WASHINGTON, DC – Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), Jared Golden (ME-2), Don Bacon (NE-2), Ed Case (HI-1), Mike Lawler (NY-17), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-3), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-5), and Jim Costa (CA-21) introduced the bipartisan Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act. This legislation provides, for one-year, necessary authorities to secure the U.S. southern border and defense-only appropriations in support of Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

“Securing one’s borders is necessary to preserving one’s democracy and, therefore, necessary to maintaining world order and world peace,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “As the world’s oldest and strongest democracy, the United States’ primary responsibility must be to secure its own borders. But we also have an obligation to assist our allies in securing their borders, especially when they come under assault by dictators, terrorists, and totalitarians. Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan are all freedom-loving democracies, they are our allies, and we must assist them in protecting their borders just as we must protect our own. We can, and must, achieve all of the above.”

“Congress must secure our border. This bill would provide expulsion authority, a tool Border Patrol needs to reassert control and do their jobs. Restoring the Remain in Mexico policy would address SCOTUS’s ruling that this authority is discretionary,” said Congressman Golden. “The situation in Ukraine is also deadly serious. Russia has tried to influence our elections and has run disinformation campaigns to divide our nation. At this moment, the enemy of our enemy is our friend.”

“We secure our borders and help Ukraine defend itself against an immoral invasion by Russia in this bipartisan bill,” said Congressman Bacon. “We support Ukrainians who love freedom, Israelis who defend their homeland, and Taiwanese who want freedom. We stand for democratic values.”

“The country and world are watching whether the U.S. Congress is capable of addressing the critical issues in this measure," said Congressman Case. "An indefinite impasse in the House after the Senate has acted is not acceptable. Clearly any measure to break this impasse and pass Congress must be bipartisan. Our bill advances a direct answer to these issues that can be brought up immediately for full House consideration, including amendments on key issues like humanitarian aid which I fully support.”

“Our porous border and state-sponsored aggression pose an existential threat to the democratic world order and to our nation. We simply cannot let partisanship or gridlock prevent us from tackling these challenges,” said Congressman Lawler. “As I have been saying from the beginning, we must secure our border and we must deter foreign aggression - it’s not an either/ or. That’s why I’m proud to be joining colleagues from both parties to introduce the Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act. This legislation will provide critical support for our southern border and much-needed funding to safeguard Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. In such times as these, talk is cheap and action is urgent. We must move swiftly to get this legislation passed as soon as possible.”

“Our government has an obligation to maintain secure borders and stand up for our allies facing existential threats to their democracies. Instead, we’ve seen months of political grandstanding and shifted goalposts. The American people have had enough, deserve better, and are asking Congress to simply do its job,” said Congresswoman Gluesenkamp Perez. “The number of migrants arriving at our Southern Border is creating a growing humanitarian crisis, and failure to assist our ally Ukraine in defending its sovereignty would threaten freedom across our globe. Today, I’m standing with my bipartisan colleagues to put forward a solution that reflects our values, protects democracy, and keeps our communities safe – and I look forward to working across the aisle with the Speaker to bring this bipartisan measure to the House floor.”

“My focus hasn’t changed since day one – I’m always looking for opportunities to find commonsense, bipartisan solutions to the issues that matter most to Oregonians. My constituents are concerned about the flow of fentanyl across our broken border and into their communities. They’re also counting on Congress to protect national security by deterring international threats,” said Congresswoman Chavez-DeRemer. “I’m honoring those concerns and working to be part of the solution by helping lead the Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act. The provisions in this bipartisan proposal are only active for one year because it’s not meant to be the ultimate fix – it’s a much-needed, long-overdue patch that will help secure the border while simultaneously supporting our friends and allies around the world. I’m honored to join this bipartisan group of my colleagues to take the lead on the most important issues facing our country.”

“Congress cannot continue allowing partisan politics to get in the way of our responsibility. The American people and our allies are counting on us to meet our obligations to protect our national security. The world is watching how we respond,” said Congressman Costa. “Enhancing security at our southern border, and funding for Ukraine and other allies will deter greater threats from foreign adversaries like Russia and China. Responsible governance requires a compromise, and this bipartisan solution would address the challenges we face both here at home and abroad.”


This legislation would require the suspension of entry of inadmissible aliens to achieve operational control over U.S. borders, require immigration officers to detain and immediately expel inadmissible aliens, and provide $66.32 billion in defense-only funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The border security authorities and the national security appropriations would be active for one year after enactment.

Defending Borders

Only for a period of 1 year after the date of enactment, the bill requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to suspend the entry of inadmissible aliens at a U.S. land or maritime border if the Secretary determines that it is necessary in order to achieve operational control of such border.

Likewise, the bill requires 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:

a)      the alien has ordered or participated in the persecution another individual

b)      the alien, having been convicted of a particularly serious crime, is a danger to U.S. citizens

c)      there is reason to believe the alien committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the U.S.

d)      there are reasonable grounds to believe the alien is a danger to U.S. national security

Humane exceptions such as for those with disabilities or acute medical conditions are permissible.

The bill prohibits 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.

Finally, the legislation implements a “Remain in Mexico” policy for 1 year 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.

Defending Democracies

The bill makes available for Fiscal Year 2024, only for a period of 1 year after the date of enactment, $66.32 billion for the Department of Defense for the following purposes:

  • $47.69 billion to support the defense of Ukraine, including $13.77 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative
  • $10.40 billion to support the defense of Israel, including $4 billion to procure the Iron Dome and David’s Sling and $1.2 billion to procure the Iron Beam
  • $4.91 billion to support 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

Read the bill text here.