As is known, one of the most critical issues for the administration of President Joe Biden is the immigration crisis on the southern border of the United States with Mexico. According to data from the Customs and Border Protection Department of the United States, about 2.5 million migrant crossings will be recorded at the border by 2023.
Biden’s promises in the past
One of Biden’s campaign promises is to reverse through executive action the many draconian measures implemented by Trump and promote a reform of immigration laws in Congress, to create a humane and orderly system of legal immigration, and to remove approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants living in that country.
On the southern border of the US with Mexico, there are two fantastic signs that the truth of the land is undeniably established: one that says “Don’t pass” and the other that says “Welcome.” That is, if you do not have legal authorization, you are not allowed to enter, but if you can pass by yourself, your cheap and easy-to-exploit labor is welcome. It’s no secret that migrants with sweat on their foreheads and the strength of their backs and arms made the American middle-class lifestyle possible.
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About 45 million immigrants live in the United States. They comprise 14% of the population and are an important part of the social, economic, and cultural life of every community. The immigrants represent 17% of economic production (GDP), a percentage higher than those born in its territory. According to the statistics for 2021 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy of the United States amounted to 19.6 trillion dollars, which means that immigrants are responsible for nearly $3.3 trillion in economic output.
More than half (58%) of migrants work in service or production jobs, such as farm workers, building cleaners, construction assistants, gardeners, cooks, delivery people, meat processors, or sewing machine operators. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of many of these jobs for the daily lives of citizens and the economy of the United States. But these works are underestimated or seem to be invisible. There is no doubt that the vast majority of the 12 million undocumented immigrants are part of the workforce in these low-wage jobs.
The use of migrants as pawns in a political chess
Starting in 2022, Republican governors like Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida have used migrants as pawns in their political chess by sending buses and planes full of immigrants to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, DC, cities governed by Democratic mayors, creating a media effect in a crisis not only on the border but in the heart of these American cities.
During 2023, despite complaints from municipal authorities, Republican governors continued to send migrants, many under fraud. New York alone received more than 150,000 migrants. Mayors say municipalities are at the limit of their ability to respond. They have already started evicting people from shelters, exacerbating the problem of homeless people sleeping on the streets.
The continued increase in migrant caravans from Central America and Mexico heading for the southern border and the arrival of thousands of immigrants in major US cities have created a conservative media-driven narrative that the southern border is out of control. Unscrupulous politicians like Trump have already made the claim that the United States is being invaded by low people and low life who are a threat to the American culture and way of life.” Unfortunately, a significant percentage of the Anglo-Saxon population believes this narrative, creating xenophobic feelings and actions against migrants.
Legislative pressure and the threat of ‘closing’ the border
The immigration issue is also often used by Republican lawmakers to force Biden to make legislative concessions, and it is undoubtedly one of the most used by Trump in the election campaign to accuse Biden of not securing the border and allowing the “invasion” of “swarms” of migrants of different nationalities.
In a 180-degree shift from his campaign promises, President Joe Biden recently pledged to act quickly to The border between the United States and Mexico is “closed”, if Congress approves a proposal negotiated by the Senate (which has a Democratic majority), while urging lawmakers to approve a bipartisan bill “if they take the border crisis seriously.”
The new political position of Biden tries to save a bipartisan border deal on the verge of collapse after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, privately acknowledged among other Republican senators this week that the opposition to the bill by former President Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the 2024 presidential election, puts the party in a dilemma. Trump reiterated his opposition to a border deal in a post published on his social network Truth Social.
“A bad BORDER AGREEMENT is worse than no BORDER AGREEMENT!” Trump wrote.
Trump’s xenophobic agenda
It should be noted that among the most controversial promises regarding immigration made by Trump when he was a presidential candidate, was the end of birthright citizenship. Abolish birthright citizenship This means that a child born in the US to an undocumented mother is not a US citizen, which violates what the 14th Amendment says, and when Trump proposed it during his presidency, it became part of political discussions within the Republican Party. The only reason Trump hasn’t tried to implement it is because the White House legal consultant convinced him that it was unconstitutional and that a constitutional amendment was necessary.
Biden is looking for Congress to pass a $110 billion supplemental spending package, including border measures, to get Republicans to support more funds to help Ukraine in its war against Russia.
According to the package debated in the Senate, The Department of Homeland Security has the power to close the border when immigrants who try to cross it without legal permission exceed a daily average of 4,000 in a period of one week, and if migrant crossings exceed an average of 5,000 a day, the Department of Homeland Security is obligated to close the border to migrants who cross without authorization and not through legal ports of entry.
The president of the House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson who has spoken regularly with Trump about border talks, warned in a letter to the White House and Senate this week that the bipartisan deal the Senate agreed to on borders and immigration was completely “dead on arrival” in the chamber. And on Saturday, Johnson released a controversial statement that Biden can stop immigration without help from Congress: “You can and must take immediate executive action to reverse the disaster you have created.”
It has been given the lower house is dominated by republicans is very difficult to reach a bipartisan agreement on the border. This will deny Biden the opportunity to claim victory in the fight against more immigration at the southern border. On this issue, Republicans have sharply criticized Biden for his presidency, and this is what Trump will take advantage of in the 2024 presidential campaign.
The goal is to arouse xenophobic and ultra-nationalist feelings in its radical base for its own electoral and political benefit.
Ricardo Corzo Moreno is originally from Venezuela; he settled in Los Angeles in 1991. In 1999, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Latin American Theological Seminary in the city of La Puente, California. In 2002 he earned a master’s degree in divinity from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, now the Graduate School of Theology at RRedlandsUniversity of California. In 2004, he completed a Diploma in Ethics and Public Policy at Harvard University Divinity School in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2012, he studied for a Diploma in Latino Leadership and was a Scholar with a scholarship from the Cecil Center, L. Murray, of the Department of Religion and Culture, College of Arts and Letters, University of Southern California.
In 2015 he returned from Los Angeles to his native country of Venezuela and settled in the city of Caracas, where he served as General Director for North America at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry. He is a member of the official delegation to the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City (September 2016).
Since 2018, he has served as the Director of Institutional Relations at the All Things in Common Foundation and as an independent consultant on political, social, and religious issues, nationally and internationally.