Bidens Border Band-Aid

 Immigration has always been a source of controversy between the Democrat and Republican parties; due to recent numbers and newly implemented programs, the topic has become even more divisive. Many say immigration seemed to be disregarded in the US for the past couple of years and that the recent changes President Joe Biden has made to his policy have not been in any party’s favor. In fact, President Biden’s recent immigration changes have been described as Trump-Esque by Democrats and viewed as a weak attempt by Republicans. 

     At the beginning of Biden’s presidential term, he appeased Democrats by proposing policies supporting immigration reform and requesting $3.5 million to improve border enforcement. The majority Republican house ultimately denied these proposals. Since then, Biden has not made any attempts to improve his immigration policy and many critics say he is making these changes now simply due to the upcoming election. 

     The newest change in Biden’s immigration policy is the implementation of a parole program that applies to migrants coming from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti. This parole program is a result of the highly controversial, Title 42. This title is an emergency health rule that gives border officials the authority to deny migrants’ requests for asylum without considering their claims. Democrats are upset with Biden expanding this program that former President Donald Trump originally enacted during the pandemic for Venezuelan migrants. 

     Monte Vista Senior Jet Dehghan-Fard said, “It feels like they are making excuses so they don’t have to let any more migrants within our borders. But I get there’s going to be an overwhelming amount of people, and they will all be displaced.” 

     Many left-wing critics also agree with the notion that this is an ‘excuse’ to keep out South American immigrants. In April of last year, the CDC was set to lift Title 42 since it was no longer needed for its original intention- to stop the spread of Covid-19. However, after multiple lawsuits led by Republican state attorneys, the Title was left in place. 

     Monte Vista Senior Remy Hepner said, “I think in the context of Title 42 alone, it’s acceptable…but we’re not using Title 42 for pandemic purposes now, we’re using it as a bandaid.” 

     Left-wing critics see President Biden expanding on this title as a parallel to the Trump administration and see no long-term solution for immigration as an outcome.

     The parole program President Biden enforced requires thorough background checks, proof of a US financial sponsor, and limits spots to only 30,000 total applications per month from these 5 countries. This program has very strict guidelines and can also be denied to applicants if they have already tried to enter the US through asylum or illegally. If migrants are able to complete all the aforementioned requirements, they are allowed into America for one year and also receive work authorization. 

     Similar to Democrats, Republican officials also oppose this program. On January 24th, 2023, the state of Texas led a lawsuit with 12 other states challenging the parole program saying it would lead to greater surges of illegal immigrants within their borders.

     Most Democrats state that Title 42 is a complete violation of the human rights of immigrants. President Biden campaigned on the fact that he would reverse former President Trump’s immigration policies that were called ‘anti-immigrant.’ Returning immigrants back to politically corrupt and violent countries denies them access to opportunities they could have in the states. 

     As per the Republican party, Biden’s immigration rules and regulations seem like a feeble attempt from the President. From October 2021 to October 2022, America had more than 1.5 million apprehended immigrants attempt to enter from these countries- a record-breaking number. This high statistic as well as the overflow of immigrants in El Paso, Texas, is a big reason President Biden is under scrutiny from the Republican party. The number of attempted illegal immigrants has not been this high in decades, leaving Republicans to blame President Biden’s ‘lackluster’ policy.

     Reaching a bipartisan solution is seemingly difficult regarding immigration, but due to the current state of the border, officials are trying to come up with a feasible solution. With the majority of the US House and Supreme Court being Republican, it allows them to achieve their immigration goals. 

     For example, the newly elected House Speaker, Republican, Kevin Mccarthy, wants to continue building the border wall and impose immigration policies that are viewed as ‘discriminatory’ by Democrats. Nonetheless, Republicans view these policies as a viable way to reduce the number of illegal immigrants coming into America. 

     Trying to reconcile with his Democrat counterparts, President Biden said, “Until congress passes the funds, a comprehensive immigration plan to fix the system completely, my administration is going to work to make things at the border better using the tools that we have.” Given the limited options, the Biden Administration’s main focus right now is limiting the number of illegal immigrants.

     President Biden was also in hot water for only recently visiting the US-Mexico border on January 8th, 2022, for the first time in his presidential term. This delayed visit gave the impression that immigration was not a top priority for the President, even though his presidential campaign made it one.     

     Title 42 is clearly a short-term solution that does not pacify either party. This major controversy has now sparked political discussions strategizing how to solve America’s immigration policy; discussions that have been long put off. It is important to educate ourselves and others about the current immigration crisis in order to find the best solution. 

     Anastasia Chrzanowski, the teacher of Monte Vista’s new Ethnic Studies class, said, “Even if it doesn’t directly affect you, that doesn’t mean that your community isn’t affected or that other Americans or other humans aren’t affected…just learn about what it is and the implications that it has and how it’s part of a long history of US immigration policy.”