To hear most Republicans and independents talk, President Joe Biden has all but thrown open the southern border and done next to nothing to dissuade millions of migrants from entering the country.
Yet, in the view of some “appalled” Democrats, Biden is actually doing too much in terms of enforcing border security and immigration laws and have demanded that he relent in his enforcement of “unjust policies” at the southern border, the Daily Caller reported.
In addition to calling for a cessation of law enforcement at the border, the Democrats further insisted that Biden needed to immediately take action to open more “legal pathways” for migrants to enter the country.
Modest enforcement increase paired with vast expansion of legal pathways
At issue here is a Jan. 5 announcement from the White House about “new border enforcement actions” it was taking in light of the federal court system once again blocking the administration’s efforts to end the Title 42 public health order begun under former President Donald Trump that allowed for the immediate expulsion of migrants at the border.
In actuality, the “new” enforcement action is little more than increased usage of the existing “expedited removal” process, as the White House said, “Effective immediately, individuals who attempt to enter the United States without permission, do not have a legal basis to remain, and cannot be expelled pursuant to Title 42 will be increasingly subject to expedited removal to their country of origin and subject to a five-year ban on reentry.”
The only other real “enforcement” aspect of the announcement was a plan to surge more governmental resources to the border region to, in part, target and attempt to disrupt “criminal smuggling networks” that routinely traffick humans, drugs, and other contraband into the U.S. across the porous and lightly defended southern border.
The remainder of the White House announcement, which should have pleased Biden’s Democratic critics, was an expansion of a special parole program for Venezuelans to also include migrants from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua, a tripling of the allotted number of refugees to be accepted from Western Hemisphere nations, an online appointment program to reduce overcrowding and wait times at ports of entry, as well as providing resources for the “safe, orderly, and humane processing” of migrants and assistance for overwhelmed border communities.
“We are appalled” that Biden might actually enforce existing laws
Apparently, none of that was good enough for Democratic New Jersey Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), among others, as they held a press conference outside the Capitol building on Thursday to lament President Biden’s purportedly increased enforcement actions at the southern border.
“Now, we recognize that the United States is experiencing a difficult migration challenge at the Southern border,” Menendez said. “We recognize that President Trump made a top priority to dismantle border and asylum processing as we know it. But as elected officials, we are duty-bound to propose legal solutions. One that protects asylum seekers while also securing the safe removal of migrants who have no legal claim to stay in the United States.”
“Now, anyone who tells you that the only way to secure our border is to punish asylum seekers is lying. It’s why we are appalled to see President Biden replicate President Trump’s immigration strategy,” he added. “It runs completely contrary to what then-Vice President Biden, and before that, Senate Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Biden said about the question of asylum.”
“Expand these legal pathways”
Also weighing in on the matter was Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who claimed to echo other Democratic leaders across the country and pleaded, “Expand these legal pathways, make it easier for these folks to get work authorization. Here in New York, we are ready to put people to work — we just need the administration to help us expand those pathways to let them do that. We can do this and we can do this together.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats Hold Press Conference on Border Policies
AOC: “Expand these legal pathways…Here in New York we are ready to put people to work…We can do this and we can do this together.” pic.twitter.com/h6FUa4Cs1j
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 26, 2023
For what it is worth, the Daily Caller noted that according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, there were more than 2.3 million encounters with migrants at the border in Fiscal Year 2022, as well as a record-breaking quarter million-plus such encounters in just the past month of December.
That is what likely prompted the Biden administration to modestly increase its “expedited removal” enforcement actions — Title 42 only remains in place due to a court order — that came in conjunction with the substantially expanded legal pathways for migrants that were either ignored or overlooked by the likes of Sen. Menendez and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.