President Joe Biden delivered a resolute promise on Friday to implement a border shutdown in the event of overwhelming conditions, contingent upon the passage of bipartisan immigration legislation by Congress.
This move marks a significant endorsement of an evolving immigration deal in the Senate, a deal that draws opposition from former President Donald Trump, who fears a potential legislative victory for his anticipated rival in the upcoming November elections.
Expressing confidence in the proposed legislation, Biden asserted, “What’s been negotiated would be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country.” He emphasized that, if granted emergency authority through this legislation, he would take immediate action to shut down the border on the day of signing. The President reiterated his belief that the current state of the border is “broken” and emphasized the urgency to address and rectify the situation.
Highlighting the potential benefits of the proposed legislation, Biden stated, “Securing the border through these negotiations is a win for America. For everyone who is demanding tougher border control, this is the way to do it.” He urged Congress to pass a bipartisan bill, promising his swift approval upon its arrival on his desk.
Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans, especially in the House, have declared their willingness to support aid for Ukraine only if coupled with more stringent immigration policies. This stance aligns with the broader Republican strategy, even as Senate negotiators intensify efforts to strike a deal, contrasting with Trump’s encouragement to reject any bipartisan border agreement.
Biden’s announcement coincided with data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, indicating a new record of over 300,000 encounters with undocumented migrants in December, predominantly at the southwest border. However, preliminary government data for the first half of January showed a notable 50% decrease in border encounters between ports of entry in the nation’s Southwest. In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a stern warning against unlawful entry, emphasizing the perilous risks noncitizens face when attempting to circumvent lawful pathways into the United States.