President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the immigration crisis at the southern border, indicating a willingness to shut down the border if the bill becomes law.
The proposed legislation is touted as the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border in the country’s history. Biden expressed his commitment to using emergency authority to close the border the day the bill is signed into law.
This move is seen as an escalation in rhetoric, with the administration emphasizing the need for border closure under certain circumstances.
The decision to have Biden make this statement underscores the delicacy of ongoing negotiations and the urgency the administration feels to take action on border issues, particularly during an election year where Republicans have utilized the matter to rally their base.
The statement comes after a busy week on Capitol Hill, where Senate negotiators strive to salvage talks on a border deal while unlocking aid for Ukraine.
The White House remains engaged in discussions and expresses optimism about reaching a deal despite skepticism from some House Republicans and interference attempts by Donald Trump.
The details of the proposed deal are still being negotiated, with triggers for daily border crossings discussed as a means for the administration to shut down the border between ports of entry.
Asylum seekers would still be allowed to present claims at authorized ports of entry but would face a higher standard for asylum application.
Supporters of the deal, including some Republicans, argue that it would provide necessary authority to address border security effectively.
They believe it would force the hand of the current president and empower any potential successor genuinely interested in securing the border.
The terms under discussion include setting triggers for border encounters and granting expulsion authority if daily crossings reach specific thresholds. Critics argue that the potential triggers are too lenient, allowing for unreasonably high daily crossings.
The deal also incorporates changes to asylum standards, making it more challenging for migrants to apply for asylum. Additionally, it includes the Afghan Adjustment Act, offering a pathway to legal status for Afghans evacuated in 2021, along with delivering 50,000 visas annually.
Addressing the longstanding border issue has been challenging for the Biden administration, given the record levels of migrant crossings since 2021.
Border Patrol reported a record 302,034 encounters with migrants over the southern border last month, with the president requesting additional funding for border patrol agents, judges, asylum officers, and technology.
Biden’s call for bipartisan support emphasizes the importance of passing a bill to address the border crisis effectively. The White House hopes to demonstrate Biden’s ability to reach bipartisan agreements with the Senate while shifting blame onto House Republicans if an agreement is not reached.
Speaker Mike Johnson has already signaled resistance to the deal, further complicating the path forward.