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AP source: Biden would veto House GOP bill on immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden would veto a House GOP bill that aims to restrict asylum, build more border wall and cut a program that allows migrants a chance to stay in the U.S. lawfully for two years, an administration official said Monday.

Republicans are looking to capitalize on the spotlight as immigration surges into the national news this week with the ending of COVID-19 restrictions that allowed border authorities to quickly return many migrants who crossed the border illegally. They aim to vote on their Secure the Border Act on Thursday — the same day the emergency powers expire. Officials have already seen a surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and are bracing for more.

The legislation represents the GOP’s first major immigration policy proposal since the Trump era, when hardline immigration opponents controlled the White House. The 213-page bill resurrects a slew of Trump’s policies, such as building barriers along hundreds of miles of border country, and in some cases, pushes beyond the former president’s aggressive policies.

It stands little chance of passing the Democratic-held Senate and faces strong headwinds from some Republicans representing agricultural areas over requirements that businesses verify employees’ legal immigration status.

But if it were to end up on the president’s desk, he’d veto it, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about a decision that hasn’t yet been announced and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The bill would cut the program that allows U.S. officials to quickly turn away migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua.

The Biden administration has long argued Congress needs to act on the border in order to fix major problems that have led to record numbers of people illegally crossing. But this isn’t the way to do it, in the view of the White House.

Strict new rules about to go into effect this week limit the number of people who can claim asylum at the border and instead encourage migrants to skip the dangerous and deadly journey north and apply for asylum through a new app, or at a regional hub opening in both Guatemala and Colombia.