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Ruben Navarrette

Columnist, host & author

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Opinion

Biden’s hardline immigration policies too similar to Trump’s

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Ruben Navarrette

Columnist, host & author

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The Biden administration has made adjustments to the immigration policies left behind by former President Trump, such as the removal of the “Remain in Mexico” rule. But one fundamental similarity is the challenge migrants face in applying for asylum at the southern border.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette delves into the potential handling of immigration policies in the 2024 presidential election and highlights why Biden’s tough stance contradicts Democratic values.

Sure, Biden and Trump don’t sound all that much alike. Biden promised to undo every one of Trump’s immigration policies, while Trump insisted that Mexicans were criminals, and rapists, and drug traffickers. But — with politicians who lie with ease, and will change their policies on a dime — you have to ignore what they say and focus instead on what they do. And what Biden has done since taking office is xerox and preserve many of the same Trump policies he promised to end.

Either he did that because he wanted to short-circuit the GOP criticism of an open border, or because — as a moderate Democrat, with a spotty record on race and civil rights, and a history of appealing to the white working class — Biden actually believes some of the same crap that Trump believed. Who knows.

This much we do know: The fact that Biden co-opted, for instance, Trump’s policies on refugees — which resulted in a dreadful new reality, where it’s now almost impossible for anyone to seek asylum in the United States — has resulted in the Biden administration being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union. There is something you don’t see every day: a Democratic president being sued by the ultra-liberal ACLU over immigration policy.

Now that Labor Day, the official kickoff of election season is behind us, it’s time to ask, isn’t immigration supposed to be a huge issue in the 2024 presidential election? That’s what many pundits and political observers predicted a year or two ago. Now, that wasn’t much of a surprise, they nearly always say that. Immigration has been a political football in this country since the first wave of German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania, much to the dismay of the English settlers who arrived a century or so earlier. No matter who is coming, or where they’re coming from, or how they get here, someone ain’t happy about it. 

 

So is immigration likely to play a big role in this election or not? The answer is complicated. It’s not cut and dried. For one thing, we might normally expect only one political party to bring up the issue of immigration and always in a negative way. It’s one of the favorite narratives of the Republican Party, which itself treats financial contributions from big business, like crack cocaine to look past the businesses that employ illegal immigrants instead, blame Democrats for creating, quote, an open border. 

 

But that’s not an easy picture to draw when the Democrat in the White House is President Joe Biden. When it comes to immigration enforcement, he does a dead on impersonation of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump. Sure, Biden and Trump don’t sound all that much alike. Biden promised to undo every one of Trump’s immigration policies, while Trump insisted that Mexicans were criminals, and rapists, and drug traffickers. But with politicians who lie with ease, and will change their policies on a dime, you have to ignore what they say and focus instead on what they do. And what Biden has done since taking office is Xerox and preserve many of the same Trump policies, he promised to end.

 

Either he did that because he wanted to short circuit the GOP criticism of an open border, or because as a moderate Democrat, with a spotty record on race and civil rights, and a history of appealing to the white working class, Biden actually believes some of the same crap that Trump believed, who knows. This much we do know, the fact that Biden co opted, for instance, Trump’s policies on refugees, which resulted in a dreadful new reality, where it’s now almost impossible for anyone to seek asylum in the United States, has resulted in the Biden administration being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union. There is something you don’t see every day, a Democratic president being sued by the ultra liberal ACLU over immigration policy. 

 

Given all that, don’t be surprised if Biden brings up the border and immigration just as often as his Republican opponent. The Democrat will do it as a way of advertising his own hardline approach. That’s unseemly, but not unlikely. Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the aisle, Trump absolutely owns the immigration issue. Even though Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and biotech businessman, Vivek Ramaswamy, would all love to horn in and maybe try to steal the issue and make it their own. Yeah, good luck with that, folks. 

 

The crazy ideas you’re hearing from the GOP field include sending US troops into Mexico to battle drug cartels, ending birthright citizenship for us born children of undocumented immigrants, requiring hospitals to verify immigration status of patients, and allowing some states to refuse to honor driver’s licenses issued to the undocumented by other states. 

 

Each of the quote ulta rands wants to prove that he or she is the toughest hombre when it comes to immigration. Silly elephants, you’re wasting your time. That title has already been claimed by the current occupant of the White House and that guy happens to be a Democrat. The bragging rights belong to Biden. That is if cracking down on immigration, and banning refugees, and going against the whole purpose of the country is anything to brag about.

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