Republicans continue to put politics over the country


by A. Altieri D’Angelo

Photo: the border between Usa and Mexico

For the entire time that Joe Biden has been President, Republicans have criticized his U.S. border (the Border) policies. This criticism has purposely failed to recognize that the President, on his first day in office, sent Congress a comprehensive immigration bill, which the Republicans in both the House of Representatives (the House) and the Senate ignored.

He has taken more than 500 executive actions to help control the Border. Unfortunately, the stream of undocumented migrant crossings into the U.S. has spiked. The U.S. immigration process, starved of funds for Border police, judges, and detention areas, has almost collapsed. U.S. voters have become genuinely concerned about Border security because Republicans constantly portray illegal aliens as criminals, drug dealers, and mentally ill people. Biden suffers from low approval numbers in U.S. polls on the immigration issue. To make matters worse, Republicans have decided that all funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan be prohibited until the Border situation is fixed.

President Biden has argued he cannot do more to control the Border unless Congress passes new laws and authorizes additional funding for Border security. Several Senate Democrats and Republicans have created a bipartisan bill that will make significant changes to the rules governing asylum and the processing of illegal aliens. Prospects for a bipartisan Senate bill looked promising until Donald Trump got involved last week.

The former President has been working overtime to stop any attempt to solve the Border crisis. He has clearly stated that he sees the crisis as a major election issue that he can use to weaken Biden. Trump has, therefore, told his minions in the House and Senate to oppose any new legislation. He is brazenly open about the fact that he is willing to sacrifice aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Tawain and leave the Border unresolved until 2025 when he “takes over as President”.
(It is important to note that his need to keep this issue alive is becoming more urgent. The U.S. economy has strengthened every month for the last year; unemployment is the lowest in 54 years; inflation is declining; and crime rates are dropping. Trump needs an issue to campaign on, and the Border is it).

The Republicans now have a problem; they have argued for years that something must be done about the Border. However, Trump is now pressuring Republicans not to fix the problem. Unfortunately for Trump, the Senate bill is scheduled for a vote. How can the Republicans go from demanding Biden do something to saying let us leave the Border issue unresolved until after the November elections?

Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker of the House (the Speaker), responded to Trump by stating that he sees no need for new legislation because Biden already has the power but refuses to use it. The Speaker’s position contradicts his and Trump’s previous statements that a new law was needed. In December 2023, the Speaker sent a letter to President Biden stating, “Statutory reforms designed to restore operational control at our southern border must be enacted”. Rep. Steve Scalise, Majority Leader of the House (in 2019), agreed with Speaker Johnson, “It takes congressional action; you need to change the law”. Even Trump, in 2019, argued for new laws. He stated, “They should be changing asylum. I’ve been talking … to you about this for a long time. They should be changing asylum”.

The simple truth is President Biden does not have the legal authority to unilaterally suspend U.S. asylum law, even when people cross into the country illegally. Only Congress can change U.S. asylum law. 

But such a basic fact is not stopping the Republicans from attempting to kill a bill released on Feb 5th. The Republicans are following Trump and trying to justify their nonaction by using this false argument that President Biden has the power. Biden could indeed use executive authority to force specific changes. However, as Trump found out, such use brings litigation and failure. All of Trump’s executive actions regarding illegal migrants already in the U.S. were struck down by the courts. The only sustainable and effective way to deal with the Border crisis is by an act of Congress. Republicans need to act.

Trump’s campaign strategy will fail. The American people will not accept a Republican decision to defer action on the Border until Trump is elected. U.S. citizens will be angered that their wishes regarding such an important matter are ignored. They also want funding for Ukraine et al. approved. Trump may keep his MAGA base happy, but most other voters will not support such political tactics. Also, Democrats will be publicizing the fact Republicans had a chance to fix the Border problem and did not do so.

Republicans who put politics over country should suffer badly in the November elections.

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