Only months after President Joe Biden’s border policies were put in place, a new wave of migrants at the US-Mexico border has put tremendous strain on federal resources and tested them, drawing new criticism from Republicans and raising concerns within the administration over a politically sensitive topic.
Since his early months in office, when the US experienced a surge of unaccompanied immigrant minors that took authorities off guard, Biden has been troubled by border difficulties. Republicans and occasionally Democrats have consistently opposed his administration’s immigration policies during the past two years.
This week’s events forced administration officials to deal with images of migrants entering the US in large groups while also announcing a significant policy change that will grant work authorization to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans already living in the country, resolving a major point of contention with allies in New York.
But as Biden intensifies his reelection campaign and Republicans continue to criticize the government over its handling of the border, the fresh influx of immigrants, many of whom are from Venezuela, paints a bleak picture for the fall.
During remarks at the 46th Annual Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Gala on Thursday in Washington, DC, Biden attacked Republicans in Congress, saying they “continue to assault our border security” by blocking efforts to pass immigration reform.
He continued, “Unfortunately, MAGA Republicans in Congress gutted the immigration system for four years under my predecessor.
The government has implemented a patchwork of rules to attempt and stop the flow of migrants heading to the US southern border amid unprecedented mass migration in the western hemisphere in the absence of immigration reform.
The administration introduced new and extra ways for immigrants to enter the US legitimately earlier this year, such as a smartphone app, to deter individuals from crossing illegally. They have also established locations throughout the hemisphere where people can apply to immigrate to the US.
However, desperate people have crossed anyway due to misinformation from smugglers and desperation. Homeland Security officials are keeping an eye on the situation, and while they did not provide a clear explanation for what caused the most recent spike, they did point to the climate problem, authoritarian governments, and poor economies as factors influencing migration.
According to two Homeland Security officials, the US Border Patrol has been apprehending more than 8,000 migrants every day this week. This is an increase from the 3,500 daily border arrests that occurred when the Covid-era Title 42 border restriction expired in May and led to harsher penalties for those who crossed the country illegally.
In order to accommodate the increasing number of migrants, the Department of Homeland Security has increased capacity in border facilities and continuing to operate deportation flights for individuals judged to ineligible to stay in US.
Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, is scheduled to cross the border on Saturday and meet with Honduran President Xiomara Castro in McAllen, Texas.
In addition to the 2,500 National Guard members already stationed at the border, the Department of Defense is deploying 800 extra active-duty personnel to bolster federal authorities.
Inner cities, where asylum seekers typically live while they await their immigration hearings, are also impacted by the arrival of migrants at the US southern border, broadening the breadth of the problem for the Biden administration.
By making more than 472,000 Venezuelans currently residing in the US eligible for Temporary Protected Status, which offers deportation safeguards and permits them to work in the US, the administration this week addressed a significant issue among Democrats. Democrats had pushed the White House to expedite Venezuelans’ ability to get work authorization so they could stop relying on social programs.”
As a result of this decision, immigrants will be given a temporary work permit so they can support their families and fill open positions. According to a joint statement from House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both New York Democrats, the decision will also significantly lower the expense to New York taxpayers related to housing asylum seekers.