Biden’s Challenge at the Border
All of this is fodder for the Republicans, who have made immigration an unavoidable issue, a club deployed daily by any potential presidential candidate worthy of his MAGA hat.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has accused the Biden administration of letting migrants with Covid-19 sneak through the system and travel to Florida, a largely unfounded accusation. And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who vowed to continue building Trump’s border wall on his own, accused Biden of planning a “capture and release” policy towards migrants.
Right or wrong, the attacks seem to be having the desired effect. A June poll by the Washington Post and ABC News showed that only 33% of those polled approved of the president’s work on immigration, while 51% disapproved.
So yes, it’s a mess.
Supporters of Mr Biden say he’s doing his best with a terrible hand, and that behind the scenes the president has acted quickly. According to Muzaffar Chishti, a senior researcher at the Migration Policy Institute, he took 155 immigration actions – half of them reversing the actions of the previous administration – compared to the 450 Trump took during his entire tenure. Last month, the White House released a draft promising a “transformative vision” for immigration reform, including redirecting resources from building the Trump wall to dealing with migrants and streamlining asylum claims. .
“This is the boldest immigration program of any president in a long time,” said Mr. Chishti.
But all of this will take time, and the administration therefore demands patience from both migrants and immigration advocates.
“We are also sending – and critically – a message that now is not the time to come to the border,” Internal Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in March. “Don’t make the trip now. Give us time to build an orderly and safe way to get to the United States and make the claims the law allows you to make. “
Of course, this message implies that the administration is currently focusing on other issues – Covid, infrastructure, the spending program. And precisely because immigration is a hot topic, they argue, it is better to make changes slowly and gradually. Canceling Title 42 is just not in the President’s playbook just yet.
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