largely been rejected by House Republicans.
Mr. Lankford needs to “cease and desist jeopardizing the security and liberty of the people of Oklahoma and of these United States” with the measure, according to the resolution passed by Oklahoma Republican Party (OKGOP) committee members.
“Until Senator Lankford ceases from these actions, the Oklahoma Republican Party will cease all support for him,” the resolution states. “Senator Lankford playing fast and loose with Democrats on our border policy not only disenfranchises legal immigrants seeking citizenship but it also puts the safety and security of Americans in great danger.”
It also noted that, according to reports regarding the Senate bill, the proposal would allow for at least 5,000 illegal immigrants to be let into the United States to work each day. A number of House Republicans have described that proposal as a nonstarter and said it wouldn’t pass.
While Mr. Lankford hasn’t publicly commented on the resolution, he wrote on social media on Jan. 27: “Border security is national security.”
Mr. Lankford’s office didn’t respond by press time on Jan. 28 to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
Anthony Ferate, former chairman of the Oklahoma GOP, defended the senator on social media. He said the GOP members who approved the measure that condemned Mr. Lankford are part of an “extreme faction” and didn’t provide “an official call to all members of the state committee, including me, to attack” the senator, who was reelected in 2022 and won’t be up or election again until 2028.
“Any vote taken by the OKGOP today was not legitimate and definitely does not represent the voice of all Oklahoma Republicans,” Mr. Ferate wrote.
Reports say Mr. Lankford has been working with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and others to come to an agreement to deal with the surging number of illegal crossings along the U.S.–Mexico border.
Some House Republicans have said that they won’t back the reported border security bill that’s being worked on in the Senate. They include Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who earlier this month described the measure as “a nightmare.”
“The Senate Amnesty Bill is a nightmare. It gives legal status to illegal aliens who have gamed our system and broken our laws. It rolls out the red carpet for 5,000 illegals EVERY DAY, forever,” he wrote on social media. “It’s hard enough to stop the far-left’s state-sponsored invasion of our Southern Border, and it’s even harder when you’re pulling Senator Lankford’s daggers out of your back. I oppose the Senate Amnesty Deal and will work to see its defeat.”
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) warned in a letter that the Senate bill is “dead on arrival” in the House if it’s anything like the legislation that has been described in media reports.
“I wanted to provide a brief update regarding the supplemental and the border since the Senate appears unable to reach any agreement. If rumors about the contents of the draft proposal are true, it would have been dead on arrival in the House anyway,” he wrote in the letter.
Outside of Congress, former President Donald Trump, the current favorite to be the GOP presidential nominee, said the measure would cause serious problems for Republicans.
“A border deal now would be another gift to the radical left Democrats. They need it politically but don’t care about our border,” the former president said in a statement on Jan. 25. “What is currently being worked on in the Senate will be meaningless in terms of border security and closure.”
The only way Americans can get a “really secure border” is to vote for him in November, according to President Trump’s statement.
On Jan. 26, President Joe Biden vowed to “shut down the border” if Congress passes the “bipartisan” immigration deal, and “if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law.”
The White House has agreed to new limits on asylum-seekers at the border, including the creation of an expulsion power that would allow illegal immigrants who cross the U.S.–Mexico border to be rapidly returned to Mexico if encounters top 4,000 per day, according to a Reuters report. If above 5,000 per day, the expulsion authority would become mandatory.
In December 2023, encounters averaged more than 9,500 daily, according to U.S. government statistics released on Jan. 26.
Reuters contributed to this report.