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Biden to Issue Executive Order on Mexican Border

At the moment, Joe Biden is taking a beating when it comes to the Mexican border. Republicans are spinning tall tales that make it seem like what's going on down there is something reminiscent of a scene out of Mad Max, or maybe Dune, or some other post-apocalyptic horror story. Of course, the Republicans in Congress won't actually lift a finger to do anything about it, because they don't want to deprive Donald Trump of his single most salient campaign issue.

Consequently, in the very near future (very likely today), Biden is expected to issue an executive order that will allow the Department of Homeland Security to seal the border to asylum seekers once a certain threshold has been reached. This is based on authority found in Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, now codified as 8 U.S. Code Sec. 1182. The law reads:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

This appears to be pretty broad, and the limited number of legal challenges to presidential use of this authority have all been unsuccessful. That said, it is worth pointing out that when Donald Trump utilized 212(f), Democrats screamed about it, and said the Trump administration was in violation of the United States' treaty obligations. It would seem they feel differently now that the shoe is on the other foot.

It remains to be seen what legal challenges might arise once Biden affixes his signature to the new order. However, the political calculus couldn't be clearer. The President knows he's bleeding support with independents and moderates, and that while the Israel-Palestine protests may get more news coverage, the border actually lingers much larger in the minds of voters. That's especially true of swing-state voters. A Trumpy approach to the border (sans children in cages) will undoubtedly anger progressives and immigration advocates, but you can bet your last dollar that Team Biden has polling data that tells them that executive action on the border will gain the President more support than it loses him.

Naturally, this won't stop the Republicans from attacking the President on this issue. In fact, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) might well force a vote this week on a bill to impeach Biden over his border policy. However, if the Republicans aren't willing to take up any legislation, while at the same time Biden is exercising whatever authority he has to try to manage immigration, then that debate gets harder for the red team to win. (Z)

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