OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Republicans have been demanding that President Joe Biden do more to bolster immigration and border enforcement for the majority of his term, and now a growing chorus of Democrats is joining them.
There is increasing pressure on Biden to issue executive orders aimed at addressing the border crisis, particularly after he revoked numerous border-related executive orders implemented by then-President Donald Trump when he was in office.
Biden put an end to the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which mandated that asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border wait in Mexico while their cases were processed through the U.S. Immigration Court system. Additionally, he ceased the construction of further physical barriers along the border. Biden also terminated the border emergency that Trump had declared upon assuming office in January 2021.
Just the News spoke to a number of Democrats to find out how they would respond to GOP claims that Biden could fix the border issues right away by reimplementing many of Trump’s policies.
“There’s a lot of issues here, OK? There’s some things he could do,” Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) said.. “I’m hoping that as soon as the Senate comes up with their deal, that we get at least a shot at looking at it, voting. I’m not sure if I’ll support it. Give us a shot at voting on it.”
Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas) has called on the Biden administration to do more to secure the border, such as raising the “credible fear standards” for asylum, given that more than 70 percent of asylum seekers ultimately do not qualify. He also said that Biden must “change the way” that the Department of Homeland Security is interpreting current asylum laws.
“We need to send a message to the world that if you show up to our southern border, you don’t just get to come in,” he said during an interview on CNN.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), however, has countered that Biden already has executive authority to close down the border and end the migrant surges.
“President Biden falsely claimed yesterday he needs Congress to pass a new law to allow him to close the southern border, but he knows that is untrue,” Johnson wrote on X last week. “As I explained to him in a letter late last year, and have specifically reiterated to him on multiple occasions since, he can and must take executive action immediately to reverse the catastrophe he has created.”
My statement on President Biden’s endorsement of the Senate border deal:
President Biden falsely claimed yesterday he needs Congress to pass a new law to allow him to close the southern border, but he knows that is untrue.
As I explained to him in a letter late last year, and…
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) January 27, 2024
Johnson has expressed strong reservations about the prospective border deal that would permit as many as 8,500 migrants to enter the U.S. at the border within a single day or an average of 5,000 per day before triggering a border shutdown. He has stated that any legislation containing such provisions would be “dead on arrival” in the GOP-controlled House.
“I am emphasizing again today that House Republicans will vigorously oppose any policy proposal from the White House or Senate that would further incentivize illegal aliens to break our laws,” Johnson reportedly wrote in a letter to his colleagues last week.
A late December report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) revealed a shocking number of illegal migrant crossings since Biden reversed nearly all of his predecessor’s border enforcement policies on his first day in office.
According to Just the News, which cited the ICE report, ” the backlog of aliens inside the United States awaiting decisions has nearly doubled under President Joe Biden to more than 6 million while arrests of suspected terrorists and violent offenders have also exploded.”
The outlet added: “The year-end report from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement released Friday showed nearly every measure of illegal immigration rose substantially in 2023, candidly admitting the southern border’s being overrun by millions of illegal crossers has taken a major toll on the agency.”
“While ICE carefully prioritized its resources to meet these evolving mission needs and agency personnel continued to perform at a high standard, these increased demands have strained a workforce that has remained relatively static for the past decade,” the report said, according to the outlet.