Biden reboots border immigration strategy – Washington Examiner


President Joe Biden’s border strategy has entered a new phase as the White House moves to curb the swell of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico in a test of his campaign promise to restore asylum access.
The border crisis remains a liability for Biden as he eyes an expected reelection bid in 2024. Yet the president faces pushback from political allies as his administration works to crack down on the record-breaking surge of immigrant crossings at the southern border under his watch.
Biden’s plan expands a parole process currently in place for Venezuelans to include Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans. The administration credits the program with slashing the number of encounters of Venezuelan immigrants at the border by 90%.
It also ramps up enforcement measures along the southern border , with Mexico agreeing to accept up to 30,000 immigrants from Venezuela, Cuba , Haiti , and Nicaragua expelled from the U.S. each month.
While advocates panned the move as “anti-immigrant,” it remains a diplomatic coup for Biden and a sign of the president’s ability to marshal cooperation from an important U.S. ally at a time when American influence in the region seems to be waning.
Biden outlined his vision of an “orderly” process in a speech before he traveled to the border and on to Mexico to meet with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador .
“We can’t stop people from making the journey, but we can require them to come here … in an orderly way under U.S. law,” Biden said at the White House. He told immigrants from Venezuela, Cuba , Haiti , and Nicaragua , “Do not just show up at the border.”
Immigration was expected to be a major topic on Biden’s agenda during his Mexico City meetings. Yet it did not come up when the two delegations met, after a private sit-down between Biden and Lopez Obrador ran long.
Speaking to reporters in Mexico City, Biden had said that he and Lopez Obrador “spent a lot of time talking about it,” a claim his Mexican counterpart tempered. AMLO, as the Mexican leader is known, said the group, which included Canada’s Justin Trudeau, “did speak about migration in a very broad manner.”
The White House suggested the issue came up in Biden’s private conversations, with the president’s press secretary telling reporters Wednesday that it “certainly happened, extensively.”
The report is likely to spark new frustration among the Republicans and some Democrats who have accused Biden of failing to take the border crisis seriously.
For two years, Biden resisted Republican calls to visit the border as numbers tripped higher, with the president’s aides dismissing the idea as political theater. This did not stop the White House from declaring a success of Biden’s trip to El Paso, which was cleared of the makeshift encampments that have overwhelmed its sidewalks for months.
Biden “got to see for himself” the outcome of his efforts on migration, Biden’s press secretary said, before crediting him with doing “more than any prior president” to secure the border.
During the roughly three-hour stop in El Paso, Biden spoke to Border Patrol agents and visited an immigrant services center but did not encounter any immigrants.
But after struggling to put forth a coherent border policy, some say Biden’s strategy marks a turning point for his administration.
The move heralds a vision for immigration that bridges a path between stronger enforcement and increased humanitarian accommodations, Cris Ramon, an independent immigration analyst, told the Washington Examiner .
“They feel that they’ve landed in a sweet spot,” Ramon said of the White House.
The rollout comes at a moment of tension for Biden, who is weighing a reelection announcement.
Newly empowered House Republicans have vowed to investigate the Biden administration’s handling of the border, one of a handful of issues that could lead powerful congressional committees to seek testimony from the president’s top aides.
At the same time, Biden’s decision to expand border restrictions enacted under President Donald Trump faces an outcry from immigration advocates and some Democrats.
The Biden administration tried to end the use of Title 42 border restrictions, a pandemic-era health authority that has allowed border agents to expel hundreds of thousands of immigrants rapidly from the region without hearing an asylum request.

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