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Will Biden's 'Centrist Push' on Immigration Placate Either Side?

In what Axios calls "Biden's Sudden Centrist Push on Immigration," the president Biden has found support from border Democrats for what they view as a new public strategy. "He is shifting to where a lot of us have been wanting him to go. He has shifted to the center," said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a moderate border Democrat from Texas, after his trip to the El Paso border with Biden. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) who also accompanied the president to the border, agreed that Biden shifted strategy. Immigration has long been a political minefield, and the administration has struggled to address the record numbers of border crossings. The right accuses Biden of having "open border" policies and rhetoric. Left-wing activists decry the administration's use of Title 42 expedited dockets for asylum seekers, for-profit detention spaces and restricted access to asylum.

Most Democrats have avoided the touchy subject beyond hammering Trump policies, such as family separation. "We need to have a message as Democrats," Cuellar said. "We can have both. We can treat migrants with respect while also providing security." Republicans have been happy to keep attention on immigration, notably through efforts by some governors to bus migrants from border states to Democratic enclaves, driving national headlines. New policies that would offer new temporary, legal pathways but crack down on illegal border crossings and potentially make it harder for some migrants to access asylum have driven complaints from Democrats and advocates. "Expanding pathways for legal immigration, increasing border security and reducing illegal immigration, have been principles core to President Biden’s approach on immigration since day one," said a White House official, who added that Biden has "held true to those principles even as he tailors his response to shifting migration patterns, new court orders, and Congress’ continued failure to act.”


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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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