Crisis on Border Dashes Biden Immigration Hopes
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he paused nearly all deportations. He vowed to end the harsh practices of the Trump administration, show compassion toward those wishing to come to the United States and secure the southern border.
For Biden, it was a matter of principle. He wanted to show the world that the United States was a humane nation, while also demonstrating to his fellow citizens that government could work again.
But those early promises have largely been set aside as chaos engulfs the border and imperils Biden’s reelection hopes. The number of people crossing into the United States has reached record levels, more than double than in the Trump years. The asylum system is still all but broken.
During his campaign for the White House in 2020, Biden pledged to limit raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, invest in the asylum system and close private immigration prisons.
When children from Central America started crossing by the thousands in spring 2021, the president’s first instinct was compassion. Biden believed he was elected to deal with immigration in a humane manner.
Some of the circumstances that have created the crisis are out of Biden’s control, such as the collapse of Venezuela, a surge in migration around the world and the obstinance of Republicans who have tried to thwart his efforts to address the problems.
Biden went from a 2020 candidate who vowed to “end Trump’s assault on the dignity of immigrant communities” to a 2024 president who is “willing to make significant compromises on the border.”
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The people demanding border security were no longer just Republicans. They were members of Biden’s own party.
The administration scrambled to meet the Democratic demands, providing more money and speeding up the processing of work permits.
But the busing of migrants clearly shifted the discourse around the issue. And polling began to show growing support in the United States for border measures once denounced by Democrats and championed by Trump.
As he campaigns for a second term in the White House, Biden has become unapologetic in his calls for more, and stricter, enforcement at the border. He now appears ready to run more as a leader determined to keep people out and less as a champion of displaced people.
文／Michael D. Shear, Hamed Aleaziz and Zolan Kanno-Youngs 譯／周辰陽