It seems that President Joe Biden is tired of negotiating with Republicans regarding the agreement that aims to limit immigration in exchange for helping Ukraine.
Last week, Republicans had an unexpected surprise when former President Donald Trump came out to criticize the possibility of an agreement, prompting the party’s representatives in the Senate to reconsider their options. As if that were not enough, Mike Johnson, speaker of the House of Representatives and leader of the Republican conference that is most opposed to immigration and the war in Ukraine, told his colleagues in a letter that the agreement “would have died by the end of the year.” enter the Chamber.”
On Friday night, Biden issued a statement saying the proposed legislation would give him the ability to “close the border when it is overwhelmed” and that he would invoke the authority the day he signs the bill.
Of course, being able to “close the border” is a somewhat amorphous term, the definition of which is subject to interpretation. Biden wants to reach some kind of deal because he wants to free up dollars to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia, but that’s not the only reason. According to a poll conducted by Harvard University last week, for voters, the main concern is immigration, rather than the economy.
Republicans have battered Biden on the border issue since he took office, particularly after Donald Trump received countless negative reviews in the press for his separation and the border wall with Mexico. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has even taken it upon himself to send buses full of immigrants to some cities with Democratic mayors. That particular move prompted New York Mayor Eric Adams to publicly criticize Biden.
However, it seems that the situation got out of hand for the Republicans. As mentioned in the newsletter Inside Washington Last week, the fact that Republicans are delaying the passage of an immigration bill to benefit Trump represents a problem when it comes to portraying the immigration flow as a crisis that requires immediate attention. If the approval of a law can wait 12 months, then it is not urgent.
On the other hand, the presence of right-wing opponents who disagree with the immigration law also implies a conflict among Republicans.
On Sunday, Fox News host Shannon Bream told asked to Sen. James Lankford, the top Republican negotiator, why she would support Biden’s deal, which she said would allow people to enter the U.S. Lankford responded that four months ago, Republicans came together to demand changes to the policy. She also noted, “It’s funny that a few months later, when we’re finally getting to the end, they say, ‘It was a joke. The truth is that we do not want a change in the law because it is a year in which a president is elected.’”
Lankford, a conservative extremist from Oklahoma, is staking a lot of his credibility on this bill, so it’s understandable that the disagreements cause him frustration. On the other hand, shortly after defending his position, Florida senator and Trump ally, Rick Scott, commented on the same Fox show that Lankford was on a “suicide mission” and took advantage of the situation to criticize Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with whom he has a delicate relationship.
Perhaps Republicans could have passed the legislation before Trump returned to his role as the party’s de facto nominee. But his victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as the fusion of the Republican Party around him, have meant that they have to submit to what he imposes.
The latest sign that Republicans may be overconfident is their plan to oust Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Because? It is not entirely clear. However, what is evident is that Johnson, who has been in office for just over three months, has chosen to appeal to the most far-right factions in his conference.
Organizing a series of parallel hearings for a secretary most people have never heard of will do little to explain how the laws are, or are not, enforced at the border. But what it will do is for figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene, a member of the committee, to give a lecture on the situation and have more exposure on the air. In fact, Greene expressed his disagreement with the bipartisan bill in the Senate, even though no document exists.
It seems that Biden is trying to create a counterpoint in the dispute. By saying he would close the border if given the means to do so, he is trying to pressure Republicans to pass the bill. If this doesn’t happen, he will want to crush them for not giving him the power to stop immigration into the US.
Translation of Noelia Hubert