Can Biden find the right balance on immigration?

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Democrats pitted Republicans in the 2020 campaign to seek to fix the country’s broken immigration system. Choose us, it was argued, and we will stop the cruel treatment of migrants at the border, and implement sustainable and humane policies that work.

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A year after Joe Biden’s presidency, the issue has become difficult to act and there is growing concern among some in the party privately that the Biden administration is not finding the right balance on immigration.

In public, it’s another story. Most Washington lawmakers have largely held their tongues, unwilling to criticize their leader on a polarizing topic that has sparked divisions within the party – especially as concerns grow over whether the Democrats will hold power next year. can come in.


It’s a difficult balancing act to pull off, said Douglas Rivlin, a spokesman for the immigration reform group, Voices of America. Especially when Republicans are unrelenting in their negativity toward the president, even a small friendly fire can be a challenge.

“It’s hard, but they have to do it,” he said. “They’re going to face voters next year, everyone on the Hill. Biden isn’t there, they are. And they should be clear that they’re pushing Biden to be the Democratic president we’ve elected, rather than the ones we’ve chosen.” They should be afraid of issues because politics is difficult.”

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Democrats have pointed to the recent House approval of a massive spending bill backed by the White House that would allow for expanded work permits and some other, less ambitious immigration provisions. When Biden took office, he promised to give way to illegal US citizenship for millions of people in the country. Democrats say the spending bill’s measures are enough to show the party will not back down on immigration during the midterms of next year.

“I don’t see this as the president’s fault or … The challenges we face today are falling entirely on the president’s shoulders,” said Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar. El Paso, Texas, across the border from Juarez, Mexico. “It’s a collective obligation that we have and I think the Democrats have solutions and we need to depend on them.”

His Democratic ally, San Antonio’s Rep. Joaquin Castro shrugged off a question when asked whether members of the House in swing districts would be forced to run away from Biden in 2022, saying “I’m going to wait on the political discussions.”

But Castro said the party has done as much as it can on immigration this session, given Senate rules that have prevented larger legislation on the issue from proceeding with the required minimum of 60 votes in that chamber.

“Right now, the Democrats have control of the White House, the Senate and the House and we have worked as hard as we have in the chambers to get protection from deportation, workplace permits, driver’s licenses, travel capabilities.” Castro said. said.

Former Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke, who recently announced that he would run for governor of Texas, has been one of the few Democrats to have put the border front and center when he announced that he was running. , almost immediately moving to the US-Mexico border. , where he suggested the White House was not doing his party any favors.

“It’s clear Biden can do a better job at the border,” O’Rourke said during an interview with KTVT TV in Dallas-Fort Worth. “It’s not enough to prioritize.”

Like most of the top Democrats, O’Rourke will have to counter the narrative pushed by Republicans that the increase in the number of people crossing the border illegally this year has reached “crisis” levels. Incumbent Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign accused O’Rourke of supporting Biden’s “open borders” policies and funded billboards along the border depicting O’Rourke’s face as the president’s face.

Rourke’s campaign manager Nick Rathod, with Borderlands “ignored, I think, by Democrats across the board, not just the Biden administration, in engaging in those communities in an authentic way”.

“It’s kind of created a vacuum. What we want to do is fill that space.”

But immigration is a complex issue, and no administration has been able to fix it. And Biden is caught between the conflicting interests of showing compassion when dealing with migrants arriving in the country – illegally – in search of a better life.

The administration has said it is focusing on the root causes of immigration, and working to find a long-term solution to brokers who want migrants to stay home. He has put forward rules that aim to rapidly postpone asylum cases so that migrants don’t wait in limbo, and he has worked to reduce the massive backlog of cases.

But mostly, Biden has over the past year seen Trump-era rules widely seen as brutal, clamping down on asylum seekers, reducing the number of refugees the US is allowed and then crossing the limit. Kindly closed in the name of COVID-19.

Despite that effort, Biden has faced criticism from progressives and immigration advocates, who say he is still using too much of dehumanizing Trump-era policies.

One of the most criticized is the “Stay in Mexico” program, where migrants are sent to temporary refugee camps at the Mexican border to await settlement of their immigration claims. It was put on hold after a judge ruled it inappropriate, but according to court papers, the Biden administration is waiting for final agreements with Mexico to begin…

Credit: / Joe Biden

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