In the 2020 election, Democrats used sloganeerings to change the country’s flawed immigration system as a political weapon against Republicans. If you vote for us, we’ll put an end to the inhumane treatment of migrants at the border and implement long-term, humanitarian policies that work.
However, a year into Joe Biden’s presidency, movement on the matter has been difficult to come by, and some in the party are privately concerned that the Biden administration is unable to strike the correct balance on immigration.
Most Washington politicians are keeping their mouths shut, unwilling to criticize their leader on a divisive issue that has sparked fractures within the party — especially as doubts grow about the party’s ability to retain power next year. It’s a difficult balancing act, according to Douglas Rivlin, a spokesman for the immigration reform group America’s Voice. Even a little friendly fire may be difficult, especially when Republicans are adamant in their criticism of the president.
“It’s hard but they’ve got to do it,” Rivlin said. “They’re going to face voters next year, all the people on the Hill. Biden isn’t, they are. And they have to be clear they’re pushing Biden to be the Democratic president we elected, rather than being scared of the issues because the politics are difficult.”
Democrats have cited the House’s recent ratification of a massive funding measure sponsored by the White House, which includes provisions for increased work permits and other, less ambitious immigration reforms. When President Biden assumed office, he offered millions of people living in the United States unlawfully a path to citizenship.
Democrats said the budget bill’s provisions are sufficient to demonstrate that they would not avoid the immigration issue during next year’s midterm elections. “I don’t see it as the fault of the president per se or…these challenges that we are facing today, solely falling on the shoulders of the president,” said Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar, who represents a district in El Paso, Texas, across the border from Juarez, Mexico. “It is a collective obligation that we have and I think Democrats have solutions and we need to lean in on them.”
Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, a fellow Democrat, dodged a question about whether House Democrats in swing districts may be forced to vote against Biden in 2022, saying, “I’m going to wait on political debates.” However, Castro stated that the party had accomplished as much as it could on immigration this session, citing Senate regulations that prohibited larger bills from passing with the requisite 60 votes in the chamber.
“Right now, Democrats have control of the White House, the Senate, and the House and we have pushed as hard as we can with the number that we have in the chambers to get protections from deportation, workplace permits, driver’s licenses, travel abilities,” Castro said.
Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who lately declared his campaign for Texas governor, has been one of the few Democrats to make the border a priority, travelling to the US-Mexico border almost instantaneously after announcing his candidacy, where he claimed the White House is doing his party no favours.
“It’s clear that Biden could be doing a better job at the border,” O’Rourke said during an interview with KTVT TV in Dallas-Fort Worth. “It is not enough of a priority.” O’Rourke, like the majority of prominent Democrats, will have to fight the Republican narrative that the number of individuals crossing the border illegally this year has reached “crisis” proportions.
Rourke’s campaign manager, Nick Rathod, finds “neglect” by Democrats “across the board, not just the Biden administration,” in engaging in “genuine” ways in border communities.
Immigration, on the other hand, is a complicated topic that no administration has been able to resolve. And Biden is caught between the competing interests of demonstrating compassion while coping with migrants looking for a better life in the country — unlawfully.
The administration has stated that it is concentrating on the core reasons for immigration and is seeking to find long-term solutions that will encourage migrants to remain in their home countries. They’ve campaigned for legislation to expedite the adjudication of asylum claims so that refugees don’t have to wait indefinitely, and they’ve tried to reduce the large backlog of cases.
But, for the most part, Biden has spent the last year reversing Trump-era restrictions that stifled asylum applicants, reduced the number of refugees permitted into the United States, and ultimately shut down the border totally in the name of Covid-19.
Despite this, Biden has come under fire from progressives and immigrant groups who claim he continues to rely too heavily on harsh Trump-era policies. The “Remain in Mexico” policy, in which migrants are transferred to fetid improvised refugee camps in Mexico to await the decision of their immigration claims, is one of the most heavily condemned. It was put on hold when a judge found it was unconstitutional, but according to court documents, the Biden administration is waiting for final arrangements with Mexico before resuming.
Another is Title 42, which allows federal health officials the authority to take exceptional steps to control the spread of infectious diseases during a pandemic. The White House has filed an appeal of a judge’s decision to repeal the regulation. The clause has been invoked by the government to justify deporting Haitian migrants who entered Texas.
Biden’s team got flak from even the most ardent supporters after viral photographs of US Border Patrol agents on horseback utilizing aggressive techniques appeared. Republicans are hammering the topic of border security, hoping to keep it in the news. Some voters continue to place a high priority on the problem.
According to a CNN poll released earlier this month, 14% of Americans ranked immigration as the most pressing issue confronting the country, after just the economy and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Between September 2020 and September 2021, the US Border Patrol reported more than 1.6 million interactions with migrants along the US-Mexico border, more than double the previous fiscal year’s tally and the largest annual total on record.
As the pandemic reduced global migration, the number of encounters plummeted to roughly 4,00,000 in the preceding year. However, according to US Customs and Border Protection data, the comeback is already higher than the previous peak recorded in 2000.
Expulsions are counted when migrants are turned away right away, and apprehensions are counted when they are detained by US officials, at least temporarily. Though career immigration officials warned of a looming influx, the US system is still ill-equipped to handle such pressure.
Border stations are temporary holding areas that are not intended to be used for long periods of time. It’s a huge logistical burden, particularly when interacting with kids who cross the border by themselves and demand higher levels of care and cooperation among organizations.