Immigration: Biden tightens the noose to better appeal to the most conservative electorate

Hibapress / MAP

The announcement by US President Joe Biden of the temporary closure of the border with Mexico to asylum seekers, in the event of an increase in the number of illegal crossings, dealt a massive blow to a wave of migrants who have traveled thousands of miles in hopes of achieving the American dream.”

The measures announced by the tenant of the White House, who is seeking a second term, constitute the ultimate political maneuver by the Democratic leader with a view to seducing the most conservative electorate. However, many analysts believe that this turn to the right carries risks for Biden, whose political party has long advocated for the freedom of movement of people.

Biden’s announcement also comes in a context marked by harsh criticism from Republicans, who have continued to denounce the president’s immigration policy, deeming it lax, in the face of record migratory flows at the country’s southern border since his entry into office.

After pledging to end Trumpist policies on immigration management, including the expiration of Title 42, a pandemic-era measure used to expel migrants before they can apply asylum.

Biden thus faces many challenges, including calls from border states for increased federal aid to manage the migration crisis.

Faced with these challenges, the Democratic president is trying to tackle the issue of immigration, which constitutes one of the major concerns of voters, a few months before the presidential election next November.

According to the decree signed Tuesday by the tenant of the White House, when the seven-day average of daily border crossings exceeds 2,500, asylum seekers will be turned back. Then, once the seven-day average drops below 1,500, this measure will be lifted.

Over the past three weeks, the daily average of illegal border crossings has been 3,700, meaning the new measures can therefore come into force immediately.

This system, however, includes exceptions for unaccompanied children, people facing serious medical or security problems and victims of human trafficking.

To implement these restrictions, Biden is relying on Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which grants him broad powers to suspend the entry of foreigners into the United States for purposes of national security reasons.

Between electoral maneuvers and political messages

A few days before his first televised debate with his rival Donald Trump (June 27), President Biden has decided to tackle one of the hottest topics on the American political scene.

The move also comes less than two weeks after Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer obstructed Republican attempts to reach a bipartisan agreement on border migration policy. Schumer’s maneuver paved the way for Biden to make his announcement with fanfare.

Historically, it is the Republicans who have always advocated for tougher immigration policy. Their current candidate, Donald Trump, has even made it one of the pillars of his electoral campaign.

Biden said he was convinced that “the borders of the United States must be secure” to justify the measures taken to restrict the granting of asylum to immigrants who cross the country’s southern border illegally.

“I would prefer to solve this problem through bipartisan legislation,” Biden said from the White House, adding that the high number of migrants at the border is “a direct result of Congress’s failure to modernize a system of “immigration and asylum that no longer works”.

In the opinion of observers, the announcement of these measures by Biden, just two days after the election of the new president of Mexico, sends a clear message to the southern neighbor on the need to continue coordination between the two countries to control migratory flows.

Sharp criticism from all sides

Even if the measures taken by Biden aim to toughen immigration policy, the Republican camp does not view this measure favorably, even if it shares his approach. While some criticized Biden for not taking this step sooner, others considered it not restrictive enough.

Within the Democratic Party itself, Biden was not spared either. On a legal level, he faces the wrath of immigration defenders. Moreover, the American Civil Liberties Union group announced its intention to sue the Biden administration for toughening immigration conditions.

Biden’s gamble could stoke anger among progressives within the Democratic Party as it could also give the Democratic candidate a boost to win a second term at the head of the country.

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