After Border Bill Fails, Biden Looks to Make Move

President is reportedly considering executive action amid GOP leadership struggles
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2024 6:49 AM CST
Failure of Border Bill Adds Fuel to Biden Campaign
President Joe Biden arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, to travel to Manhattan to attend fundraisers.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

After Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan border bill Wednesday, it's looking more likely that the Biden administration will move forward with plans to take executive action to deter illegal migration at the southern border. Two sources tell NBC News that the White House is considering measures that would be embraced by Democratic mayors seeing an influx of migrants in their cities, though potentially not by some progressives. More:

  • The measures, under consideration for months, "are still being drafted and are not expected to take place any time soon," per NBC. However, the White House reportedly aims to act before the number of migrants at the border spikes again.
  • "It's a plan B," one official tells NBC, noting any executive action would fail to match what the bill—including provisions to shut down the border when necessary, restrict asylum, and expand detention capacity—would've accomplished.
  • The White House reiterated that Wednesday, stressing the need for Congress "to make significant policy reforms and to provide additional funding to secure our border."

  • For Biden, the stakes are high. Former President Trump has made securing the border and controlling immigration a signature issue of his 2024 campaign. And on those topics, Trump leads Biden by 35 points in a new NBC News poll.
  • But with the failure of the border bill that met many GOP demands, the administration sees an opportunity to "take the offensive in an area that has long been one of Biden's biggest liabilities," per the Washington Post. "Congressional Republicans chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security," the White House said Wednesday.
  • "Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends," Biden said Tuesday, claiming Trump sought to torpedo the bill backed by Border Patrol because "he wants a political issue to run against me." Similar talking points could appear in Biden's March 7 State of the Union address, per NBC.
  • "Please blame it on me," Trump said last month, making no secret of his opposition to the bill, per the Post. "It takes the HORRIBLE JOB the Democrats have done on Immigration and the Border, absolves them, and puts it all squarely on the shoulders of Republicans," he wrote this week on Truth Social.

  • A senior Trump adviser tells the Post the administration's focus on the border will only benefit Republicans. It's "the No. 1 issue" driving the GOP base, so "if we're debating the border, we're winning."
  • But the Biden campaign also plans to attack GOP leadership "as historically unproductive and chaotic," the Post reports. On Tuesday alone, the party "suffered a series of humiliating setbacks that showed its inability to govern," including failed attempts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and provide billions in aid to Israel, per the New York Times.
  • "I don't think the last three months could have been handled any worse than it has been handled from a leadership perspective," Republican Sen. Josh Hawley acknowledged to reporters, per the Post. "Why would voters look at what goes on over here, this circus, and say 'we want more of this?'"
  • Some progress could be made Thursday, however, as Democrats plan to bring a vote on a foreign aid bill including $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, and $10 billion for civilians of global crises, including Palestinians, per the Times.
(More US-Mexico border stories.)

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