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Biden says Trump is to blame for killing bipartisan border agreement

President Biden says he needs more authority and funds from Congress to deport migrants. Republicans disagree.
Biden says Trump is to blame for killing bipartisan border agreement
Posted at 2:07 PM, Feb 06, 2024

After a bipartisan group of senators ironed out an agreement that would give the U.S. more authority to turn back migrants, President Joe Biden blamed former President Donald Trump for sinking the proposal. 

During an address on Tuesday, Biden said lawmakers were "caving" to Trump, who is opposed to the agreement. 

"I want to be clear, the American people are going to know why it failed," Biden said, adding that Trump wants a "political issue to run against." 

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who previously appeared supportive of the bill, conceded it is dead before receiving a vote. 

Speaker Mike Johnson had said the House would not consider the bill even if it had made it out of the Senate. 

"Republicans have to decide who do they serve: Donald Trump or the American people? Are they here to solve the problems or just weaponize those problems for political purposes? I know my answer: I serve the American people. I am here to solve problems," Biden said.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, touted the bill, saying that deportations would happen within days and weeks and not years for migrants. 

“Americans are not opposed to legal and orderly immigration, but they are tired of the chaos and abuse at our border," Lankford said on Sunday. "The border security bill will put a huge number of new enforcement tools in the hands of a future administration and push the current administration to finally stop the illegal flow. The bill provides funding to build the wall, increase technology at the border, and add more detention beds, more agents, and more deportation flights. The border security bill ends the abuse of parole on our southwest border that has waived in over a million people."

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But Republican lawmakers have claimed that Biden has more power than he claims to turn back migrants who cross the U.S. border. 

"My biggest apprehension is that given the fact that President Biden has not used the current laws that are in effect, I worry what he will do with this new set of proposals and whether it will actually make any difference in this humanitarian crisis that we're seeing," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters on Monday.

Both Republicans and Democrats have acknowledged struggles with the nation's immigration system. Rising number of migrants from Central America have attempted to enter the U.S. to claim asylum, which would give those immigrants potential legal status to stay in the U.S. until their claims are adjudicated.

The rise in asylum seekers caused a dramatic increase in enforcement actions by Customs and Border Protection. In fiscal year 2017 (which ran from October 2016 through September 2017), there were 526,901 total enforcement actions by Border Patrol. In fiscal year 2023, that number increased to over 3.2 million. 

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