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Under political pressure, Biden announces executive actions aimed at securing border

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One, Monday, June 3, 2024, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Border crossings have hit record highs since President Biden took office in January 2021. His actions now have critics calling the move “an election-year ruse.”

Under immense political pressure ahead of his re-election bid from both the left and the right, President Joe Biden (D) announced executive action on Tuesday aimed at securing the southern U.S. border with Mexico.

Eagle Pass, Texas border crossings, December 18, 2023 (Photo from Griff Jenkins on X)

According to the White House, the executive actions bar migrants who cross the southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum when “high levels of encounters at the Southern Border exceed our ability to deliver timely consequences, as is the case today.”

The order will take effect when the average border encounters exceed 2,500 per day over a seven-day period and will remain in effect for 14 days after there has been a seven-day average of less than 1,500 encounters.

Based on the current encounters, the order will immediately go into effect.

“These actions are not permanent. They will be discontinued when the number of migrants who cross the border between ports of entry is low enough for America’s system to safely and effectively manage border operations,” the White House noted in their release. “These actions also include similar humanitarian exceptions to those included in the bipartisan border agreement announced in the Senate, including those for unaccompanied children and victims of trafficking.”

The Biden Administration is relying on Immigration and Nationality Act sections 212(f) and 215(a) for their authority, the first section of which former President Donald Trump (R) referenced when he imposed a travel ban that was ultimately blocked due to a legal challenge.

Biden’s order comes after nearly three years of denying there was a “crisis” at the border, a term the White House often objected to, previously referring to the situation merely as a “challenge.” In February, the Administration acknowledged there was indeed a crisis, as Congress debated legislation relating to the border and foreign aid.

Border crossings have hit record highs each year since Biden took office in January 2021, reaching upwards of 7 million under this Administration. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data shows more than 2.4 million apprehensions were made in the 2023 fiscal year, which ended in September. That follows the 2022 fiscal year that saw roughly 2.3 million.

Recent data from April 2024 shows nearly 180,000 encounters during that month alone, following a March that saw just under 190,000 encounters.

A Gallup poll released in February showed immigration passed the government as the most often cited problem, with 57% of Republicans, 10% of Democrats and 22% of Independents saying immigration is the top problem facing the nation.

Republicans have repeatedly called on President Biden to take action to secure the border from as far back as his first days in office when he rolled back various Trump Administration policies.

FILE – Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill, Nov. 8, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The U.S. House even voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas this year for allegedly violating laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration and border security which the Republican majority believe allowed millions of illegal aliens to cross into the U.S. However, Senate Democrats swiftly disposed of Mayorkas’ impeachment on a party line 51-49 vote in April.

READ MORE: Mayorkas impeachment short-lived in U.S. Senate courtesy of Democratic majority

Biden’s lax border action has also received criticism from Democratic officials in some of the nation’s largest cities, such as in New York City, Chicago and Denver. Big Apple Mayor Eric Adams went so far as to say, “this issue will destroy New York.”

Mississippi U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) called the President’s executive action “an election-year ruse.”

“President Biden’s border executive order is no more than an election-year ruse that will do little to lessen the effects of his disastrous policies. He is basically just dimming the wattage of the giant ‘OPEN’ sign that has allowed millions of illegal crossings,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. 

She went on to add that the order will not close asylum loopholes or end catch-and-release, “meaning our country will still have tens of thousands crossing the border.” 

“I’m not buying this executive order issued by a politically desperate administration that has for too long refused to acknowledge the crisis it created,” Hyde-Smith added.

Sen. Roger Wicker and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R) agreed with his Magnolia State colleague, saying President Biden’s action does not make up for the three and a half years of inaction.

“This executive order just reaffirms what Senate Republicans have been saying for months: President Biden has had the power to secure our border since his first day in office. Instead, he chose to wait over three years to address the crisis that he created,” Senator Wicker said.

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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