“The president has done more to secure the border and to deal with the issue of immigration than anybody else. He really has,” KJP said. “Look, the president has done what he can from here, from the federal government, from the White House to put forth and manage our border in a safe and humane way to respect the dignity of every human, as he says all the time, and making sure that our communities are safe.”
KJP added that “the system is broken” and that Republicans refuse to work with the White House in a “bipartisan way.”
Biden on the defensive
Usually, when the White House Press Secretary is talking like KJP was talking about immigration, it’s in response to a slanted question from the press, or in response to demeaning comments from across the aisle.
But KJP was responding to inter-party criticism – specifically, comments that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had made.
AOC told The New York Times that immigration is the Biden administration’s “weakest issue.”
“Immigration is arguably this administration’s weakest issue,” AOC said. “This is one area where our policy is dictated by politics, arguably more so than almost any other. There are very clear recommendations and suggestions that we have made to the administration to provide relief on this issue, and it’s my belief that some of the hesitation around this has to do with a fear around just being seen as approving or providing permission structures, or really just the Republican narrative that have surrounded immigration.”
AOC added that “we also need to examine the root causes of this migration and address that this problem doesn’t start at our border, but it starts with our foreign policy.”
And that’s why KJP was speaking up in defense of Biden’s immigration-related performance. That and for Biden skipping a meeting with New York Governor Kathy Hochul after Hochul pressed the Biden administration to issue executive actions to address the recent influx of over 100,000 migrants into New York.
“Look, the president has a lot of it on his plate,” KJP elaborated. “As you said, this is an important US issue as well. But when you have the chief of staff, when you have the Secretary of Homeland Security, they’re meeting with the governor. I think that shows how important the president thought meeting was to make sure he had his top people speaking with her as well.”
“And I have not been shy around criticism of how the Biden administration has handled this issue,” AOC said. “New York City is the front line on this, and we have regularly asked the administration for many, many different avenues of relief.”
Immigration has proven to be a foil to the Biden administration – much as immigration proved to be a foil to the preceding administrations. The problem is complex, and multi-faceted, and unlikely to abate in the near future.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
From the Vault