Why Biden is pivoting right on immigration in 2024
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The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has threatened to “close the southern border entirely” if Democrats continue to obstruct financing for his proposed border wall. This threat comes two years into his term.
It was the kind of rhetoric that Trump used regarding the border between the United States and Mexico that Democrats routinely criticized as being xenophobic.
Now, however, President Joe Biden is employing a similar language in his demand for a closure of the border when he pushes Congress to support a bill that is now being negotiated by senators and is bipartisan in nature. This law is intended to address what Biden has begun to refer to as “the border crisis.”
The proposal, according to Vice President Biden, would be the “toughest and fairest” set of border changes in the history of the United States. Included in the proposal is a new presidential authority to “shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed.”
According to statements made by Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday to Democrats in Columbia, South Carolina, “If that bill were the law today, I would shut down the border right now and fix it quickly.”
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A seismic shift to the right on border and immigration politics has been building over the course of the past year, and Biden’s campaign for a bipartisan border package, which would also contain funds for Ukraine and Israel, is a sign of this movement.
In the run-up to the presidential election in 2024, Vice President Joe Biden is making an effort to deprive Republicans of one of their most powerful wedge issues. This is being done in order to establish a plausible case that House Republicans, who have declined to support a bipartisan border bill, have been a barrier to the implementation of long-sought-after measures regarding the border.
However, the conversations are a long cry from a comprehensive immigration measure that Vice President Biden brought to Congress on his first day of office. This bill intended to “restore humanity and American values to our immigration system” by providing undocumented immigrants in the United States with opportunities to become citizens.
“The discourse has become which of the parties can be harsher on border enforcement,” said Melissa Gilman, co-director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. “The discourse has become how who can be more harsh on border enforcement.”
Gilman stated that the political posturing does not take into account the fact that the border has never been the subject of measures that are more strict in terms of screenings for entry, rapid removal of migrants, and other areas.
“I have to think it’s mostly because the Republicans have succeeded in creating a lot of fear around migration issues and have had success in doing that,” according to Gilman.
Republicans have been trying to appeal to independent voters and rally their conservative base for years by accusing the left of being soft on border security. This accusation has been used to rally the conservative base.
In the past, people have a more favorable impression of Republicans when it comes to border security. In October, a poll conducted by USA TODAY and Suffolk University revealed that a greater number of Americans, with a margin of 50%-41%, have faith in Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination, to manage immigration matters, as opposed to Biden.
During the past year, there have been record daily border crossings, which has caused Biden’s tone to shift. Furthermore, the president has been informed by Democratic mayors that they have expressed their worries on the requirement of additional resources in order to manage the surge of migrants in their respective towns.
“No, it’s not,” Vice President Biden responded to a reporter’s inquiry as to whether or not the border is secure earlier this month. “I haven’t believed that for the last 10 years, and I’ve said it for the last 10 years.”
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, whose hard-line policies at the border, including the installation of razor wire along the Rio Grande, appear to be affecting the tone of the national immigration discussion, has been a source of inspiration for Republicans.
While this is going on, Republicans in the House of Representatives are taking the border dispute to a whole new level by attempting to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. They are alleging that Mayorkas has refused to follow the immigration laws of the country.
Despite the fact that the wording of the bipartisan border legislation has not yet been finalized, senators have discussed the possibility of providing the Department of Homeland Security with the authority to close the border to migrants who are entering illegally when the number of daily crossings exceeds an average of 4,000 per week for a period of one week.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be compelled to seal the border to migrants who are attempting to cross without prior authorization between ports of entry if the number of migrant encounters at the border exceeds an average of 5,000 per day, which is a threshold that has already been surpassed. In accordance with the plan, certain migrants would be permitted to remain in the United States if they are attempting to escape persecution or torture in their national nations.
There is no doubt that this is just what they have been requesting, and it is precisely what Republicans have been requesting. It is currently in front of you. Karine Jean-Pierre, the communications secretary for the White House, stated on Monday that it is reaching its true potential. “So, they should get on board.”
The acceleration of the asylum procedure is another topic that senator negotiators have been discussing. This would allow immigration judges to consider cases that can currently take years to hear within a period of six months.
On the other hand, Trump has instructed Republicans to disagree with the plan, which makes it extremely unlikely that any agreement will be approved by Congress. Biden would be deprived of the opportunity to claim victory in the fight against the rising number of migrants at the southern border if a border accord that was supported by both parties were to fail.
“We’re now fully into electioneering and to partisan politics,” said Doris Meissner, director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank that avoids taking a partisan stance on issues. The positioning of Vice President Joe Biden, she described as “a direct response to the fact that the former president is saying ‘Don’t solve the problem at the border,'” she said. By declaring, “Give me the tools, and I will solve the problem,” Biden is expressing his belief.
A very different immigration debate from a decade ago
As of 2013, the national immigration debate that was taking place during the Obama presidency was still dependent on efforts made by both parties to address the issue of the millions of undocumented immigrants who were residing in the United States. These efforts included the provision of a road to citizenship for these individuals. This legislation was written by a group of eight senators from the United States Senate, four of whom were Democrats and four of whom were Republicans. However, it was defeated on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Since then, there has been no other initiative in Congress that has acquired momentum.
“I think President Biden’s response is fitting in that I think everyone agrees that what’s happening at the border is a symptom of a broken system,” said Jennie Murray, president of the National Immigration Forum, which aims to establish a moderate coalition for immigration reform. Murray is a member of the National Immigration Forum. Her argument was that there is a need for an overhaul of the visa system in addition to additional resources for border patrol agents. “But that’s only one of the solutions,” she replied.
The similarities that opponents from the left make between Trump’s and Biden’s immigration policy have been refuted by the White House. They argue that Trump is responsible for the separation of migrant families at the border, in addition to other harsh actions.
Donald Trump has advocated for the deportation of a large number of unauthorized immigrants. In addition, Trump, in contrast to Biden, frequently employs vocabulary that is hostile toward immigrants. In the previous year, he warned his supporters that illegal immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the country, which is reminiscent of the terminology that Adolf Hitler used.
According to a recent analysis conducted by the Migration Policy Institute, Vice President Biden has issued 535 immigration orders in the first three years of his administration, which is more than the number of executive actions that President Trump has issued in the entire four years of his presidency.
Despite the fact that Biden is constantly moving at a breakneck rate, his detractors continue to accuse him of being inactive.
As a result of the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused severe economic struggle and prevented people from going across borders, the Biden years have been scarred at the border. Immediately after the worst of it subsided, there was a surge in the demand for economic opportunities and the reunification of families, as well as the requirement for many people to flee political unrest in countries such as Venezuela. New records were established for the number of daily encounters with migrants at the border, which in December surpassed 10,000 in a span of twenty-four hours.
According to an analysis of Office of Homeland Security Statistics conducted by the Migration Policy Institute, border management agencies have reported a record number of 6.3 million interactions with migrants at the border since Vice President Biden assumed office. It is estimated that as many as 2.4 million migrants were granted entry into the US, including those who entered through channels such as CBP One or humanitarian parole.
Johnson has indicated that he has regular conversations with Trump regarding border negotiations. He has also argued that Biden is already able to take executive action without the need for action from Congress. The White House has pointed out that this position is contrary to Johnson’s previous stated position.
A fresh argument for Biden to use on the campaign trail will be provided to him in the event that Republicans do not support a border deal. This argument would be that he attempted to “shut down the border” but was prevented from doing so by his opponents.
Biden, on the other hand, runs the danger of alienating himself among progressives and supporters for immigrants, who together make up the left flank of the party.
Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, which is situated in El Paso, Texas, stated that the efforts made by the administration up to this point have put border communities “in a better position than they were before to manage migration at the border because of the actions taken.”
According to what Corbett stated following a meeting with Mayorkas on Monday in Washington, “They attempted to pivot toward root causes; they implemented innovative family reunification programs; their support to non-governmental organizations at the border and in the interior have been key to managing increased arrivals.”
“That being said,” Corbett continued, “the reversal by the president is devastating.” They are making a suggestion that is not likely to be successful.