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Updated December 29th, 2023 at 18:27 IST

Biden weighs Trump-style hardline immigration crackdown in 2024 election gamble

Nearly half of Americans consider tightening security at the U.S.-Mexico border a "high priority," according to an AP-NORC poll.

AP
US President Joe Biden | Image:AP
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Facing Republican attacks and a shifting political landscape, U.S. President Joe Biden is reportedly considering major changes to U.S. immigration policy that critics liken to the harshest measures of his predecessor, Donald Trump. This dramatic shift, aimed at bolstering border security ahead of a potential 2024 rematch with Trump, is sparking outrage among progressives and immigration advocates, while presenting a gamble for Biden's legacy and his party's standing with Latino voters.

From "humanity" to hardline: a political u-turn?

Biden entered office in 2021 promising a humane approach to immigration, reversing Trump's restrictive policies and seeking a pathway to citizenship for millions living in the U.S. However, ambitious legislative proposals stalled in Congress, and surging migration at the southern border, coupled with relentless Republican attacks, have pushed the political needle sharply rightward.

"We all know there's a problem at the border – the president does, Democrats do," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as per a report from The Guardian, acknowledging the pressure to strike a deal with Republicans on border security measures Democrats once fiercely opposed.

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Border deal talks fuel internal conflict

The potential deal, involving increased aid for Ukraine and Israel in exchange for stricter border control, ignites internal conflict within the Democratic party. Progressive Senator Alex Padilla warned against "a return to Trump-era policies," calling mass detention, gutting asylum systems, and ramped-up Title 42 expulsions "unconscionable."

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An urgent concern for many Americans

Yet, for many, particularly Republicans, border security remains a top priority. Nearly half of Americans consider tightening security at the U.S.-Mexico border a "high priority," according to an AP-NORC poll. Surveys consistently show widespread dissatisfaction with Biden's handling of immigration, casting a shadow over his presidency and the Democrats' electoral prospects.

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A risky balancing act

As Biden weighs a potential policy shift, he navigates a precarious tightrope. Hardline measures may appease moderate voters and swing the border security issue in his favor against Trump, but it risks alienating his progressive base and jeopardizing his legacy of championing immigrant rights. The coming months will determine whether Biden can find a solution that addresses anxieties about border security while upholding the values of "humanity and American values" he vowed to restore.

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Published December 28th, 2023 at 17:04 IST

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