President Joe Biden is embracing tougher border measures, including closing the US-Mexico border, as he tries to fend off former President Donald Trump's attacks on immigration policy ahead of the election, marking a stark shift from his early days in office.
House Speaker Mike Johnson hours later Friday warned Calling the Senate border deal “dead on arrival,” Biden delivered this message to House Republicans: “Securing the border through these negotiations is a victory for America. For everyone who wants tighter border control, this is the way to do it. If you're serious about the border issue, pass a bipartisan bill, I will sign it.
Biden pledged to restore asylum and manage the border in a “humane” way. But his administration faces harsh realities and challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border, amid record migration across the Western Hemisphere — making it a political vulnerability seized by Republicans.
In recent weeks, Trump urged Republicans In private conversations and in public statements on social media, he must resist the subtle evisceration of the border compromise in the Senate as he plans to campaign on the issue this November.
During his administration, Biden has leaned toward more restrictive measures to try to stem the flow of migration, but Friday's report revealed a tougher stance, with the president trying to control a problem that has fueled him while also putting him at odds with some. Partners.
“(The compromise) would give me, as president, new emergency authority to close the border when it's overcrowded. If given that power, I will use it the day I sign the bill. Biden's statement said.
Biden accepted the authority to allow border closures in the event of a migrant uprising, striking current and former administration officials and immigrant advocates.
Johnson on Saturday attacked Biden for endorsing a potential border deal, arguing that Biden could take executive action without Congress to control migrant crossings.
In his first statement on the Senate deal, Johnson said it would force America to capitulate to illegal immigration. “According to reports, the pending proposal in the Senate would expressly allow 150,000 illegal crossings each month (1.8 million per year) before using the new 'shutdown' power. At that point, the United States would have already surrendered,” Johnson said in the statement.
under Compilation to be released soon, the Department of Homeland Security will be given new emergency authority to close the border if the daily average number of illegal immigrants reaches 4,000 within a week. Some migrants are allowed to stay if it can be proven that they are fleeing torture or persecution in their home countries.
Details are unclear. But the authority is reminiscent of the Covid-19 border controls implemented by Trump in 2020, which allowed officials to turn away immigrants at the border. This resulted in repeated border crossers and a strain on the immigration system.
Immigrant advocates quickly lambasted Biden over his statement — revealing a deep divide between the president and the advocacy community.
For weeks, immigrant advocates and progressives have worried about the parameters of the border deal, which includes punitive measures for migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border, including asylum seekers, and raised alarm about White House concessions in ongoing negotiations.
Migrants take part in a caravan towards the US border in Mexico's Chiapas state on January 8, 2024.
Robin Barnard, senior director for refugees at Human Rights First, said the situation was disappointing.
“This president demonstrates his callous indifference and willingness to play politics with the lives of black and brown immigrants, many of whom come to our southern border to exercise their legal right to seek asylum,” Barnard said.
“If any of the immigration experts in his administration listen to him, he knows that these proposals — closing the border, deporting immigrants, making it harder to access asylum protection — are 'reasonable' and 'don't secure the border.' But they will cause chaos and human suffering,” he added. .
Kerry Talbot, executive director of the Immigration Center, condemned the politicization of the border.
“I hope the leaders of both parties can step back and think through real solutions that lead to a controlled border,” he told CNN. “Closing the border is never possible. A prosperous, secure and humane border is possible if Congress passes the necessary funding.
Earlier in the week, Sen. Alex Padilla, Democrat of California, warned of a progressive backlash against the administration over a potential immigration deal amid rising frustrations in the Senate.
“There's substance and there's process. The frustration about the process, frankly, is the lack of transparency. It's been months now and there's still no language, no text floating around to say 'I agree with this' or 'I disagree,'” Padilla told CNN's Manu Raju. .
“Going back to Trump's playbook, you know Trump's big hits on border security are not going to solve the problem. In fact, it will make the problem worse,” Padilla said.
This story has been updated with new reporting.
CNN's Manu Raju contributed to this report.