President Joe Biden and his aides are considering if changes to immigration policy should be one of his major pushes after the midterm elections and as his reelection bid heats up, according to White House officials and other sources familiar with the talks.
Biden has not made any decisions as the talks continue, reports NBC News, and the details could depend on how Congress is made up after the midterms, according to the sources.
Biden is planning for a re-election campaign based on the slogan of "Promises Kept," notes NBC, but with record numbers of illegal border crossings that have occurred under his watch, the push on immigration reflects his advisers' recognition that his campaign pledges on the border have not succeeded.
Republicans have pointed to the numbers in races against Democrats in November, leaving the administration and Democrats to insist that they're seeking a bipartisan solution.
"The challenge is that Republicans have a stranglehold on making any progress," claims Cecilia Munoz, the director of the Domestic Policy Council in Barack Obama's White House.
A policy push will likely include more than just legislative proposals but could include executive actions to address immigration policies, particularly when it comes to protecting "Dreamers," who had been granted protection under the Obama Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Executive actions on immigration will most likely face court challenges, however, said Munoz.
A source involved with the talks said Biden is expected to announce his political plans before his State of the Union address early next year, which would set up his address to Congress as a campaign kickoff that would be televised nationally.
Biden entered the presidency by sending Congress a comprehensive bill on immigration overhaul but has not pushed to move it forward, even though Democrats controlled both chambers.
"There's the desire to do immigration," one of the sources told NBC News, "then there's reality. He got most of what he campaigned on done in two years. Immigration is the only big thing that's still sitting out there.”
Meanwhile, Latino voters are nearly split about Biden, according to a new NBC News/Telemundo poll, with 51% approving of his job performance and 45% disapproving.
Further, the poll showed that Latino voters prefer Republicans over Democrats on crime, the economy, and border security, even if they think the Democrats will perform better on immigration, healthcare, abortion, and addressing their community's concerns.
The talks come as GOP Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas have kept the border security issue alive by relocating migrants to Democrat-held cities, and while the White House has barely commented in recent weeks while border crossings have reached almost 8,000 people a day.
Meanwhile, the White House is bracing for Republicans to take control of the House, because if that happens, a wide slate of GOP-led investigations has been threatened, including on Hunter Biden, the administration's COVID-19 response, and other issues.
Republicans also plan to question Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and are expected to hold hearings on the president's border control policies and how he has handled immigration.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, which has been discussing immigration issues quietly, may be open to action from Biden, as lawmakers in the House and the Senate have spoken about allowing visas for immigrants working in agriculture, construction, and certain other crucial industries, according to a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
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