Scottsdale, Arizona — Joe Biden quickly began rolling back his predecessor's immigration policies, which he had criticized during the 2020 campaign as draconian and brutal, after taking office. Biden is suddenly talking like former President Donald Trump and pushing Congress for asylum limitations that were inconceivable when he took office. He's under fire from Republicans and Democrats, including elected leaders in places thousands of miles from the border who are reeling from record asylum applications.
With the 2024 presidential race shaping up as a Biden-Trump rematch, immigration has become one of Trump's major weaknesses. To defuse it, Biden has endorsed a broad bipartisan Senate legislation that would strengthen his ability to restrict border crossings.
“If that bill were the law today, I'd shut down the border right now and fix it quickly,” Biden stated last weekend. Trump opposes the bill, but Biden's Democratic friends are desperate for him to move. Liberal Democrat Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs asked the president to summon the National Guard, but he rejected, so she did it herself at the state's cost. “Every Arizonan should know we are taking significant and meaningful steps to keep them safe, even when the federal government refuses to,” Hobbs said in her January state of the state speech.
Social agencies in New York, Chicago, and Denver are straining to house thousands of asylum applicants without housing or work permission. Local newscasters have shown migrants camping out in public without a place. Nine Democratic governors from around the country wrote to Biden and legislative leaders last week urging Washington “to solve what has become a humanitarian crisis.
The governors of Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and New Mexico noted that states and towns are spending billions to respond but are outpaced by record immigration.
They want money to meet immediate needs and a pledge to modernize immigration regulations. “It is clear our national immigration system is outdated and unprepared to respond to this unprecedented global migration,” governors stated. Trump, on the other hand, wants to revive the border passions that fuelled his 2016 campaign, when he promised to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.
“It has been a message that has resonated not just with Republicans or Democrats, but across the country, because now even liberal cities, blue cities, blue mayors, they’re saying we can’t handle the crisis anymore and give us help,” said Trump's first 2016 campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. It represents a major shift in thinking on the subject over the previous eight years.
Trump complained over the weekend that his 2020 campaign pitch didn't resonate on immigration. He claimed that he “took it out of play” since he controlled the border well, even though voters were focused on COVID-19 and the pandemic had hurt migrant employment chances. At a Las Vegas campaign event Saturday, Trump claimed, “Literally we couldn’t put it in a speech.” “Nobody wanted border talk. Border issues were absent. But today we can talk about the border because it's never been worse.”
Trump separated children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border to dissuade people from crossing, which foreign leaders, politicians, and Pope Francis called cruel. He originally called Mexican immigrants “rapists and criminals” when running for government, and this campaign has gone farther, calling them “destroying the blood of our country.”
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