When asked if he had done everything he could do to secure the border, President Biden said he can’t get it done with executive power alone. Consequently, he instructed his team to engage in “negotiations with a bipartisan group of Senators to seriously, and finally, address the border crisis.”

The negotiations resulted in the Senate Border Act of 2024 (Border Act), which, he says, if enacted, would be “the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country.” Among other things, it would establish “a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed,” and he would use that authority the day he signed the bill into law.

But Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) claims that Biden hasn’t really tried to secure the border. In fact, since his first day in office, his administration has systematically undermined America’s border security.

I share Johnson’s skepticism about Biden’s intentions. He caused the border crisis with his immigration policies, and the Border Act his team negotiated would not eliminate those policies.

Immigration expert Steven Camarota also thinks that Biden caused the border crisis. Illegal border crossings increased dramatically around the time he took office. This sudden increase surely was caused in large part by Biden’s campaign promises to loosen asylum standards, curtail enforcement, and pass an amnesty. These promises created the reasonable belief among undocumented migrants that they would be granted entry at the southern border without a visa.

Moreover, Biden has kept most of his promises, and he has established programs for bypassing the visa system to let undocumented migrants into the country without visas.

His administration has used catch and release to let more than 2.3 million migrants into the country without visas during the first three years of the Biden presidency; the number of releases would have been much larger if the administration had not had to expel 2.5 million migrants pursuant to the pandemic-era Title 42 order.

Biden doesn’t need the Border Act to end catch and release. It’s his policy. He could end it by issuing an executive order telling appropriate agency heads to stop doing it.

In fact, the Border Act would permit him to release up to 5,000 illegal border crossers a day.



Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow himat:https://nolanhillop-eds.blogspot.com.