Posted on March 28, 2024

Biden Was Planning Executive Action on the Border. Now He’s Gone Silent.

Myah Ward, Politico, March 25, 2024

A month ago, the White House was openly considering a string of executive actions to curb migration at the southern border. But no announcements were made. And now, immigration advocates who had been engaged with the Biden administration about the moves say they no longer appear imminent.

Administration officials are still weighing new actions, including restrictions on asylum, particularly as border crossings are expected to surge in line with seasonal migration patterns later this spring, according to three people familiar with the administration’s thinking.

But inside the White House, aides do not feel a sense of urgency like they did before, even as the issue of immigration remains a chief concern for voters.

The administration’s change in posture is owed, in part, to the downtick in migration numbers following a record-breaking number of illegal crossings in December. There remain questions about whether any action taken by the White House would pass legal muster. But while internal conversations around policy moves have continued, Biden aides also note that media coverage is less intense than it was earlier this year.


The administration could still move forward unilaterally in the weeks or months ahead, a White House official said, adding that no specific action that was previously under consideration has been confirmed or ruled out. But the elongated time frame reflects a newfound belief that the president now has some space to deal with the matter.


Any specific policy would be tricky to execute, not just because it could face legal challenges, but also because it will likely face steep backlash from progressives and the immigration advocacy community. Reports that the Biden administration was considering using the same statute the Trump administration employed to aggressively shape the immigration system quickly sparked weeks of pushback and even internal resistance.

There was also concern that the policy could be blocked by the courts. {snip}


Like the Obama administration did in 2012 with the launch of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Biden administration officials are also examining whether there’s an action they could take for a different group of undocumented people who have long resided in the United States, according to the three people familiar with the administration’s planning. One idea that has been floated among administration officials is opening access to the cancellation of removal program for people who have lived in the U.S. for over 10 years and have citizen or resident relatives who would “suffer” if they were deported. If specific requirements are met and an immigration judge approves cancellation of removal, a migrant is able to obtain a green card.