A recent surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border has unleashed immense pressure on federal resources and put President Joe Biden’s border policies to the ultimate test.
A Surge of Unaccompanied Migrant Children
Since the early days of his presidency, Biden has grappled with a series of challenges on the border, beginning with a surge of unaccompanied migrant children that caught officials unprepared.
Over the past two years, his administration has faced continuous backlash, not only from Republicans but also, at times, from Democrats, over his immigration policies.
This week, the situation at the border took a dramatic turn, as administration officials had to grapple with images of migrants crossing into the US in large groups.
This has all come to light while Biden deals with a critical policy shift that saw hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans already in the US eligible to work, a move intended to address concerns from allies in New York.
“Gutting the Immigration System”
This new wave of migrants, a significant portion hailing from Venezuela, paints a bleak outlook for the coming fall as President Biden gears up for his reelection campaign, with Republicans on his back left, right, and center.
During recent remarks in Washington, DC, Biden squarely blamed Republicans in Congress, accusing Trump of “Gutting the immigration system” that he claims has been “Bipartisan for decades.”
The administration introduced new pathways for migrants to enter the US legally in 2023, including a mobile app to deter unlawful crossings.
The desperate circumstances and disinformation spread by smugglers have compelled migrants to cross borders illegally.
“Poor Economies, Authoritarian Regimes, and the Climate Crisis”
Homeland Security officials cited “poor economies, authoritarian regimes, and the climate crisis” as reasons for the recent surge in migrant crossings as countries battle with drought and devastating natural disasters.
In the last week, US Border Patrol apprehended over 8,000 migrants daily, a significant increase from the approximately 3,500 daily border arrests after the Covid-era border restriction known as Title 42 expired in May.
To address the growing number of migrants, the Department of Homeland Security has ramped up capacity in border facilities, expanded deportation flights of migrants ineligible to stay in the United States, and coordinated with Mexico to curb border crossings.
The Department of Defense is sending 800 new active-duty personnel to the US-Mexico border, supplementing the 2,500 National Guard members already in place, to provide vital support to federal authorities.
Expedite Migrant Work Authorization
Addressing a major concern among Democrats, the administration announced this week that over 472,000 Venezuelans already in the US would be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This status offers deportation protections and allows them to work in the US.
Democrats had urged the White House to expedite work authorization for Venezuelans to reduce reliance on social services.
This move is expected to temporarily enable immigrants to work, fill essential jobs, and support their families while awaiting an asylum determination.
It will also significantly reduce the cost to New York taxpayers regarding the sheltering of asylum-seekers, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
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