President Joe Biden is currently facing a barrage of criticism from a broad political spectrum for his immigration policies. Not only have Republicans long been critical of his approach to border security, but he is now encountering backlash from progressive quarters as well. Progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has vocally opposed the construction of a border wall, contending that it fails to address the root causes of migration and instead channels migrants into more perilous areas, characterizing the policy as cruel.
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In apparent contradiction to his campaign promise to abstain from constructing "not another foot" of wall, Biden's Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed plans to build an additional 20 miles of border wall, citing a legal obligation as the impetus. However, the President still maintains that border walls are not effective. This decision has further stoked criticism from progressive quarters.
Moreover, the Biden administration has announced the initiation of deportations for Venezuelan undocumented immigrants, set to commence in the near future and involving a substantial number of commercial flights. Public opinion polls suggest that Biden needed to address immigration concerns, with many voters believing that former President Donald Trump had a more effective approach. However, the more stringent enforcement measures run the risk of provoking opposition from progressive Democrats.
Renowned border security expert Lora Ries, with a conservative perspective, asserts that Biden opted to confront criticism from the Right rather than the Left regarding immigration. Nevertheless, recent critiques from progressive lawmakers like Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Maxwell Frost indicate that Biden is beginning to experience resistance from his own party. Ries contends that Biden's actions appear hypocritical, given the security measures enforced around Congress following the January 6th Capitol riot.
The White House has played down both the new border wall construction and the deportation flights. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that they believe there are more effective methods to secure the border. National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby stressed the importance of border funding but rejected its connection to Ukraine funding, an idea suggested by some Republicans.
Biden now finds himself caught between Left-wing criticism and the pressure from rank-and-file Democrats who are worried about the surge of immigrants. Various Democratic leaders, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the governors of New York, Illinois, and New Jersey, have called for assistance in managing the immigration situation. On the Republican side, figures such as House Speaker candidate Jim Jordan pledge unwavering support for immigration issues, warning of potential security risks related to lax border control, with Governor Ron DeSantis drawing attention to the connection between immigration and the 9/11 attacks.