Some Democrat lawmakers and immigration activists hammered U.S. President Joe Biden’s approach to the border crisis by wasting valuable time on determining the long-term root causes of migration rather than dealing with the problem now.
Biden has been reaching out to Congress members, staffers, and activists to push a narrative that the problem at the U.S. border is mainly former President Donald Trump’s fault in combination with the “root causes” of migration in Central America, Politico reported Saturday.
However, some Democrat lawmakers assert that the government is already fully conscious of what attracts people to America after looking into the issue for decades.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) welcomed Biden’s effort to address long-term causes of migration surge with combating root causes of migration but stressed that the U.S. also needs a solution for the problem afflicting the border now.
Cuellar, a border congressman known to criticize immigration policies from his party, told Politico:
We already know what the root causes are. We can send researchers down there, but we know the answers already. The question is, how do you address this issue? Private investment is going to be key. Foreign aid and private investment take time. It’s not going to be done today, tomorrow.
Biden is “betting big on nuance” to change what Americans think of immigration as a poll released Monday showed a majority disprove of the commander-in-chief’s handling of border security and immigration, particularly the flood of unaccompanied children, Politico noted, adding:
The revised approach from the administration is a tacit acknowledgment that their initial posture — in which they downplayed the problem and steadfastly refused to call it a crisis —wasn’t working, at least politically. But when it comes to actually fixing the conditions forcing migrants to flee their home countries, the White House has its work cut out for it.
On Monday, the Associated Press-NORC released a poll showing the border’s situation has put a dent on Biden’s approval rating on immigration.
A majority of respondents disapprove of the president’s handling of border security (55 percent) and immigration overall (56 percent).
More respondents disapprove of how Biden is handling the growing number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
While 40 percent of Americans somewhat or strongly disapprove of how the president is dealing with unaccompanied migrant children, only about a quarter strongly or somewhat approve. The remaining 36 percent neither support nor disapprove.
More Democrats (44 percent) approve of Biden’s way of handling unaccompanied children than disapproved (15 percent) by a substantial margin. Leaked pictures have shown the children in crowded cage-like enclosures.
Democrats blasted Trump for holding migrant children in detention centers.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) stressed that the Biden administration needs to look beyond the root causes of immigration to solve the ongoing situation.
“We can’t just deal with the symptoms,” said Cleaver, who appeared more receptive to Biden’s new approach of changing how people view immigration. “That’s all that we’ve been dealing with for the last two, maybe three decades, are the symptoms. That won’t work anymore.”
The Trump administration warned the Biden folks that there would be problems if they rescinded the former president’s border security measures.
Some immigrant rights advocates suggested that Biden dismantled his predecessors’ border policies without a clear strategy to fill the vacuum left behind.
“The White House needed to be or should have been more proactive, framing and telling the story three weeks before they really started to do it. If you don’t define the narrative, you give your opponents the power to do so,” Lorella Praeli, executive director of Community Change Action, a progressive grassroots group, told Politico.
Republicans who have traveled to the border have lambasted Biden for not calling the situation at the U.S.-Mexico international boundary a “crisis.”
GOP lawmakers who have visited the border said the crisis is putting the lives of unaccompanied children and family migrants at risk, including girls who can get raped on the journey to the U.S.
They also pointed out the potential for jihadis from the Middle East and Africa and other terrorist countries entering the nation.
Biden appointed Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the White House response to what a majority of surveyed Americans consider a crisis despite the administration’s claim that it is only a “challenge.”
The president charged Harris with focusing on the root causes of migration that Cuellar, Clever, and activists note are not secrets.
Various U.S. presidents have devoted billions in U.S. taxpayer funds to improve Latin American conditions to prevent people from leaving to no avail. Biden has promised $4 billion.
Republicans and independents largely drive the disapproval rates of Biden’s handling of immigration and border security, the AP-NORC poll showed.