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Opinions: Biden loves Trump

Opinions: Biden loves Trump

President Joe Biden is met at the door as he closes the border with Mexico. He stole large parts of Donald Trump's immigration policy.

Illustration: Rohr Hagen

– These are my principles, and if you don't like them… Well, I have other principles, said American comedian Groucho Marx.

Biden declared one principle and found another. The reason is that the chaotic scenes on the border with Mexico pose a major political burden for him in an election year. The influx of migrants is at a record high and voters say they have more confidence that Trump will clean things up.

Biden is trying to show action. But voters who want the strictest asylum policy possible will still prefer the original policy, namely Trump. At the same time, the left wing of the Democratic Party is protesting the austerity measures approved by Biden.

President Joe Biden announced an executive order that will effectively lead to the rapid deportation of most migrants crossing the border from Mexico. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA/NTB

Biden and other Democratic politicians have loved to talk about the United States as a nation of immigrants. Previously, immigration policy reforms were largely about giving immigrants greater opportunities to apply for legal residency.

That time is over. Now it must be tightened.

– It is a global migrant crisis. Biden said when he issued his presidential order that if the United States does not secure the border, there will be no limit to the number of people who can try to get here.

This is not a winning issue for Biden. But by temporarily closing the border, Biden could make asylum policy a less important campaign issue. If the number of migrants had reached new levels this summer, Donald Trump would undoubtedly have used the issue for all he could against Biden.

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A young woman from Venezuela, eight months pregnant, is among many migrants trying to reach the United States. Here she is at the Rio Grande border river. Photograph: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters/NTB

In the 2020 election campaign, Joe Biden had a difficult and principled confrontation with Trump. Specifically, it concerned, among other things, the separation of children from their parents at the border. Biden said he would introduce a more humane immigration policy.

Near the end of Trump's term as president, as the pandemic was ravaging the United States, he used the Infection Control Act to close the border. Under Biden, the number of migrants crossing the border without valid papers has risen sharply. In December, 10,000 people arrived daily.

On Tuesday evening, Biden used a controversial clause in the law that gives him a temporary opportunity to close the border to asylum seekers. It is the same section of the law that Trump used in 2018, which was quickly challenged in court.

The law states that anyone who comes to the United States has the right to apply for asylum. But Section 212(f) allows the president to make an exception for a period of time, if it is in the nation's interest to stop all or certain groups of immigrants.

Biden decided to cancel the right to asylum if more than 2,500 migrants arrive daily. Last year, there were more people crossing the border almost every day. This means that the vast majority of those arriving now will be returned quickly. Only when the number drops below 1,500 per day will it once again be possible to apply for asylum in the USA.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump during his election campaign in New Jersey. Strict immigration policy is his favorite topic. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP/NTP

Biden justifies his presidential order by the fact that Republicans in Congress blocked his bill to secure the border. He has a point. Last winter, Republican and Democratic senators agreed on a plan to strengthen border controls, but Trump did not like it.

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The chaos at the border was a perfect fit for Trump, since immigration is his favorite issue. In this year's election campaign, he has gone further than ever in his virulent xenophobic rhetoric. He says, among other things, that immigrants “poison the blood of the nation!”

Biden says he would never demonize immigrants, or separate children from their parents at the border. He tries to distance himself from the Trump family, even though he realizes he will have to take drastic measures to control the border.

Biden had to do something. When Congress did not act, it did so on its own.

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