Washington: President Joe Biden faces mounting challenges on the politically volatile issue of immigration as he navigates a growing humanitarian crisis on the border and high expectations that he will deliver on his promise to remake the system.
The House plans to vote on two bills Thursday: One would grant so-called Dreamers a path to citizenship, and one would protect farm workers in the U.S. illegally. Both proposals are likely to pass the House, but they face long odds in the Senate because of the 60-vote hurdle and Republican opposition.
Progressives in the Democratic Party also want the comprehensive immigration bill Biden recommended. But that doesn’t have the votes to pass even the House in its current form, aides and lawmakers said.
Republicans, who see a political opening, have been working to paint Biden as the cause of the growing border crisis, blaming it on his shifts in deportation policy, in a bid to appeal to voters who were mobilized by ld Trump’s hard line on immigration.
The influx of asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border is overwhelming facilities and squeezing Biden between progressive requests for better detention conditions and Republican demands that he send a tougher message to deter migrants.
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the chair of the Republicans’ Senate election arm, said there must be a “secure border” before Congress acts to protect Dreamers. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who took a trip this week with colleagues to the southern border, said the situation was a “Biden border crisis.”
The White House has been trying to walk a tightrope between enforcing the law and using its limited resources to provide humane conditions to the migrants after Democrats criticized Trump for months for putting “kids in cages.”
The White House said over the weekend that it was mobilizing FEMA to the border to have a more relief-focused agency handle the waves of unaccompanied children who are arriving.