Home » Biden admin weighs executive action on border crisis, drawing fire from left and right

Biden admin weighs executive action on border crisis, drawing fire from left and right

by John Jefferson
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The Biden administration is considering executive action to tackle the ongoing border crisis after a bipartisan Senate bill failed to gather support, and reports of what moves are being considered are already drawing fire from both immigration activists and Republicans.

Multiple outlets reported that, in the wake of the failure of the bipartisan Senate border legislation this month, the White House is eyeing potential executive action to tackle the migrant crisis. An administration source told Fox News that the president is considering executive action to restrict the ability of migrants to claim asylum, but that it’s one of “several” plans being looked at.

Asked about reports of the plans, the White House told Fox News Digital that the administration “spent months negotiating in good faith to deliver the toughest and fairest bipartisan border security bill in decades because we need Congress to make significant policy reforms and to provide additional funding to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system.”



“Congressional Republicans chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security, rejected what border agents have said they need, and then gave themselves a two-week vacation,” spokesperson Angelo Fernandez Hernandez said. “No executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected. We continue to call on Speaker [Mike] Johnson and House Republicans to pass the bipartisan deal to secure the border. “

An administration official stressed that there have been no final decisions on what actions, if any, could be taken and that exploring policy options does not mean they will come to pass.


One option reportedly on the table is the use of 212(f) of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act. That allows the president to restrict certain categories of foreigners who are deemed “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

It was used during prior administrations, including by former President Donald Trump, but he was blocked by a federal court from using it specifically to stop illegal immigrants at the southern border. The ruling was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

As a consequence, a similar move by Biden may face a similar judicial roadblock. Another reported option includes raising the bar for initial asylum screenings in which migrants are required to show “credible fear” of persecution if returned home. However, most migrants currently do not go through a credible fear screening, so without additional expansion of the “expedited removal” process, which the administration sought as part of the supplemental spending bill, it would not affect the majority of migrants.

The Biden administration last year moved to limit the asylum process by imposing a restriction on those who enter illegally and who have crossed through other countries before entering the U.S. That rule, however, still does not prevent the release of migrants into the interior and only affects their asylum claim at a later court hearing, and it is also currently blocked by a court order.

However, the reports of some sort of action being mulled drew immediate fire from both the left and the right. Speaker Johnson, R-La., said the reports appeared to contradict prior administration claims that Biden had done everything to stop the crisis.

“Americans have lost faith in this president and won’t be fooled by election year gimmicks that don’t actually secure the border,” he said. “Nor will they forget that the president created this catastrophe and, until now, has refused to use his executive authority to fix it.”

RJ Hauman, president of the National Immigration Center for Enforcement (NICE) and a visiting adviser at The Heritage Foundation, said Johnson’s assessment was “spot on” about it being a gimmick.

“The Biden administration could have used it on day one. Instead, they revoked countless effective Trump policies, issued a 100-day deportation ban, and rolled out a mass amnesty bill. The end result? A historic border crisis that they suddenly want to pretend to end, not actually do so,” he told Fox News Digital.

Some Democrats and immigration activists were unimpressed with the reports, accusing Biden of going back to the Trump-era.

“Democrats CANNOT solve immigration problems by adopting Trump-like policies,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Seeking asylum is a human right. President Biden should not, under any circumstances, restrict that right,” she said.

“What is needed now more than ever from the Biden administration is to ensure that any border security executive actions protect due process for asylum seekers and provide resources for a fair, efficient and humane asylum system,” Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said in a statement. “The cruel measures being proposed collectively create a government mandated asylum ban, which even border officials contend will only create more chaos at the southern border, while failing to address the real issue at hand.”

FOX Business Network’s Edward Lawrence contributed to this report.

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