Biden’s border ‘challenge’ is an emerging political ‘crisis’ | Joe Biden News

Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to reverse what he called the “damage” and “shame” caused by Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

But a few weeks after his efforts to keep that promise, Biden now faces an influx of migrants to the US-Mexico border, in what his administration calls a “challenge” and others call a “crisis.”

The numbers are rising significantly: There were more than 78,000 law enforcement encounters at the southern border in January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than double the number that attempted to cross the border in January 2020.

Influx of migrants comes as Biden administration struggles to set up multiple immigration policy changes that the new president implemented soon after taking office in January.

“I think there is a challenge at the border that we are managing,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Monday in response to a question of whether he thought there was a crisis at the border.

Pressed by reporters to split the hair between calling the situation at the border a “challenge” or a “crisis,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki retorted on Tuesday: “I don’t think we have need to meet your bar what we need to call it.

Growing concerns

Republicans will naturally focus on the effects of Biden’s immigration policies; Trump had telegraphed him during the campaign, accusing Biden of wanting “open borders” and calling his immigration ideas “crazy”.

Trump spent a significant portion of his post-presidential debut speech Sunday, hammering Biden, using the border as a prime example of the new president’s failures.

“In just a month, we went from ‘America first’ to America last,” Trump said. “There is no better example than the new and horrific crisis on our southern border.”

What is curious is a warning from one of Biden’s Democratic colleagues.

“It’s not a crisis yet, but it will become a crisis,” Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas told Fox News on Tuesday. “The number of unaccompanied children, the number of families arriving is only increasing every day,” he continued.

“So it’s not a crisis yet, but it’s going to happen very soon.”

Texas Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar warns Biden administration of upcoming US-Mexico border “crisis” [File: Alex Brandon/AP Photo]

Cuellar’s comments follow a presidential election that saw Trump gain significant support in two counties in his border district.

In Starr and Zapata counties, both along the Texas-Mexico border, Trump saw huge increases in votes – he won Zapata by 5 percentage points after losing to Hillary Clinton by 33 points in 2016 , and he lost Starr by just 5 points in 2020 after losing. there 60 points in 2016. The most notable part of these statistics? Both counties are 95% Hispanic.

Potential political risk

As bruised as the Republican Party is momentThe Democrats, as the party in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House, will win or lose in 2022 depending on their political and political successes and failures.

The brewing immigration “challenge” is one that threatens to become an albatross for Democrats running midterm to Congress next year, and Republicans hope they can use it to their advantage.

In fact, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has previously signaled that immigration will be a key part of Republicans’ efforts to regain control of the House. In an interview with Punchbowl News last month, he listed immigration as one of the three key areas that Republican candidates will focus on this election cycle.

Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy has vowed to make immigration a key issue in next year’s congressional midterm elections [File: J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]

And polls show the problem may be one of the biggest vulnerabilities for Biden and the Democrats.

While Biden generally enjoys favorable approval ratings overall and on his handling of most issues, when it comes to immigration, Americans have some concerns.

An Economist / YouGov poll released this week shows that 41% approve of Biden’s handling of the immigration issue, 42% disapprove of it, including 32% who strongly disapprove of it. Among those who identify as self-employed, only 36% approve, compared to 44% who disapprove.

In addition, another poll released this week found Americans are divided over whether to reduce border law enforcement.

According to a Harvard-Harris poll, 49% of registered voters approve of reduced enforcement of immigration law in the United States, resulting in fewer arrests and deportations, while 51% disapprove. (The Economist / YouGov poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent; the Harvard-Harris poll did not indicate a margin of error).

Biden and Democrats are walking a fine line: If the situation on the border gets out of hand, they will almost certainly hear from Republicans and, perhaps more importantly, independent – or moderate – voters in the districts of the field. of battle.

As the president grapples with the brewing “challenge” along the border, it quickly becomes clear that the political backlash over immigration could become its own crisis for Biden and his party.

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