President Joe Biden made a visit to the U.S.-Mexico Border on Sunday. He addressed one of the most controversial issues in the country, as he gears up for a reelection campaign.
Biden was accompanied by Border Patrol agents as he toured the section of the wall that divides them, which is a priority for his Republican predecessor Donald Trump. This was to show that he takes the matter seriously.
Biden said Thursday that his administration will tighten immigration enforcement, blocking Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan migrants at its border. This would allow for more nationalities to be allowed back into Mexico.
However, that didn’t impress Republicans such as Greg Abbott of Texas who claimed he failed to enforce immigration laws.
In a letter that he wrote to Biden after his arrival, Abbott stated, “You have violated the Constitution’s obligation to defend the States from invasion by the faithful execution of federal laws.”
Biden stated to reporters that he hadn’t yet read the letter.
The president was joined by Alejandro Mayorkas (Secretary of Homeland Security), who also visited the Bridge of the Americas that connects the United States with Mexico and saw the equipment used to detect illegal drug traffickers.
Biden wants to improve relations with Border Patrol Agents, who have resisted the White House’s rollback of touchline enforcement policies.
Given the Republicans’ recent control of Congress, it is likely that Congress will fail to achieve its long-term goal of reforming America’s creaky immigration system.
Over the last two decades, right-wing legislators have repeatedly thwarted U.S. immigration reform plans.
Two years ago Biden presented to Congress an immigration reform program. However, it was rejected by Republicans who blocked Biden’s request for $3.5 million to strengthen border enforcement.
After securing narrow support in the House of Representatives during the midterm elections in 2022, Republicans have begun to push their own border plans.
Jim Jordan, a Republican U.S. Representative said that Biden should follow Trump’s zero-tolerance policies. These included separating children from their migrant parents.
Jordan stated, “They have allowed us to be in a position where we don’t even have a border.”
Mayorkas stated Sunday that Biden was unable to stop the flow of migrants to America because of international crises, legislative gridlock, and other obstacles.
Mayorkas stated that “we’re only dealing with broken systems,” to reporters on Air Force One, as they traveled towards Texas.
El Paso’s Democratic Mayor declared a State of Emergency last month. He cited hundreds of migrants sleeping in the cold streets and thousands of people being arrested every day.
U.S. border officers apprehended record numbers of migrants crossing the border to Mexico during the fiscal year 2022 that ended in September. However, this number does not include individuals who attempted to cross the border multiple times.
Biden opened Thursday legal and limited entry points to the country for Cubans (Nicaraguans), Haitians, and Nicaraguans. This was in addition to his expanding authority to expel immigrants. Each month, up to 300.000 people can enter the country via air from these three countries, plus Venezuela.
Although Biden received praise from U.S. business groups eager to address urgent labor shortages, some Democrats and human rights activists have criticized Biden’s actions. They are seen as a retreat from President Trump’s 2020 promise to reinstate historical asylum rights for all refugees.
Mayorkas refuted the notion that Biden is reviving Trump’s clampdowns.
He said, “It’s not a ban at any time.” It is significantly different from what Trump proposed.
Migrants in El Paso reacted with fear to the introduction of the new policy.
David Guillen (43), asked Biden for forgiveness. He and other Venezuelan migrants entered the country illegally. Many of them are currently sleeping in El Paso churches, afraid of being deported and arrested if they try to travel elsewhere.
We made a mistake, but it wasn’t a terrible one. He said that it was because we desire a better lifestyle.
Biden traveled with Air Force One from El Paso to Mexico City after the El Paso visit. He was met by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Biden, Lopez Obrador, and Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, will host a summit on Monday about energy, economic cooperation, and drug trafficking.
Biden spoke briefly with his Mexican counterpart at the airport without making any statements to the media.
According to polls, Americans rate Biden’s immigration policies as failing.
Real Clear Politics polls show that 37% disapprove of Biden’s immigration policy, which is lower than his overall approval.
Mayorkas stated to reporters that the system must be fixed “fundamentally.”