Biden’s Pledge to Welcome 2 Million Asylum Seekers Meets Immigration Crisis Reality

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During his 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden vowed to usher in a stark departure from the immigration policies of the Trump administration.

He pledged to implement a 100-day moratorium on deportations upon assuming office and committed to safeguarding sanctuary cities from federal law enforcement agencies. Criticizing the Trump administration’s treatment of undocumented immigrants at the southern border, Biden asserted that America had the capacity to “absorb people” and encouraged asylum seekers to “surge” to the border.

“We could afford to take in another two million in a heartbeat,” Biden stated at an event in August 2019. “The idea that a country of 330 million people cannot absorb individuals who are in desperate need and fleeing oppression is absolutely bizarre.”

However, since Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, an estimated 3 million migrants encountered at the southern border remain in the US, according to figures highlighted by the Biden administration. This mass influx of asylum seekers has placed significant strain on US immigration resources and emerged as a notable political challenge for President Biden, one that former President Donald Trump aims to exploit. In a recent Nwoow poll, Biden’s handling of immigration received his lowest approval rating, with only 30% of Americans expressing approval of his approach to the border.

Consequently, Biden has made significant shifts in his rhetoric regarding the border situation, moving away from the more liberal immigration positions he championed as a presidential candidate and returning to the centrist views he held during his tenure as a senator and vice president.

Most notably, the White House has adjusted its stance on sanctuary cities, urging compliance with law enforcement agencies regarding migrants who have committed crimes. Additionally, Biden has endorsed a border bill, now stalled, that would have tightened asylum laws and included conservative agenda items.

Recognizing the importance of immigration as an issue in the 2024 election, both Biden and Trump made campaign appearances at the southern border last week, with Trump visiting Eagle Pass and Biden visiting Brownsville, Texas.

Biden directly called on Trump to support the border bill and urged Republicans to take it up in Congress. He emphasized the necessity of bipartisan collaboration to address border security effectively.

President Biden is expected to address immigration and the border crisis during his upcoming State of the Union address to Congress.

This rhetorical shift on immigration reflects a broader pivot among Democrats. Representative Tom Suozzi, recently elected to replace ousted Republican Representative George Santos in New York, campaigned on a platform that included border security measures despite previously advocating for “kicking ICE out of Nassau County” as a county executive. Suozzi’s change in stance underscores the evolving dynamics surrounding immigration within the Democratic Party.

During his 2020 presidential campaign against Donald Trump, Biden pledged to reverse Trump’s immigration policies and welcome asylum seekers. Upon assuming office, Biden issued executive orders reversing several of Trump’s immigration measures and implemented new rules governing asylum claims. However, challenges persist, and Biden’s administration continues to grapple with the complexities of immigration policy and enforcement.

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