Biden cracks down on illegal border crossings, blaming Republicans for stalemate
President Joe Biden offered new solutions to curb illegal immigration on Thursday, announcing restrictions to expel more asylum seekers while slamming Republicans in Congress for not doing more.
“These actions alone that I'm going to announce today aren't going to fix our entire immigration system, but they can help us a good deal in better managing what is a difficult challenge,” Biden said during remarks from the White House.
The new restrictions will encourage migrants to seek lawful pathways and punish those who enter the country illegally. Each month, Biden will make U.S. entry possible for up to 30,000 migrants from Nicaragua, Haiti and Cuba who have an eligible sponsor and pass vetting requirements. These individuals will receive work authorizations and be allowed to stay in the country for a period of two years.
“My message is this, if you're trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua or Haiti, do not do not just show up at the border,” Biden said. “Stay where you are and apply legally from there. Starting today, if you don't apply to the legal process you will not be eligible for this new parole program. And I reiterate, you need a lawful sponsor in the United States of America.”
Aiming to keep the asylum system from being overwhelmed, Biden will send up to 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua to Mexico each month. Citizens from these countries have not been subject to Title 42 — a Trump-era public health order that expelled individuals based on pandemic measures.
Biden has been fighting to terminate Title 42, but the Supreme Court halted the administration from doing so pending its review of a challenge by red states. Biden said Thursday he is confident the public health order will come to an end when the high court rules. Once Title 42 is inactive, the administration will revert back to Title 8 measures.
“I don't like Title 42, but it's the law now and we have to operate within it,” Biden said.
To crack down on illegal immigration, Biden will expel migrants who enter the country without permission and subject them to a five-year ban on reentry. The new regulations will give migrants more opportunities to enter the country lawfully, however, including the use of a mobile application to schedule asylum appointments with Customs and Border Patrol.
“Look, we should all recognize that as long as America is the land of freedom and opportunity, people are going to try to come here and that's what many of our ancestors did,” Biden said. “And it's no surprise that it's happening again today. 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 also emphasized, however, that his new efforts are not enough to fix the country’s immigration problem. He said it is up to Congress to do more to adopt reforms.
“Until Congress passes the funds for a comprehensive immigration plan to fix the system completely, my administration is going to work to make things better at the border using the tools that we have available to us now,” Biden said.
Congressional Republicans, Biden said, were to blame for the stalemate over immigration reform.
“We need more resources to secure the border,” Biden said. “Yet again, extreme Republicans have said no. Many Republicans agree we should do something, but it's time to stop listening to their inflammatory talk. It's time to look at their record.”
This weekend Biden will be visiting the border town of El Paso, Texas, where he says he plans to ask local officials and community leaders what resources they need. Biden said he will make these needs public knowledge to try and force Republicans into action.
“I will visit the border myself this Sunday in El Paso to assess border enforcement operations, meet with the local officials and community leaders, and the folks at the border sending me what they need that they don't have — and make it public what they conclude they need that they don't have — to try to convince my Republican colleagues they should do something,” Biden said.
Biden noted that border communities are counting on national attention.
“I know that migration is putting a real strain on the borders and on border communities,” Biden said.
“We're gonna get these communities more support," he continued. "I want to thank all the nonprofits and faith groups the community leaders and other volunteers who make sure that vulnerable immigrants have what they need to survive.”