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Photo Credit: Rod Lamkey/The New York Times

What’s really behind Joe Biden’s harsh new executive order on immigration? (Op-Ed)

Many are wondering why and how President Joe Biden decided to “shut down” the border to asylum seekers in his most recent executive order, which has caused heated controversy. The action seems to go against his previous position on immigration reform, but there are several circumstances that show why he did it.

Even though fewer people have crossed the border in the last three months, the Biden administration still views immigration as a potentially controversial subject. His advisors think it’s in the president’s best interest to keep immigration stories out of the media. Nonetheless, this executive order brings it back into the limelight, implying a calculated effort to allay voter fears in the run-up to the 2024 election.

An important voting bloc for Biden, Latinos, are placing a higher value on stricter border enforcement. A rising number of people are siding with Republicans’ demands for more border enforcement, even if they have traditionally supported Democratic immigration policy. This change is attributable, in part, to the fact that long-settled immigrants see Democrats as having broken their pledge to provide legal status avenues for them. So, Biden’s tough attitude may be an effort to win back Latino support and stop it from eroding any further.

In his proclamation, Biden makes use of the same provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that Trump used to restrict entrance from nations with Muslims. This provision is Section 212(f). Legal challenges are possible, and opponents say the Biden administration’s strategy is too like Trump’s. The government, however, maintains that their method is different. The ACLU and other advocacy organizations are ready to challenge the decision and point out the possible humanitarian consequences.

This is a calculated maneuver by Biden to undermine the Republicans’ strongest argument by demonstrating his firm position on border control. Biden can win over independent and moderate voters who are worried about immigration but are hesitant to support harsh crackdowns by adopting a tougher stance. The goal of this well-considered move is to win over more people in this politically divisive era by striking a balance between security concerns and the need for compassionate immigration rules.

The complicated and divisive nature of U.S. immigration policy is ultimately highlighted by Biden’s executive order. The compromise strikes a balance between the competing goals of enforcing stricter border controls and implementing the humanitarian immigration reforms that were pledged throughout the campaign. Regardless of who wins the 2024 election, Biden’s position on immigration will be a divisive and critical topic. 


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