White House blames Republicans for illegal immigration crisis
US President Joe Biden’s administration has responded to the political fallout over a record influx of illegal immigrants by trying to shift blame for the border crisis to Republican lawmakers.
As House Speaker Mike Johnson led a delegation of Republicans visiting the US-Mexico border on Wednesday, the White House issued a statement accusing the opposition party of blocking Biden’s efforts to resolve the crisis. Biden spokesman Andrew Bates condemned Republicans for refusing to pass the president’s emergency-funding request and accused them of having an “anti-border-security record,” including an effort to cut funding for Border Patrol officers.
“House Republicans are once more compromising America’s national security and economic growth with shutdown threats,” Bates said in response to a report that lawmakers vowed to block funding for the whole government if Biden didn’t close the border. He added, “Today’s statements are just House Republicans’ latest admission that as President Biden and both parties in the Senate seek common ground to address the needs of the American people, their conference is instead choosing extreme politics that would subject American families to needless pain.”
However, Biden bundled his request for $6.4 billion in border security funding into a $106 billion emergency spending package that also includes military aid to Ukraine and Israel. Most House Republicans oppose continuing to send weapons to Kiev, arguing that Biden’s policies lack a strategy for ending the fighting. Lawmakers have also argued that the president’s plan doesn’t go far enough to stop the flow of illegal aliens into the US.
Border Patrol officers reportedly encountered more than 300,000 illegal immigrants crossing into the US in December, an all-time high for a single month. Illegal border crossings have surged since Biden took office in January 2021 and began dismantling the immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
Biden’s administration released nearly 1.4 million illegal aliens into the US in the last fiscal year, in many cases letting them stay in the country while awaiting court hearings for dubious asylum claims, according to the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington.
A Monmouth University poll released last month showed that Biden’s approval rating dropped to a record low of 34%. Just 26% of US adults approve of his immigration policies, a troubling statistic as he seeks reelection in 2024.
Critics of Biden’s policies have argued that in addition to flooding the US with illegal aliens, the nation’s porous borders have jeopardized national security. More than 172 illegal immigrants encountered by Border Patrol agents in the last fiscal year had been flagged on the nation’s terrorist watch list.
House Republicans plan to launch impeachment proceedings next week against Biden’s Homeland Security chief, Alejandro Mayorkas, citing his alleged failure to enforce immigration laws. “The border crisis is a direct result of President Biden’s policies,” Johnson said on Wednesday as he began his border trip.