77 Democrats say Biden not far enough left on immigration

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Last week, Democrats showed just how fractured their party has become on the matter of immigration control. 

A group of just under 80 Congressional Democrats, representing the House and Senate, penned a lengthy letter to President Joe Biden urging him to rethink his strategy on the southern border. 

The Democrats – led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Sen. Cory Booker of New York – want Biden to cease using Title 42 to remove migrants to Mexico and bolster the support given to migrants once they enter the country. 

“We believe that your administration can and must continue to expand legal pathways for migrants and refugees into the United States — without further dismantling the right to seek asylum at our border,” the letter reads. “This right is a pillar of the post-war international order to which the United States has committed itself.”

Last month, Biden announced migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba, would be forced to remain in Mexico if they entered the U.S. illegally and further warned would-be migrants to “not just show up” at the border. 

Although numbers are hard to verify, CBS reports that Biden has credited this plan with lowering by 97 percent the number of people from those nations being arrested for entering the country illegally.  

That is a large number, and one the Biden administration clearly hopes will restore some confidence that the president can bring a measure of stability to the southern border.

The highest-ranking officials in Texas disagree and say the crisis at the border is as strong as ever. Last year, under the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas began enacting its own border patrol efforts in addition to those of the federal government. 

“#OperationLoneStar fills the dangerous gaps left by Biden’s refusal to secure the border,” Abbott tweeted. “Texas has made more than 24,000 criminal arrests & seized over 356 MILLION deadly fentanyl doses. While Biden refuses to do his job, Texas is protecting America.”

While Americans of varying political leanings differ in their assessments of the effectiveness of Biden’s current migration plan, the Democratic lawmakers painted Biden as borrowing too heavily from the script of former President Donald Trump, who created the “remain in Mexico” policy and was president when Title 42 was created. 

“Last year, we welcomed your administration’s announcement that it would move to end Title 42, and we continue to support your efforts in the courts to ensure a timely end to the policy,” the letter reads. “We are therefore distressed by the deeply inconsistent choice to expand restrictions on asylum seekers after your administration determined it was no longer necessary for public health.”

The 77 Democratic signatories also worry that Biden will make good on plans to require migrants to apply for entry while in so-called “transit nations,” a practice the Democrats say would serve as a copy-paste of Trump’s proposed policy. 

“The administration’s announced border enforcement actions circumvent this law by not only expanding Title 42 beyond what is required by any court but by further implementing policies to deter and penalize people exercising their legal right to seek asylum at the border,” the letter reads. 

It is important to note that for all their passion, the 77 members of Congress represent a minority of voices in this case. 

The balance of Republicans are in favor of even stricter measures, and even House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) spoke of working with the president. 

“I haven’t seen the letter but we look forward to, as Democrats and as members of Congress, having a healthy discussion about how do we deal with the complexity of issues connected to comprehensive immigration reform and making sure we have a safe, secure and strong border,” CBS quoted Jeffries as saying.