Over the last four months, Joe Biden has implemented a series of immigration policies that seem to emulate the Trump administration. However, with the southern border experiencing record numbers of crossings, critics argue that Biden’s pivots only serve as headline-grabbing tactics instead of addressing the real issue.
Recent polls suggest that Biden’s immigration policies may be a liability for his potential re-election campaign. For example, a March Associated Press poll found that only 39% of U.S. adults approve of his handling of immigration, and just 38% approve of his response to the border crisis.
Biden over the last four months has rolled out a series of immigration policies that easily could have emerged from the Trump admin.
Critics say it's too little too late, and is meant to grab headlines rather than solve the problem.
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) April 5, 2023
One example of Biden’s attempts to appear tough on immigration is a new agreement with Canada to address the surge of illegal immigrants at the U.S. northern border. The deal includes a refugee program in Canada for 15,000 migrants from South and Central America. However, critics argue that the figure is insignificant compared to the more than 156,000 southern border crossings in January alone and fails to address the Border Patrol’s lack of resources.
The Biden administration has also decreased deportations to historic lows, causing some to question its commitment to border security. “We’ll never have a secure border without robust enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws in the interior of the country,” said former senior Department of Homeland Security official Jon Feere. “The Biden administration’s policies have created a nationwide sanctuary where ICE arrests and removals have plummeted.”
Furthermore, in January, the White House announced a program to make it easier for migrants from four Latin American countries to apply for asylum via a mobile phone application. Biden claims this will deter migrants from simply appearing on the U.S.-Mexico border. However, critics argue that this approach only encourages more migrants to come to the United States, further exacerbating the border crisis.
The May repeal of Title 42, a pandemic-era rule allowing authorities to turn away anyone at the southern border who may pose a public health risk, has drawn bipartisan criticism. Even though the administration implemented a new rule in February that bars migrants who first passed through another country from entering the United States, many believe this approach is full of loopholes that weaken its deterrent effect.
The recent decrease in border crossings may provide a reprieve for the Biden administration. However, an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows that 4 in 10 U.S. adults say immigration and asylum-seeker numbers should be lowered. In contrast, only 2 in 10 say they should be higher. While these new rules could help the president fight back against critics, they have also fueled anger among some Democratic allies who argue that he is perpetuating anti-immigrant policies from the Trump era.
Ultimately, the question remains whether Biden’s recent immigration pivots represent a genuine commitment to change or simply a superficial attempt to appease critics without solving the root problems.