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With Congress back in session today, we continue to await legislative language from Senate negotiators who have been working since November on a deal that might restrict access to asylum at the border, a Republican demand for allowing a package of Ukraine aid and other spending priorities to move forward.

Prospects for the deal’s passage in the Republican-majority House of Representatives remain poor. “Any border ‘shutdown’ authority that ALLOWS even one illegal crossing is a non-starter. Thousands each day is outrageous. The number must be ZERO,” tweeted Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana). (The number has never been close to zero.)

“Thousands each day” refers to an apparent agreement among Senate negotiators to start expelling asylum seekers if the daily average of migrant apprehensions at the border rises above 5,000.

The Oklahoma Republican Party issued a statement clarifying that it did not, in fact, vote to censure Senate Republicans’ chief negotiator, Sen. James Lankford, for his talks with Democrats, as was reported over the weekend.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador responded to President Joe Biden’s January 27 pledge to “shut down the border right now” (an apparent reference to a Title 42-style expulsion authority that is part of the Senate agreement), calling it “a very demagogic position.”

The House Homeland Security Committee will meet today to mark up articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said that his state is putting up concertina wire “everywhere we can… If they cut it, we will replace it.” The Hill reported, “Patrick threatened a ‘confrontation’ with state authorities if the Biden administration sent Border Patrol to remove barriers.”

Twenty-six Republican state attorneys-general, including those from “purple” states like New Hampshire and Virginia, signed a statement backing Texas’s border security efforts and confrontation with federal authorities, citing the state’s “duty to defend against invasion.”

A state records request revealed that Texas’s state government paid $135,000, or $1,100 per passenger, to fly 120 migrants on a chartered plane from El Paso to Chicago in December.

A migrant “caravan” that started near the Mexico-Guatemala border with about 6,000 people at Christmas is now 400 people, walking through Mexico’s southern state of Veracruz.

A Republican House Foreign Affairs Committee aide who had accompanied a recent four-person delegation to Mexico “said Mexican officials were ‘very keen’ about touting their work removing Venezuelans,” the Washington Examiner reported.

Analyses and Feature Stories

“Perhaps it’s chaos, not immigration per se, that upsets voters, and Mr. Biden can curb the chaos by letting more immigrants come to the United States legally,” wrote the Cato Institute’s David Bier at the New York Times. In the increasingly likely event that Congress fails to reach a border deal, Bier suggests that Biden expand use of humanitarian parole authority.

U.S. media have published a series of analyses from legal scholars about the “extremely dangerous” constitutional implications of Texas’s challenge to federal authority to enforce immigration policy at the border, especially its exclusion of Border Patrol from part of the border in Eagle Pass.

Honduran authorities registered 545,043 citizens of other countries (not counting neighboring Nicaragua) transiting its territory irregularly in 2023. UNHCR estimated “that more than 850,000 people transited Honduras” last year when including those whom the government did not count.

On the Right