As the influx of unaccompanied minors at the Southern border continues, Republican lawmakers are increasingly placing the blame on President Biden’s immigration policies in the months ahead of the start of the 2022 midterm election season.
While Republicans eye the 2022 midterms as a chance to gain back some of the political ground lost in the 2020 general election, they have become more vocal about their belief that President Biden’s immigration policies directly led to the surge of migrants coming to the US-Mexico border in recent months. The Biden administration has urged migrants to stay in their home countries, as a policy remains in place to turn away almost anyone arriving at the border due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exception to the policy has been unaccompanied minors, who have been taken into custody and placed in temporary facilities while they await processing.
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Roberta Jacobson, lead White House border advisor, said this week, “Wait in your country, or if you’re in Mexico, wait” until the border reopens. Jacobson noted in a press briefing last week that much of the surge could be attributed to a hopefulness in Central America and Mexico among migrants that Biden’s reversal of Trump-era immigration policies would provide an opportunity to come to the United States now, saying, “Surges tend to respond to hope, and there was a significant hope for a more humane policy after four years of, you know, pent-up demand.” Other factors expected to impact the border surge are the dire living conditions in Central America, which was battered by back-to-back hurricanes last year.
Founder of Public Opinion Strategies and GOP pollster Neil Newhouse told Fox News, “[Immigration]’s going to have legs into 2022 because the issues facing the country at the border are simply not easy to solve.” Newhouse acknowledged the GOP’s willingness to focus on immigration as a hot button issue in 2022, saying, “the immigration issue energizes the Republican base. It has for the past decade and will continue to do so. It makes total sense that they’re going after Biden over this.” While Progressive Democrats have come after Biden to expedite fulfilling his campaign promises of a more humane and effective border policy, most Democrats seem willing to exercise some degree of patience as the Biden team works to dismantle the system left by the Trump presidency.
Republicans have wasted no time in blasting Biden’s border policies, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy taking a trip to the Southern border this week. McCarthy has dubbed the state of affairs the “Biden Border Crisis”, telling reporters, “It’s more than a crisis. This is a human heartbreak.” Senator John Cornyn, who also visited the border facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, told the Senate on Monday, “Unless action is taken to stem the flow of migrants across the border that Category 5 hurricane is going to break the entire system.” Democrats have pushed back on the Republicans’ renewed interest in border policy, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling reporters, “I guess their Dr. Seuss approach didn’t work for them. Now they have to change the subject.”
The Biden administration has also defended their immigration policy, with Psaki telling the press room, “We want to expedite getting these kids out of these CBP (Customs and Border Protection) facilities as quickly as possible.” The Biden team has expressed their ongoing intentions to reform immigration policy, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, shortened review processes for migrants arriving at the border, and making it possible for migrants to apply for asylum from their home countries before making the dangerous trek to the border.
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ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BORDER REPORT