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Biden Says He May Close the Border – If He Can

If the president can close the border, why hasn’t he done it already?

President Joe Biden began his presidency trashing former commander-in-chief Donald Trump’s immigration policies. But now he’s changing his tune. The country is besieged by border crossers flooding into neighborhoods across the nation. It has gotten so bad that the president has been criticized not just by Republicans, but by those in his own party, as well. With the 2024 election on the horizon, Biden knows he has his work cut out for him if he wants to impress enough voters to win a second term. And so he has changed directions once again. Now Biden’s weighing his options when it comes to closing the border.

Biden Claims He’d Shut Down the Border if He Could

In an interview with Univision that aired on April 9, Biden was asked by Enrique Acevedo, “Have you made a final decision on taking executive [action], in terms of what you want to do at the border, that includes the power to shut down the border, as it was suggested?”

Mr. Biden, who was adamant that not another foot of the border wall would be built under his presidency and refused to visit the southern border despite pleas and requests from local government leaders, is now having to walk back his stance on immigration. After three years of refusing to close the area and practicing open border policies, the president answered:

“We’re examining whether or not I have that power. I would have that power under the legislation when the border has over… 5,000 people a day trying to cross the border, because you can’t manage it, slow it up. There’s no guarantee that I have that power all by myself without legislation. And some have suggested I should just go ahead and try it, and if I get shut down by the court, I get shut down by the court, but we’re trying to work through that right now.”

According to WOLA, an advocacy group for human rights, the number of people trying to cross the border is double what Biden said is needed to take such action. “More than 10,000 migrants per day, mostly asylum seekers, have been arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border,” the organization posted on its website in January.

Section 212(f) of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act states that a president may “suspend the entry” or put forth appropriate restrictions if the person’s entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” However, according to immigration experts, that doesn’t include asylum seekers, even if they don’t have authorization to be in the country. Trump was able to use the provision for temporary bans on Muslim-majority countries, but it didn’t work to close the border completely. Although 212(f), according to what Lindsay Harris, the International Rights Clinic director at the University of San Francisco told Politifact, “does, on its face, give sweeping powers to the president, that power ‘does not and cannot operate in isolation from our other domestic and international legal obligations.’”

However, at any time during his reign, Biden could have reinstated Trump-era regulations such as continuing to build the border wall, keeping the “remain in Mexico” policy, and ending the “catch-and-release” practice. All of these things would have helped reduce the influx of so many migrants into the country. New York and Chicago have been in the headlines repeatedly as they struggle to support so many undocumented people. Texas has been battling the White House in court over the right to protect its territory, where most of the migrants cross. So, why has the president let the problem persist and escalate?

There are many possibilities, but one may be related to employment and inflation. As The Hill pointed out, “between the fourth quarters of 2019 and 2023 [employment] has gone entirely to foreign-born workers, while native-born Americans have lost jobs; in that period, 2.9 million immigrants (those with and without permanent legal status) have found employment while 183,000 America-born workers have lost their jobs.” With so many illegals getting jobs, “the wages have, for the most part, lagged inflation and are stalling, again.” The Wall Street Journal reported:

“President Biden claimed in a statement that ‘wages are rising faster than prices,’ which is barely true over the last year though not over the last two months. The real average hourly wage in constant 1982-1984 dollars was $11.11 in March, up from $11.04 a year earlier. Seven lousy cents. Since Mr. Biden took office in January 2021, average hourly earnings after inflation are down 2.54%.”

As The Hill opined, “Inflation may be damaging Biden’s approval ratings, but allowing uncontrolled illegal immigration to dampen wage growth is a terrible way to attack the problem. Terrible for the country, and for low-income Americans.”

Another interesting theory as to why Biden hasn’t moved to stem the flood of illegals might be to help stop the threat of Democrats losing political power. As The Hill stated:

“Because disastrous liberal policies on crime and taxes are driving hundreds of thousands of citizens to relocate to friendlier and more affordable ‘red’ states, Democrats risk losing seats in Congress and significant federal funding. (In the 1940s, New York state had 45 members of the House; now it has only 26.) But, because the U.S. counts in its periodic censuses people who are noncitizens and even those in the country illegally, blue states’ population losses have not penalized Biden’s party as much as they might have.”

An Associated Press and the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (AP/NORC) poll from March demonstrates just how important Americans find immigration issues and the dismal way the president is handling them. “Overall, 68% disapprove of how Joe Biden is handling immigration and 31% approve. Fifty-six percent of Democrats approve compared to just 9% of Republicans and 20% of independents.” Furthermore, “Roughly half of adults blame Biden and Congressional Democrats for the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Another poll from Axios/Ipsos on April 11, found that Latinos are not as supportive of the president as he’d like. Only 20% think Biden is “good for the U.S. economy,” but 42% said the same about Trump. When it comes to immigration, 22% of Latinos polled said Biden is “good” on the issue and 29% said Trump is “good.” Trump dominated the poll for the most part. Those questioned favored the former president on crime and public safety, 31% compared to 20% for Biden. The president scored hired for the health of democracy and abortions issues.

People who used to support open borders have begun changing their minds as it becomes clear just how much damage such politics are causing. The AP/NORC poll showed that citizens want more border control and protection. Most of those surveyed agreed the country needs more border patrol agents and asylum officers and nearly seven in ten disapprove of how Biden is handling the immigration issue.

Although Biden claims he is just waiting to see if he has the authority to close the border on his own, there were plenty of other steps he could have taken to prevent the crisis we have today – if only he had acted in time.

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