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Biden Intends to Visit U.S.-Mexico Border Amid Migrant Crisis

President Biden's first trip to the Mexican border marks a public step toward addressing the immigration system and long-term political dilemma ahead of his likely re-election campaign, reports Axios. Republicans have relentlessly hammered Biden over the border crisis, citing a lack of a visit as evidence that he's not serious about the issue. Moderate and border-district Democrats have been clamoring for Biden to find a better policy response to the untenable situation. The visit to the El Paso area, tacked on before Biden heads to Mexico for the North American Leaders' Summit, presents both optical risk and political opportunity. On Thursday, President Biden is announcing new immigration restrictions, including the expansion of programs to remove people quickly without letting them seek asylum. “I’m glad that he’s finally visiting the border,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), whose district abuts Mexico. “I hope he talks to some of the border community leaders and our CBP [Custom and Border Protection] officers so he can get an understanding of what’s happening at the border." Biden announced his intent to visit the border after an event in Kentucky with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). "That’s my intention, we’re working out the details now,” Biden said. He plans to give a speech Thursday on border security and immigration.

Last month, the Supreme Court forced the Biden administration to continue the controversial pandemic-era border policy Title 42, which allowed for the immediate expulsion of some migrants, while legal challenges unfold. The decision may have been a political reprieve for Biden, but it didn’t offer any resolution for the thousands of migrants crossing every day, at times straining local and federal resources. Republicans have made the crisis a top campaign issue, blaming the porous border for crime and opioid deaths and overdoses.

Officials have been discussing a potential new parole program for Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Haitians, as well as a new rule that would severely limit migrants' ability to qualify for asylum at the southern border. One other potential solution would be persuading Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to increase security on his own southern border to interdict migrants from Central America. Any potential legislative solution will require Republican support, which is unlikely. "It's a challenge," said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). "Nobody's been able to do anything on immigration for too long. And it's an issue that Republicans and Democrats should be able to come together on and address because it's a national security and an economic security issue."


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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